Why Does My Cat Scratch Her Ears Until They Bleed? - Understanding the Causes

Why Does My Cat Scratching Ears Until They Bleed? – Understanding the Causes

Why Does My Cat Scratch Her Ears Until They Bleed? – Understanding the Causes


Discovering that your beloved cat is scratching her ears to the point of bleeding can be distressing for any pet owner. Ear scratching is normal behavior for cats, but when it becomes excessive and leads to injuries, it’s essential to understand the underlying causes. In this article, we will explore the possible reasons why your cat is scratching her ears until they bleed, along with the necessary steps to address this concerning issue.

Understanding Excessive Ear Scratching in Cats

Normal vs. Excessive Scratching

Cats scratch their ears occasionally to keep them clean and to relieve mild itching. However, if your cat is repeatedly scratching her ears and causing bleeding, it could indicate an underlying problem. Some potential causes of excessive scratching include:

  1. Ear Mites: Ear mites are common parasites that infest a cat’s ears, leading to intense itching and irritation. The constant scratching can cause the delicate skin inside the ear to break, resulting in bleeding.
  2. Ear Infections: Bacterial or yeast infections can cause inflammation and discomfort in the ears, prompting your cat to scratch vigorously.
  3. Allergies: Cats can develop allergies to certain foods, environmental factors, or grooming products. Allergic reactions can lead to severe itching and self-trauma.
  4. Foreign Objects: Sometimes, foreign objects like plant matter or debris can become lodged in a cat’s ear, triggering persistent scratching and potential bleeding.

Identifying the Underlying Causes

Signs to Watch For

To identify the reasons behind your cat’s ear scratching and bleeding, look for the following signs:

  1. Frequent Scratching: Excessive scratching and head shaking are common signs of ear discomfort.
  2. Ear Discharge: The presence of dark, coffee-ground-like discharge in the ears can indicate an infestation of ear mites.
  3. Redness and Swelling: Inflamed or swollen ear canals may be a sign of an ear infection.
  4. Behavioral Changes: Cats in distress may show changes in behavior, such as increased irritability or reduced appetite.

Seeking Veterinary Assistance

When to Consult a Veterinarian

If you notice your cat scratching her ears until they bleed or displaying any concerning symptoms, it’s crucial to seek professional veterinary assistance. A veterinarian will perform a thorough examination to diagnose the underlying cause accurately. They may use an otoscope to examine the ear canal and collect samples for further analysis if needed.

Treatment and Care

Addressing the Issue

Once the underlying cause is identified, appropriate treatment can be administered:

  1. Ear Mite Treatment: If ear mites are responsible, your veterinarian will prescribe specific medications to eliminate the mites.
  2. Medication for Infections: Bacterial or yeast infections will require prescribed antibiotics or antifungal medication.
  3. Allergen Management: If allergies are the culprit, your vet will help you identify and manage the allergens in your cat’s environment.
  4. Ear Cleaning: Regularly cleaning your cat’s ears with a veterinarian-approved solution can help remove debris and reduce the risk of infections.


Excessive ear scratching in cats that leads to bleeding should not be ignored. Understanding the potential causes and seeking prompt veterinary attention is crucial for your cat’s health and well-being. With the right diagnosis and treatment, you can help your feline friend find relief from the discomfort and prevent further complications.


  1. Can ear mites spread to other pets or humans? Ear mites are highly contagious and can spread to other pets, but they rarely affect humans.
  2. Can I use over-the-counter ear drops for my cat’s ear issues? It’s essential to avoid using over-the-counter medications without veterinary guidance, as they may not be suitable for your cat’s specific condition.
  3. Can stress contribute to excessive ear scratching? Yes, stress can lead to behavioral changes in cats, including excessive scratching. Addressing the source of stress can be beneficial for your cat’s overall well-being.
  4. Is bleeding from the ears an emergency? Bleeding from the ears is concerning and requires immediate attention from a veterinarian to identify and treat the cause.
  5. How can I prevent ear issues in my cat? Regular ear cleaning, routine veterinary check-ups, and managing potential allergens can help prevent ear issues in your cat.

Read More:Cats Scratching Ears and Shaking Head – Causes and Remedies

Why Does My Cat Scratching Ears Until They Bleed? – Understanding the Causes
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