Healthy cats will have clean ears. The inside of the ear will be pink and odor free. They will not have scratches or hair loss around the ears nor will they have ear wax buildup inside of the ear.
The first acute sense in a cat is the sense of sight, while the second is sound. Their sense of sound is magnified compared to humans. A feral cat must be able to hear vermin running across the field to alert it that it is time for dinner. The sense of sound develops about the second week of life so that a baby kitten can hear its mother purring.
When the inside of the ear is unhealthy it could be caused by a fungal infection or ear mites. The signs include extremely red ears, dark discharge or ear wax buildup.
Causes for wax buildup
Ear wax called cerumen is a dark brown color. In some cases the normal drainage activity of the ear builds up because any abnormal secretions are too far into the ear canal and cannot be cleansed away naturally. This is when you will see ear wax buildup.
Improper cleaning - Owners may inadvertently get water in a cat's ears while bathing it; this can cause a buildup of wax and infection in the ear.
Actually the most common ear problem in cats is mites, and that causes ear wax buildup. This dark wax builds up and clogs the ear canal.
Ear mites are parasites with eight legs that crawl around the inner ears of your cat. There are hundreds of these tiny creatures crawling around and endlessly annoying your cat. No wonder the poor cat scratches and shakes it head. These tiny bugs are relentless. You might even notice black spots in the ear which is of course the ear mites.
This condition is serious, if the ear mites are not treated and gotten rid of, they can travel down the ear canal to the inner ear and cause an infection. Your cat will lose its balance as the middle ear is the body's balance center. The cat may also be unable to hold its head up. Ear mites can be transmitted from cat to cat, and from other animals such as dogs and rabbits.
Dark brown wax buildup
Black spec in the ear
Scratching and shaking the head
Inability to lift up the head
Some home remedies include a tiny bit of cooking oil; vegetable or olive to kill the ear mites. The oil is inserted with a syringe or eyedropper.
Massaging the ear after the the oil application to loosen any debris.
Swabbing the ear with Q-Tips - Caution you must be very careful. If the procedure is not done properly, the pet owner can actually force the eardrum, or enter the ear canal and cause permanent damage. It is best left up to the veterinarian to swab a cat's ear.
Natural Treatments - Psorinum or Sulphur, yellow dock root extract, Almond oil and Vitamin E
In some cases where the ear wax is far into the ear canal it will have to be removed surgically.
Ear wax buildup is not that serious a condition; however it is a condition that can irritate your cat especially if the cause of the wax build up is from mites. If you notice ear wax, black specs, and your cat scratching and shaking its head, have it checked over by a veterinarian who will advise you of the best treatment plan for your particular cat.