can cats die from an ear infection?

An ear infection can be a nasty little bugger once you get it. You do not know how to stop it; all you can do is just touch your ear and pray to the lord that something cures you. In the very same way, your cat might have one of those periods in their life when they are suffering from an ear infection. Look for signs like it shaking its head and trying to touch its ears with its little paw. 

Even though these infections are prevalent in cats, you better get ready to brace yourself for some underlying issue if you do not treat it in time. These issues may include things like permanent deafness or a need for serious surgery.

Another symptom of an ear infection is called cat ear discharge. You would know if your cat has had this if you might have spotted some black or yellow discharge from your cat’s ear. You might even have noticed an odd odor from it as well. 

Two things can cause your cat to feel this uncomfortable pain and for you to bear that odor from the ear discharge.

  • Ear mites 
  • Ear Infection

But before we move to any serious issue, let us discuss the first thing that might be making your cat feel pain.

ear mites:

Your cat probably got ear mites around some other pet as Ear mites are very contagious. These nasty little buggers are microscopic parasites that feed on the skin oil and the earwax your cat accumulated over time. These mites are so irritating and uncomfortable that you might even notice your cat pulling its ears. This problem, however, is widespread in cats and should be addressed as soon as possible. Otherwise, you might have an ear infection to look forward to from all that pulling your cat has been doing to rid itself of the pain.

If you have not gone to the infection phase yet, then there is good news as ear mites are very easy to get rid of. All you have to do is take your cat to a vet, they are going to clean her ears, ridding it of all the wax, and then they are going to prescribe you some medicine. If your cat is a cranky and uncooperative little cookie, then you are in luck as these medicines are also available in an injectable form. 

One last thing for all of you who have more than one pet: Take all of your pets to the doctor as they might have gotten it already from your one sick cat. 

Once you are done with ear mites, we can look for a few more things that could be the cause of your flinching cat. 

One of them could be allergies. Your vet will figure it out and tell you if it has some allergy. Another one will be if your cat has something stuck inside its ear: something that might have gone inside deliberately(Not on the cat’s part) or an accident.

If it is not any of those, we can move to the cat ear infection.

cat ear infection:

You have seen your cat in a disturbing position trying to yank her hair to make the pain stop. We are done with ear mites, and now we will go to some further territory to help your cat out as if this thing becomes more chronic than it is right now. Then we might be looking at permanent deafness or paralysis, which will hurt the cat a lot more than it is hurting right now.

So, Cat ear infection in medical terms is called Otitis Externa. It is an inflammation that occurs in the outer ear canal of your cat’s ear.

This ear infection is mainly caused when one does not look after its cat and clean it from time to time, and things start building inside their ear. These things might be the earlier mentioned ear mites, which might have come from another pet but are now getting fed thanks to the ear wax present in your cat’s ears. There might be some allergies you might not know about or something that has been deliberately or accidentally shoved in your cat’s ears.

If your cat has diabetes or a weak immune system, it can also get an ear infection.


Always look for signs of discomfort when trying to figure out if your pets are fine or not. If you see anything from the below list, then call your vet and schedule an appointment for the same day.

  1. Your cat is behaving irritably. It is trying to hide for a long period. 
  2. Your cat is shaking its head again and again and trying to reach her paw to her ears.
  3. That Ear mite discharge we were talking about earlier. It comes out from the ear and has a blackish and yellow hue.
  4. There is an unpleasant smell that is coming out of the ear. 
  5. The ears appear red or inflamed.
  6. It is tilting its head again and again.
  7. It does not hear very well.
  8. The cat is losing its balance.

It is a bummer it cannot spell it out for you, so pay close attention to how your cat behaves. It says a lot.

causes of the ear infection:

The most primary cause for an ear infection might be the earlier mentioned ear mites. However, if that gets ruled out, we are looking at several reasons. I have listed them below.

  1. There might have been an overgrowth of yeast or bacteria inside the ear.
  2. The wax build-up that is inside the ear.
  3. Hair that is thick inside the Ear canal.
  4. Underlying or undetected pollen or food allergies.
  5. Overgrowth is like a tumor that is growing inside the ear canal.
  6. The cat’s ears have not been cleaned properly.
  7. An eardrum might have been ruptured.
  8. Something lodged inside the ear.
  9. Diabetes.

treatment for your cat ear infection:

You have seen your cat is uncomfortable and have brought her to a vet. Great! Pat yourself on the back as we can now begin the treatment phase. 

The first thing your vet is going to check is ear mites. They also might have their eyes peeled for a yeast or bacterial infection. They are going to whip out a device called Otoscope. They will take some of that stuff that is coming out from your cat’s ear and place it under a microscope to determine which of the above three nasties they are dealing with. If it turns out that your cat had mites or bacterial infection inside it, then your cat will get a thorough ear cleaning and a few antibacterial or antifungal ointments along with some antibiotics.

If not, and they have to proceed to sedate your cat and do x rays, then we might be looking at an ear infection. The eardrum will be checked if it is fine. If it is, your cat will be getting some antibiotics you might have to put in its mouth or inject.

When you are putting ear drops into your cat’s ear canal, gently massage the ear’s base to let the medicine properly reach its intended target.

Now, if the problem is a little bit more chronic than we liked, then your cat will need surgery.

can your cat die from an ear infection:

Well, now we get to the part you were originally here for. The answer to the above-asked question is no; your cat will not die from an ear infection directly. However, if an ear infection becomes a lot more chronic and left untreated, then we might be looking at results like permanent deafness or facial paralysis, which are things you do not want your cat to have. You also might be looking at long, complicated surgeries if the infection becomes a lot more chronic.


Having a cat with an ear infection can be painful for you and the cat. To avoid this from happening, give your cat the necessary attention that it needs. Please pick it up from time to time and check out its ears. Ensure that there is no redness, discharge, or smell coming out from your cat’s ears. It would help if you also learned how to clean the cat’s ears from your vet so that you can clean them from time to time. Do not be lodging cleaning devices bought off shelves at your supermarket into your cat’s ears before properly learning how to do it. A clean and healthy ear has a pinkish hue, no smell, and little or no ear wax.

Leave a Comment