Ear Flap Problems in Cats (cont.)

Ear Allergies

Allergies are typified by itching and skin redness without drainage. Both food allergies and atopy (inhaled allergies) may first present as an otitis. They can affect the skin of the ear canals as well as the pinna. An allergic ear problem can closely resemble a yeast infection or may have a yeast infection secondary to an allergy, so check with your veterinarian before applying any medication at home.

Treatment: An allergic reaction is best treated with a 1 percent hydrocortisone cream, such as Cortaid. Because of the intense itching, the cat may traumatize her ears and set the stage for a secondary bacterial infection.


Head mange is caused by the head mite called Notoedres cati, which lives on the skin about the head and ears of cats. Itching is the predominant sign. Clean ear canals help distinguish this condition from an ear mite infection caused by Otodectes cynotis.

Fleas frequently feed on the skin of the pinna. You may be able to see the actual fleas on the ears or elsewhere on the body, or you may see only black, crumbly crusts of dried blood.

This article is excerpted from “Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook” with permission from Wiley Publishing, Inc.