Cats are renowned for their independence, particularly when it comes to taking care of themselves.

However, they can still develop health problems or fall victim to a variety of illnesses or diseases, and so will always require plenty of support from their pet parents to stay fit and well.

The majority of common cat health problems can be easily treated or managed with the right care, and some can even be prevented entirely. But it’s important to stay informed about the common illnesses and conditions which can affect your cat and be able to recognise the signs and symptoms to look out for, so you know when it’s time to seek advice from your veterinarian.

Here you can learn more about common feline health problems, including symptoms and causes, as well as treatment and prevention advice.

Periodontal disease in cats

Periodontal disease is one of the most common diseases that affects cats and is pretty easy to spot and prevent. It can become a  severe disease in untreated cases, and cause irreversible damage to your cat’s teeth so it’s good to be aware of the symptoms and consult your vet if you are at all concerned.   What is periodontal disease? Periodontal disease is the inflammation of the structures of the mouth as a result of a bacterial infection. This disease has several stages and is extremely preventable! The first stage is merely a build-up of sticky plaque on the teeth and the development of tartar deposits(also known as calculus), as well as inflamed gums. Plaque and tartar are conditions we can suffer from too, and tartar is fairly easy to spot on your cat’s teeth as it is yellow or brown in color. It can appear first on the back molars and if left untreated can cause gingivitis (gum disease). Gingivitis is where the gums are in state of permanent inflammation due to the bacterial build-up on the teeth. If no action is taken the disease can then become full blown periodontal disease, which will cause irreversible damage. At this stage in the disease you cat’s teeth can start to come loose. When this happens spaces form under the teeth, creating a breeding ground for more bacteria. This can lead to bone loss, tooth loss, tissue destruction in the gums and the build-up of pus in the cavities between the gums and teeth. In extreme cases the weakening of the jaw can result in a jaw fracture from a surprisingly small amount of pressure. The final stage is considered to be severe periodontis, marked by bone or tooth loss in the animal. In this case, there is at least a 50% loss of attachment in the affected teeth, and the gum tissue is usually receding and exposing the roots of the teeth.   What makes this a common health issue in cats? Your cat may be more susceptible to periodontal disease if they are:  An older cat. This disease is more frequently found in older cats. It is also more commonly found in cats with the calicivirus, FIV, or  feline leukemia virus. Genetically predisposed to gum disease. Some cats, such as the Oriental short-hair and Siamese cats are genetically more likely to develop periodontal disease, regardless of life stage. This is also true of some purebred cats, showing that genetics can play a role too. Eating a diet that puts them at risk. Hard kibble is generally better than soft food at keeping plaque from accumulating. There are also special diets available that are designed to assist with dental health and prevent the formation of plaque. Longer haired or groom themselves a lot. The accumulation of hair around teeth can lead to more plaque forming on teeth.   How can I spot signs of periodontal disease? It’s quite unusual for pet owners to notice early signs of gum disease in their cat, and usually by the time it is noticeable the disease can be quite advanced. As the disease in its late stages is almost irreversible, it is important to get your cat’s teeth checked at least once every 6 months by your vet. You can look for signs of the disease between veterinarian visits, so it is caught as early as possible. Watch out for signs such as:  Swollen or reddened gums, that may or may not bleed easily, especially at the back of the mouth yellow or brown teeth and loose or missing teeth Smelly breath A loss of appetite or trouble eating and weight loss Pawing at the face Stomach or intestinal issues Drooling Difficulty chewing or eating Irritability or depression Pus around the teeth A sensitive mouth   How can you prevent periodontal disease? The best way to combat gum disease is to fight to prevent it in the first place. Visiting your veterinarian for regular checks and building good habits early on could save you and your furry friend no end of woe down the line!   Visit your local veterinary practice regularly Get regular checks. Some practices offer a professional dental cleaning service so talk to your local practice about how to arrange a session for your cat. This can involve multiple procedures to improve dental health, so be sure to speak to your practise about the specific issues facing your pet and the options available. Examples include: Inspect, clean and polish your cat’s teeth under sedation Prescribing antibiotics for diseased gums Dentistry work under anaesthetic to remove diseased teeth and repair damage These sorts of procedures will also usually involve a process of aftercare and your dedication to this aftercare process will be crucial for the continuing health of your cat.   Brush your cat’s teeth If you veterinarian recommends it, you may want to try to brush your cat’s teeth at home. While many may think that brushing your cat’s teeth may be uncomfortable for your cat, they can enjoy it as a new form of attention. If your cat does not enjoy it, ensure your vet inspects you cats teeth regularly and get them to clean their teeth under sedation. This is less stressful for your cat and will ensure the vet can do a thorough inspection and clean and give you full advice on how to manage the condition in the future.   Food It is possible to purchase cat food and treats that have been specifically formulated to help fight dental disease and if needed your vet will be able to advise you on what to buy.

Cat Diarrhea

Diarrhea in cats can be recognized by a series of frequent loose, watery stools, which may or may not have made it to the litter box! There’s a variety of possible causes for diarrhea in cats, but the most common are not too serious. Generally, diarrhea can be treated at home unless it lasts for more than a day or two, in which case your cat is at risk of dehydration. Why does my cat have diarrhea? The most common reason for diarrhea in cats is something they’ve eaten that they are struggling to digest. If you’ve recently changed their food they may be having trouble adjusting to it, or they may have had a reaction to some table scraps or garbage they managed to find and eat. Here are the most likely reasons for a cat to have diarrhea: Change in regular diet Food intolerance or ingestion of a food toxic to cats Ingestion of garbage or food which has spoiled Bacterial or viral infection Internal parasites such as roundworms, coccidia or giardia Inflammatory bowel disease Kidney or Liver disease Cancer or tumors in the digestive tract Side effect of medications Hyperthyroidism Colitis What should I give a cat with diarrhea? Food It used to be advised that after a spell of diarrhea you should withhold food from your cat for 12-24 hours. However, more recent research suggests that this can cause further problems. Instead, feed your cat a simple diet – eliminating any treats or table scraps and just feeding them a nutritionally complete cat food, or boiled rice and chicken. If you have recently changed the brand or type of your cat’s food and they suffer from diarrhea, this does not necessarily mean your cat is intolerant to the new food. Trying to introduce them to the food bit by bit by mixing more and more of the new food with your cat’s existing food. This will allow their stomach a chance to get used to it. If the diarrhea continues after a few days revert to the old food and arrange an appointment with your veterinarian to discuss suitable foods for your cat. Depending on the cause of the diarrhea, your veterinarian may recommend increased fiber intake to help firm up your cat’s stools. A simple and effective way of doing this is to mix a small amount of canned pumpkin into their regular food. Water The most important thing to keep an eye on when your cat is suffering from diarrhea is the risk of dehydration. They need to be drinking even more than usual as they will be losing so much water through their stools. You can’t force your cat to drink water, but there are a few ways you can encourage it. Firstly, try mixing some water into their regular food, especially if they eat dry kibble rather than wet food. You could also try mixing some chicken broth (without added salt) into their water bowl. The taste of the chicken may encourage them to drink more than they otherwise would. Whilst cats do love milk, and many would happily lap up a bowl even if they weren’t thirsty, avoid giving your cat any dairy as it is likely to worsen their condition. Medication Your veterinarian will be able to advice on the best treatment for diarrhea in your cat depending on what is seen to have caused it. If the diarrhea has been caused by ingesting toxic foods, then the vet may keep your cat in overnight on a drip to flush the body of toxins. The veterinarian may also prescribe anti-diarrhea medication, but this is to be used under veterinary supervision only as it can be easily mis administered. If the problem is deemed to be bacterial or viral, the vet may prescribe probiotics to feed the friendly bacteria in your cat’s stomach and return their bacterial population to normal. If the issue is being caused by a parasite such as roundworms, the vet will prescribe de-wormers. These target multiple parasites and should be taken regularly every few months to prevent an outbreak. Diarrhea in Kittens Cats who are very young or elderly have much weaker immune systems than adult cats, and conditions such as diarrhea, which are usually harmless to cats, can be very dangerous. Diarrhea in kittens is usually caused by food ingested or a parasite; it’s much rarer to see organ diseases or cancer in such young cats. Kittens are constantly discovering new foods and tastes, so it’s expected that they would have some trouble digesting some of them. If your kitten just has one instance of diarrhea and is acting as lively as usual, you won’t normally need to take any action. However, if there are multiple instances or other warning signs (see below), you should head straight to the veterinarian for advice. Kittens can dehydrate much quicker than adult cats, and this can potentially cause much more serious issues during such a crucial period of development. This is one of the reasons why we recommend taking out pet insurance on your kittens as early as possible, to ensure they are fully protected whilst their immune system is still developing. When should I worry about my cat’s diarrhea? All cats suffer from diarrhea once in a while, and one instance of it is usually nothing to worry about. However, it’s important to look out for the below warning signs so you know when you should be heading to your veterinarian for treatment: Bloody or black stools (this could be a sign of internal bleeding) Diarrhea continues for more than 24 hours Vomiting Lethargy There are a few instances where you should consult your veterinarian at the first signs of diarrhea, even if the above symptoms are not present: Your cat is very young Your cat is very old Your cat has other underlying health problems Your cat is taking regular medication   Whilst diarrhea in your cat is often nothing to worry about, it’s always good to double check with your veterinarian to give you some peace of mind. For further peace of mind, make sure your cat is up to date on de-wormers and injections, as well as getting them fully insured. If you don’t have insurance for your cat yet, take a look at our easy quote tool for some free quotes from leading pet insurance providers.   Always consult your veterinarian Whilst all our articles are researched and our views are provided in good faith, we advise pet owners not to rely on the content and to consult with the veterinarian if they are at all concerned about the health or well-being of their pet.

Skin problems in cats

Skin problems are common in cats and can range from minor irritations, that usually clear up on their own, to long-term conditions which can be hard to treat. It’s often harder to recognise skin problems in cats than in dogs, because cats don’t tend to scratch the irritation. Instead they prefer to excessively lick the area, which might seem to be just part of their normal grooming routine. Some common symptoms of skin problems in cats are: Excessive licking Hair loss Redness / irritated skin Scabbing Dry / flaky skin Swelling and lumps Nibbling Cat seems shy and doesn’t want to be looked at or touched There are lots of possible causes of skin irritation in cats, so if you’re worried you should always seek veterinary advice, and not attempt to diagnose the condition yourself. Here’s a list of some of the most common causes of skin problems in cats: Ringworm What is ringworm? Ringworm is fungal infection that is highly contagious so can easily be passed from pet to pet. It causes skin irritation in the form of redness, scaly patches, scabs and hair loss, usually on the head, ears and paws. If you suspect ringworm it’s important to visit the veterinarian straight away so that it isn’t passed to any other pets (or humans!) in your household. How to treat ringworm If you suspect that your cat has ringworm, the first thing to do should be to quarantine your cat until your veterinarian has examined her. If ringworm is confirmed, the veterinarian will prescribe medication in the form of shampoos, ointments or oral medication, which you will need to give to your cat over a period of a few months. How to prevent ringworm It’s easy for a cat to contract ringworm through contact with an infected animal or environment (such as bedding). If any animal in the house has ringworm it’s important to thoroughly clean all fabrics that they could have come in contact with, as the chance of another pet catching the infection is incredibly high. If your cat is an outdoors cat, check him for lesions regularly to ensure he hasn’t picked up ringworm outside. Your veterinarian can also recommend an antifungal shampoo to add an extra layer of protection for your cat. Fleas What are fleas? Fleas are small parasites that live in the fur of your cat, feeding on blood. Whilst they are small, they are well designed for survival, so can be very difficult to get rid of once an infestation has set in. To check for fleas, run a fine tooth comb through the fur to gather any possible fleas and faecal matter (which looks like black dots on the skin) and wipe anything that comes out on a damp paper towel. If the paper turns red it is likely fleas, as their diet is mostly blood. How to treat fleas Fleas on your cat can be effectively killed with special shampoo, which can be prescribed by your veterinarian. The difficult part then is eradicating all fleas from your home, as fleas can wait dormant with no food for months in cushions and furnishings. Find out more about how to clean your house to get rid of fleas in our article Fleas and your cat. How to prevent fleas There are plenty of preventative flea treatments that your veterinarian can prescribe and as long as you keep your cat up to date (usually one treatment per month) they are unlikely to pick up fleas. Most of these treatments also work for other parasites such as ear mites. You can also buy special collars called flea collars which emit the same chemicals as the treatment to keep fleas away. The collars may be a more cost effective option but they can also irritate your cat’s skin when worn for extended periods of time. Contact dermatitis What is contact dermatitis? Contact dermatitis is a catch-all term for a skin irritation caused by something on your cat’s skin. There are two types of contact dermatitis – allergic and irritant, the difference being that allergic reactions vary from cat to cat, but irritants would affect all cats similarly. The visible skin irritation will normally appear on areas with less hair (such as paws, stomach and face) to prevent the skin getting in contact with the irritant. How to treat contact dermatitis Contact dermatitis will go away on its own once the allergen or irritant has been removed. It’s therefore important to figure out what is causing the reaction quickly so that you can remove it from the house. If your cat is allowed outdoors and you think he may have come into contact with something outside, like poison ivy for example, keep him indoors for a few days to make sure his condition improves. How to prevent contact dermatitis There is no way to prevent irritant contact dermatitis, but if allergies are suspected then the cause can usually be identified with some help from your veterinarian. From that point it is just a matter of removing the allergens and being conscious of using anti allergen food bowls and bedding for your cat. Allergies What causes allergies in cats? There are many things that can cause allergies in cats, so it’s good to have an awareness of the most common ones in case you need to figure out what is causing your cat to have a reaction. Seasonal Like humans, cats can suffer from pollen allergies during summer. Often pollen types and rates change every year, so it’s possible for your cat to have a pollen reaction seemingly out of the blue when they have never reacted before. Food Many cats have sensitive digestions and can react to any food, but there are also several foods that any cat will respond badly to. Take a look at our guidance on Toxic Foods for Cats to see a list of likely suspects. Grooming products Cats are very clean animals due to their regular self-grooming, so most do not need professional shampooing. When they do, there is always a risk of reacting to something in the shampoo. If you’re concerned, ask your groomer to perform a small patch test 24 hours before the grooming session. How to treat allergies The best way to treat allergies in cats is to remove the allergen, but this isn’t always possible especially in cases of seasonal allergies. Ask your veterinarian for help and to advise if antihistamines might be an option. Always take advice from your veterinarian before giving your cat any medication as there are antihistamines that could be harmful. Skin Cancer (Epidermotropic Lymphoma) What is Epidermotropic Lymphoma? Epidermotropic Lymphoma is a form of skin cancer involving a tumor which gets progressively worse over time. Its symptoms are mostly the same as other skin problems, but can also include lightening of the skin. It occurs at a higher rate within white cats, due to the fact that their fur offers less protection from the sun. How to treat Epidermotropic Lymphoma Sadly there is no definite cure for Epidermotropic Lymphoma, but cancer therapies such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy can improve the quality of life for your cat. When possible, your veterinarian will perform an operation to remove the tumor but unfortunately it is a cancer that can be fatal. The earlier the cancer is found the higher the chance of successful removal. How to prevent Epidermotropic Lymphoma There is no proven way to prevent skin cancer in cats, but it will help to keep time spent in direct sunlight to a minimum, especially in the warmer parts of the country. Regularly check your cat’s skin and flag any irritation to your veterinarian as soon as possible so that if it is cancer it can be diagnosed quickly. Bacterial and yeast infections What are bacterial and yeast infections? There are various types of bacterial infections that can affect your cat, especially if they have a weak immune system due to age or poor diet. Bacterial infections weaken the immune system further which can sometimes cause a yeast infection when the normally harmless yeast on your cat’s skin causes a reaction. Bacterial infections can be identified by the fact that they can also cause internal problems such as flu like symptoms. How to treat bacterial and yeast infections Your veterinarian will be able to advise you on the best treatment for your cat based on the type of infection that they have. This could be a combination of antibiotics to fight the infection and ointments to address the symptoms. How to prevent bacterial and yeast infections Older cats are more prone to bacterial infections because of their weakened immune system, but you can help keep your cat’s immune system healthy for as long as possible by ensuring they get a healthy diet (see our page on healthy diets for cats) and taking them for regular check-ups at your veterinarian. Psychogenic Alopecia What is Psychogenic Alopecia Psychogenic Alopecia, also known as over grooming, is a condition in which cats lose hair due to excessive licking of their skin. It’s believed to be a psychological problem rather than a physical one, similar to obsessive compulsive disorder in humans, so can be difficult to treat. How to treat Psychogenic Alopecia Treatment for Psychogenic Alopecia will be different for every cat, so talk to your vet about the best plan for you. You might consider spending more time interacting and playing with your cat, to reduce stress and boredom. There are also some feline pheromones available which can have a calming effect on cats. How to prevent Psychogenic Alopecia Psychogenic Alopecia can be caused by stress or boredom, so making sure they are comfortable and happy at home is a good first step. It can also be triggered by other skin problems such as allergies or fleas, so it’s important to deal with these as quickly as possible so that your cat doesn’t form a habit of over-grooming.. If you’re concerned that your cat may have a skin problem, if they have been licking and scratching excessively or you have noticed redness and lesions on the skin, it’s important to take them to see your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Cat laying on grass

What is cat diabetes? Feline diabetes (sometimes referred to as diabetes mellitus) is a condition in which your feline friend cannot properly produce or respond to the hormone insulin; causing an increase in glucose levels. Glucose is your cat’s primary source of energy, and so an imbalance will mean that your cat’s body has to rely on other sources of energy, such as stored fat, which can be very dangerous. Feline diabetes isn’t very common, with only 0.2 – 1.0% of cats receiving a diagnosis. What are the symptoms of cat diabetes? There are a variety of symptoms that you can look out for if you have concerns that your cat has diabetes. Weight loss despite an increase in appetite, an increase in thirst and urination, and in extreme cases cats may develop nerve damage in their back legs. The risk factors involved: With most medical conditions there are risk factors. Diabetes in cats is particularly concerning if your cat is: Obese Physically inactive Elderly Neutered Male How is diabetes diagnosed in cats? Your vet will carry out a blood test if they suspect your cat may have diabetes, and will check for elevated levels of glucose in the blood and urine. Your vet will then assess your cat and ask you if you have seen any changes in weight, appetite, water intake and urination, as these signs may indicate that your cat has diabetes. Some vets will give a second test at a later date if they believe your pet was stressed during the first one, as high stress levels can make the results inaccurate. What is the treatment for feline diabetes? Once your cat has been diagnosed with diabetes they will most likely be treated with injections of insulin. Often the owner will be taught how to inject the insulin at home and this will become a seamless routine between you and your animal. Another treatment for cat diabetes is managing their diet properly, as restricting their carbohydrate intake can help manage glucose levels in the blood. Do I need to change my cat’s lifestyle after being diagnosed with diabetes? Frequently administering insulin at home will likely be the biggest change that you’ll need to get used to. Many owners find it helpful to get organised with a diary or calendar to keep a log of their felines health. Record test results, changes in a weight and behavior. Always ask for advice from your vet is you have any concerns and to make sure you are monitoring your cat’s health properly. Another change in daily routine you may come across is diet and exercise. If your pet is underweight this may mean feeding frequently throughout the day, and if your pet is overweight then you’ll have to begin a weight loss plan to improve their health. Foods that are high in fat or human scraps given to your cat won’t help improve their condition, so keep track of what your pet is eating, and they should be able to live with the condition happily. Can feline diabetes be prevented? Some cats will get diabetes no matter what preventative measures are taken by the owner. But there are simple steps you can take to reduce your animals’ chances of developing this disease. Keeping your cat in good health and taking care of them properly insures little risk of developing diabetes. A healthy diet and consistent exercise is a good starting point, alongside regular check-ups with your vet which will ensure that symptoms are spotted early and that treatment can be established before other health concerns become an issue. 

Cat

Just like us, our feline companions can be susceptible to viruses and bacteria when exposed to another infected cat. In fact, a cat sneezing can infect another cat from several meters away! Most cases of cat flu will pass but it’s important to recognise the symptoms so that you help your pet get through the illness, and prevent any possible complications. What is cat flu? Similar to a human cold, cat flu comes from a set of viruses that weaken the immune system. For adult cats with strong immune systems it is normally nothing to worry about, but all cats with flu should still visit the veterinarian. In kittens, elderly cats or adults with other conditions, it can be a much bigger problem and may require more medical attention. The most common complication with cat flu is that the eyes can develop ulcers which can progress to blindness or loss of an eye if not addressed immediately. If you notice your cat or kitten unable to fully open one or both eyes, be sure to visit the veterinarian straight away. What causes ear infections in cats? Ear mites, or Otodectes cynotis, are the cause of around half of the ear infections seen in cats, and these highly contagious parasites are particularly common in kittens. However, allergies, including environmental allergies (such as mold or dust mites), food allergies or flea allergies, are also a common cause of ear infections, as well as growths, tumors and abscesses. Foreign bodies, such as seeds or plant material, can also easily become lodged in the ear canal and cause infection, while trauma, and a build-up of yeast and bacteria can also cause your cat’s ears to become infected.  What are the symptoms of cat flu? Symptoms of cat flu are similar to those of colds and flus in people, but vary slightly depending on which virus has taken hold. The main symptoms are:  Clear discharge from nose and eyes Depressed mood Sore throat Aches and pains Mouth ulcers Dribbling  Sneezing  Loss of voice Fever Sometimes symptoms can take up to 2 weeks to appear, but in most cases will disappear again within another 2 – 3 weeks.   How is cat flu treated?  There is no straight cure for cat flu but antibiotics can be effective in strengthening the immune system and stopping other illnesses setting in. The symptoms of cat flu can stop a cat eating and drinking, so it’s important that someone is on hand to offer constant care to help keep them hydrated and nourished with wet, strong smelling foods. There are many tricks that can ease the other symptoms for your cat, for example ice chips or a small amount of ice cream can ease mouth ulcers, and letting your cat into a steam filled bathroom after someone has showered can help to unblock their nose. Your vet will be able to advice on the best solutions for your cat. How can cat flu be prevented? It is difficult to prevent your cat from ever coming into contact with a virus that causes flu, especially if they are free to roam outdoors and interact with other cats who could be carrying a virus. Some cats carry viruses without developing flu and so it’s possible for a seemingly healthy cat to pass on flu in these cases. Even cats that are kept indoors cannot be totally sure of being safe from flu. Bacteria and virus spreading particles can stay in the environment and remain contagious for up to a week, meaning a cat could catch flu from a visit to the vet or groomers even if they were the only animal there. There are vaccines available against the main strains of virus but, as with human flu, the virus evolves quickly and there will always be strains that the vaccine is not effective against. Can cat flu be transmitted to other animals? Cat flu is very easily passed between cats, as carriers of the virus can spread it even if they do not show any symptoms. The virus is specific to cats and cannot usually spread to humans or other breeds of animal. However, there is one bacteria which can cause cat flu, Bordetella Bronchiseptica, which is the same as that which causes kennel cough in dogs, so it is believed that cats could pass dogs kennel cough, or that dogs could pass flu to a cat. Your vet may be able to tell whether your cat is suffering from a viral or bacterial infection, so you know whether to quarantine your cat from any dogs in the household. 

Ear infections in cats

While ear infections are far less common in cats than in dogs, cats can still develop inflamed and infected ears for a variety of reasons. Ear infections can affect your cat’s middle ear or outer ear canal, and can vary in severity. However, once the cause of the ear infection has been identified, they will normally clear up easily with the right course of treatment.   What causes ear infections in cats? Ear mites, or Otodectes cynotis, are the cause of around half of the ear infections seen in cats, and these highly contagious parasites are particularly common in kittens. However, allergies, including environmental allergies (such as mold or dust mites), food allergies or flea allergies, are also a common cause of ear infections, as well as growths, tumors and abscesses. Foreign bodies, such as seeds or plant material, can also easily become lodged in the ear canal and cause infection, while trauma, and a build-up of yeast and bacteria can also cause your cat’s ears to become infected.  How can I tell if my cat has an ear infection? If your cat experiences any of the following symptoms, it may indicate they have developed an ear infection:  Black material which resembles coffee grounds in the outer ear (an indication of ear mites)  Head shaking, scratching or rubbing ears against carpets or furniture  Dark colored discharge  Abnormal odor  Redness or swelling  Hair loss or scabs around the outer ear  Hearing loss  Loss of balance The symptoms of an ear infection will be extremely uncomfortable for your cat, so be sure to visit your veterinarian to obtain a proper diagnosis and seek advice around the best course of treatment for your pet. For other indications of cat discomfort and pain, review this great resource. How is an ear infection diagnosed?  Your veterinarian will be able to determine whether your cat is suffering from an ear infection. They will normally take a small sample from the affected ear to find out whether any bacteria, fungi or mites are present, as well as look for out for any lumps or bumps, sores or foreign bodies. Once they have found out what’s causing the infection, they’ll advise you on the best way to treat it.    The dangers of not seeking veterinary advice for your cat's ear infection As there are many different causes of ear infections in cats, it’s important to always visit your veterinarian and obtain a proper diagnosis. Using the wrong type of treatment may cause the infection to worsen and could even lead to deafness, so even if your cat has suffered from ear infections in the past, always speak to your veterinarian for advice around the best course of treatment for your pet.   How to treat ear infections in cats  Your veterinarian will normally prescribe a course of oral antibiotics or topical drugs and will also clean the affected ear(s) thoroughly. They will normally schedule a check-up a couple of weeks later to see if the infection has cleared fully. If the infection was caused by your pet’s allergies, your veterinarian may advise making changes to your pet’s environment to prevent any future ear infections occurring.   How to prevent ear infections in cats While there’s nothing you can do to prevent ear infections entirely, cleaning your cat’s ears, as recommended by your veterinarian, will help ensure your cat stays healthy and enable you to examine their ears regularly. Also, keeping an eye on your cat’s behavior and checking for signs of infection will help ensure the ear infection is diagnosed early, and therefore make it much easier to treat. It’s also important to be aware of ear mites, as these are the most common cause of ear infections in cats. Stay on top of your parasite prevention treatments and be sure to thoroughly clean your home and your cat’s bedding if they have recently recovered from mites.  How to clean your cat’s ears Keeping your cat’s ears clean helps keep your cat healthy and can help prevent ear infections. However, cat’s ears are sensitive, and cleaning them in the wrong way or cleaning them too frequently can cause serious damage, so it’s important to speak to your veterinarian before adopting an ear-cleaning routine for your cat.  Here’s our guide to cleaning your cat’s ears safely and effectively but always check with your veterinarian first:  Fill your cat’s ear with a good amount of cleaning solution. Your veterinarian can advise on the best product to use.   Hold a ball of cotton wool over the opening of your cat’s ear before massaging the base of the ear to loosen any debris.  Stand back while your cat shakes their head to remove the majority of cleaner from their ear.  Wipe away any excess dirt or liquid from the outer ear with another clean cotton wool ball or tissue.  Allow your cat’s ears to dry before administering any drops or ointment which may have been prescribed by your veterinarian.  Repeat as often as recommended by your veterinarian.