cats ears won’t stop twitching
Questions About Cats

Why Do My Cat’s Ears Keep Twitching?

Ear twitches in cats have a multitude of meanings. Your cat may be maintaining a sense of awareness, or they could have an infection. It’s crucial that you understand why your cat’s ears react this way to see if they have a health problem or it’s perfectly natural.

Your pet may just be listening intently. Cats have exceptional hearing, and rely more on their ears for information than their eyes. However, your cat may also use their ears to communicate a problem. If your cat seems irritable as well as twitchy, check their ears for mites or infection.

The meaning of twitchy ears in cats is something that cannot always be diagnosed at a glance. If a cat is twitching or flicking its ears constantly, there may be something wrong.

My Cat’s Ears Won’t Stop Twitching

To figure out why a cat’s ears are twitching, we must first understand what a twitch is. When any part of feline anatomy twitches, it’s a result of minor, involuntary muscles contractions.

A cat has 32 independent muscles in each ear – that’s four times as many as a human. This is why cats have superior hearing than humans. Imagine walking around with one hand cupped around your ear, all day every day. You’ll be able to hear much better. That’s the default setting for a cat.

This may be why your pet’s ear twitches. They are listening out for anything they consider to be important. When you see your cat do this, listen out yourself. Are there voices in the distance? Is a television or radio turned on elsewhere in the house? Are your neighbors making noise? If your cat’s ears twitch whenever they are near a wall, consider calling an exterminator. They may be picking up on a rodent or insect infestation that you cannot see.

It may not just be intent listening that causes a cat’s ear to twitch, though. Some of the most common explanations for a twitching ear could include:

  • Stress and Anxiety. A nervous cat will be agitated, and continuously remain on high alert. Do whatever you can to settle your cat’s nerves. The calmer and happier they are, the less active their ears will be.
  • Ear Mites. These are tiny parasites that set up home in your pet’s ears, causing them discomfort. Thankfully they are easily dealt with, either at home or by a vet.
  • Ear Infections. An inner, middle or outer ear infections can lead to pain and swelling for your cat. They will need to be managed by a vet using medication. Don’t ignore an ear infection – it can cause permanent damage if left long enough.
  • Scratches. If your cat has been in a territorial battle, they may have been scratched inside the ear. This will be sore and irritable. Check that your cat’s ear is not cut inside. You can clean the wound yourself, but speak to a vet if the cut is deep.
  • Foreign Objects. Outdoor cats often put their faces somewhere they shouldn’t in the name of curiosity. This means that they may end up all kinds of other things stuck in their ear. This will cause irritation, and by extension twitching. If the item is small and visible, you can remove it yourself with tweezers. If it’s embedded in any way, however, seek expert help.
  • Polyps. These are non-cancerous growths that develop inside a cat’s ear. They need to be surgically removed, but it’s usually a simple procedure for a vet. Once removed, polyps should also not return.

Twitching ears do not necessarily mean that your cat is in immediate danger. However, if you suspect that the cause is medical, it should not be ignored.

cat twitching ears and shaking head

My Cat Has Twitching Ears and is Shaking Their Head

If your cat is shaking her head as well as twitching their ears, the problem may be medical. There are many reasons why cats shake their head. Some of these include:

  • Oral Problems. If your cat finds it difficult to eat or groom as well as twitching and shaking, check their teeth. Oral issues can lead to many health complaints. Your cat may have tremors in their ears, and is shaking their head, to relieve discomfort.
  • Parasitic Infestations. If your pet is shaking their head as well as twitching their ears, they could have mites. They will be attempting to shake these irritants off. Take a look in your cat’s ears, and look out for any other warning signs. Are your cat’s ears overly hot?
  • Infection. Cats can be prone to infections throughout their ears. Always be vigilant about looking for swelling and redness in the ear, though. This is usually a warning sign of infection.
  • Dirt in the Ears. Sometimes, it’s as simple an explanation as your cat needing their ears cleaned out. A vet will be able to do this using a feline-safe ear wash. It’s no different to a human having their ears syringed. If your cat is aware of dirt in their ears, they’ll want to get rid of it.

A cat shaking their head is never behavior that should be ignored. It is not something they will do unless they are in discomfort. Bear this in mind if you see them acting in such a way. Your pet may need medical attention sooner rather than later.

Discharge Coming from My Cat’s Twitchy Ear

Discharge is a thick, usually brown liquid that appears in the ears, and often oozes out. It often smells foul, and frequently leads to a cat constantly scratching and pawing their ear.

There could be any number of explanations for this symptom, including:

  • Excessive wax building up
  • The presence of ear mites
  • Infections
  • Allergies
  • Tumors, such as polyps
  • Reaction to medications

If your cat is oozing discharge from their ear, you’ll need to take action. There is no need to panic – discharge from the ear is rarely anything too serious. A vet will need to run a series of tests to determine why it is happening.

The majority of the time, this treatment will involve medication such as eardrops. Leave the application of these drops to a vet, though. The anatomy of a cat’s ear is different from that of a human, and very delicate. A well-meaning owner could end up doing more harm than good.

My Cat’s Ears Twitch When Sleeping

If your cat’s ears twitch when they’re asleep, it’s nothing to worry about. It usually just means that your pet is dreaming. Alternatively, they may just be dozing, keeping one ear out for interesting activity in the house.

Just like humans, cats engage in REM sleep when they are contentedly snoring. You will probably notice that it’s not just your cat’s ears that twitch. Their whiskers and eyelids will also move. The chances are, your cat is reliving a particularly thrilling hunt from earlier that day.

Only be concerned about twitching ears while your cat is sleeping if they are prone to seizures. If your cat’s entire body goes stiff while they’re asleep, keep a close eye on them. If similar things happen during their waking hours, you should see a vet. Seizures rarely lead to anything good.

Why Do Cat’s Ears Twitch When You Touch Them?

As we have already mentioned, cats have 32 muscles in their ears. That’s 32 very visible muscles that will bristle and react to touch, especially if it’s unexpected.

It’s essential to remember that cats are governed by self-preservation. Anybody or anything that touches them sparks an initial fear response. It will be impossible not to notice this in the ears, as the muscles are so prominent.

If your cat immediately relaxes and their ears stop twitching when you stroke them, carry on. If they continue to twitch, however, stop at once. This is an involuntary response that suggests they are becoming increasingly agitated. Hissing, scratching and biting is likely to follow.

How  Do I Know if My Cat Has Ear Mites?

Ear mites can be infuriating for a cat. These microscopic parasites burrow into a cat’s inner ear canal, and feed on dead skin. This causes a cat’s ear to become red and inflamed.

Ear mites are passed on from one cat to another. This means that outdoor cats, or those in multi-pet households, are more likely to be impacted.

Typical signs that your cat has ear mites include:

  • Constant twitching of the ears, as the muscles are irritated.
  • Constant scratching of the ears and shaking of the head.
  • A dark brown discharge.

Ear mites are annoying and uncomfortable. An infestation will need to be dealt with, as ear mites can breed. If left untreated for long enough, they could also attack the rest of a cat’s body. Your cat may also cause permanent damage to their hearing if they scratch incessantly.

If you suspect that your cat has ear mites, take them a vet. They will be able to confirm the diagnosis, and provide treatment. This is usually a one-off drop in the ear. If recurrence is possible, however, a vet may provide you with a prescription to continue treatment at home.

cats ears twitch when sleeping

How Do I Know if My Cat Has an Ear Infection?

Cats do not often get ear infections. When they do, the presence of mites is often to blame. This means that some of the warning signs of an ear infection mirror those of mites. However, it could be something more serious. Older cats, with weaker immune systems, are prone to ear infections.

Ear infections could impact upon the inner, middle or outer ear. They could also stem from yeast or bacteria. The common symptoms of ear infections are as follows:

  • Constant twitching of the ears, as the muscles are irritated.
  • Constant scratching of the ears and shaking of the head.
  • A dark brown, black or yellow discharge.
  • A strong, foul smell in the ear.
  • Wax in the ear canal.
  • Inability to hear.
  • Uncharacteristic clumsiness and a general lack of balance.

If you suspect that your cat has an infection in their ear, see a vet. If left untreated, an ear infection could have serious long-term repercussions – including deafness.

The treatment will take place in the veterinary surgery on the day that you bring your cat in. This may be ointment, eardrops or oral antibiotics, depending on the circumstances surrounding the infection. Never try to treat your cat’s infection yourself unless told to do so by a vet.

What Do Different Cat Ear Positions Mean?

Once a cat’s ears stop twitching, they will eventually settle. You will be able to read a lot into your cat’s mood by reviewing this position. Common cat ear postures include:

  • Ears Pointed Sideways – this suggests that the cat is a little apprehensive. It’s advisable to give them some space.
  • Ears Pinned Back – the cat is very agitated, and likely to attack. Remove yourself from their presence, slowly but efficiently.
  • Ears Pointed Straight Upward – the cat is listening intently to something, possibly beyond the audible range of humans.
  • Ears Pointed Forward – the cat is in a great mood, and is feeling playful.

You can tell a lot about how a cat is feeling by their ears. Use this basic information, alongside their twitching habits, to understand your pet’s state of mind.

Is My Cat Going Deaf?

It’s quite possible that a senior cat will lose their hearing as they age. Sometimes this happens suddenly, as a result of illness. On other occasions, their hearing may gradually fade over time.

Pet Health Network discusses the ways you can tell if your cat is losing their hearing. These include:

  • They will not come when you call their name. This depends on whether they did so before you questioned their hearing.
  • They do not react to any sudden fluctuations in noise or volume.
  • Their ears never This suggests that they are not receiving any stimulation.
  • They are meowing much louder than usual. This suggests that they have no control over their volume.

You can run a number of tests to check your cat’s hearing at home. Make high-pitched or low, rumbling sounds to see if your pet reacts.

If your cat keeps flicking their ears, or twitching, keep a close eye on them. If the behavior seems insistent, however, look a little deeper. Check their ear for any sign of infection or infestation. Ensure that nothing is trapped within the ear canal. If you can’t explain the behavior, check with a vet. There could be any number of reasons for your cat’s twitching ears.