Back to Blog

Why Are My Cat’s Ears Brown Inside?

family-footerA healthy cat’s ears are pink and fleshy inside. If you notice a brown discoloration when you peer into your furry friend’s ears, he could have a cat ear infection.

From our experts at Germantown Vet, here’s how to know for sure and what you can do to treat ear infections in cats.


Do Cats Have Earwax?

As with humans, it’s completely normal for a small amount of earwax to form in your cat’s ears. However, excessive wax buildup can occur if your kitty has allergies, a bacterial infection, systemic inflammation, ear mites, or a yeast infection.

A cat’s brown earwax often resembles dirt or dried blood inside the ears. This can cause discomfort and irritation for your furry friend. If you notice other signs of infection, such as scratching and rubbing of the ears, frequent head shaking, or redness and swelling, it’s time to see the vet.

If you think your cat may have an infection, contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our vets in Germantown.

Cat Ear Wax vs. Mites

Sometimes what looks like a brown wax buildup in your cat’s ear can signal a bigger issue: ear mites, the most common cause of cat ear problems.

Ear mites are tiny parasites that usually require a microscope to see. They feed off the wax in your cat’s ear and actually stimulate the wax-producing glands inside the ear. While the mites may be tiny, their presence can cause inflammation and irritation, and even lead to more severe ear infections.

To be sure of your diagnosis of ear mites (vs. ear wax), take your cat to the vet for an examination. The vet may thoroughly clean your cat’s ears and prescribe medications that will eliminate the ear mites.

A Feline Ear Exam

When you come to Germantown Vet for a cat ear exam, our trained veterinarians will look into your kitty’s ear canals with a special tool called an otoscope to determine the cause of the brown wax buildup. We’ll also check for secondary infections that may have developed. If we suspect an underlying illness is to blame for the excessive earwax, we’ll perform blood tests during the exam as well.

We can usually begin treatment for ear infections right away by gently cleaning your cat’s ears to remove the wax and any discharge present. Then, we apply the first dose of eardrops or oral medication. We’ll probably send medication home with you and schedule a follow-up visit to make sure the treatment is working.

Schedule an Appointment

Cleaning Your Cat’s Ears at Home

Continue to administer medication at home as directed. Remember to never stick anything into your cat’s ear canal, such as a cotton swab, because this could push debris deeper or even rupture the eardrum.

Instead, simply administer the eardrops, rub at the base of the ear with your thumb, and gently wipe any excess moisture from the outer ear with a cotton ball. These steps should relieve itching and irritation and restore your kitty to a happy, healthy state.

Does your cat need medication for an ear infection? Contact our cat experts at Germantown Vet to schedule an appointment.

Continue Inspecting Your Cat’s Ears

Once the infection passes, keep an eye on your cat for reemerging wax buildup. If you notice any brown discoloration starting to appear, apply a bit of vet-approved feline ear cleaning solution, available at any pet supply store.

To help prevent future ear infections, keep your cat indoors where fleas and mites are less likely to cause a problem. If you suspect allergies are to blame, explore the possibility of changing your cat’s diet.

Visit Germantown Vet for Cat Ear Infection Treatment

Ear infections are quite common in cats, but fortunately, treatment is usually very straightforward. Visit our clinic in Germantown today if you notice your cat’s ears are brown, or if he shows other signs of an ear infection.

We’ll prescribe a treatment, teach you how to clean your cat’s ears at home, and answer any questions you have about the preventative measures you should take against future infections.

To get your cat on the path to wellness, schedule an appointment at Germantown Vet today. Our helpful and knowledgeable staff can ease your pet’s pain and cure his feline ear infection.

Schedule an Appointment

Our Promotions

Need Help With A New Pet?

Throw Us A Bone!

Help New Pet

Montgomery County’s

Most Trusted Animal Hospital

Bethesda | Clarksburg | Frederick | Gaithersburg | Germantown | Potomac | Rockville | Silver Spring

Bethesda | Clarksburg | Frederick
Gaithersburg | Germantown | Potomac
Rockville | Silver Spring

Learn More