Thursday, April 12, 2018

Cat Owner Questions: What is this black lump in my cat's ear?



Several of my cats are prone to getting these types of black bumps in their ears. I have had a vet look at them several times and each time I was told I didn't need to worry about it but they never really explained to me what they were and what I could do to prevent or get rid of them.



So just what are these black growths in my cat's ears and what can I do about it?

These small black or purple bumps or growths are usually just a cyst. They form over the cerumen glands in the cat's ear that produce cerumen aka "ear wax" to help keep the ear cleaned out. Sometimes those glands become impacted and the gland keeps producing wax which produces those little bumps you will see.

Why do cats (and us humans) even have earwax/cerumen? Earwax has several important jobs. First, it protects and moisturizes the skin of ear canal, preventing dry, itchy ears. Second, it contains special chemicals that fight off infections that could hurt the skin inside the ear canal. Finally, it acts as a shield between the outside world and the eardrum. When dust, dirt, and other things enter your ear, the earwax traps them so they can't travel any further.¹

What can you do about the cysts? Getting an ear cleaner and cleaning out your cat's ear on a routine schedule can help. If regular cleanings don't help, or if you decide to do nothing - because admit it cleaning cat ears is no fun - the cysts can start to block the cat's ear and causing excessive wax build up or even blocking the ear altogether. If they get bad, your vet might prescribe a medicated product for their ears. Jack had one that was causing him to rub his head a lot and the vet prescribed me an antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antifungal ointment (Maxi-Otic) that cleared them up pretty quickly.

So you don't really need to worry about finding one or two, but you'll want to keep an eye on it. If you want to clean your cat's ears it should help but if it doesn't and they keep showing up you will want to talk to your vet at your cat's next checkup.

11 comments:

  1. Now, you will have my human looking into my ears! As if I don't get poked and prodded enough.

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  2. Now I'm going to start looking for these too. I never noticed, but then again I've never knew about them.

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  3. interesting....and that reminds mom that she really does need to clean out the momma cat's ears

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  4. Our mom says she will be checking our ears soon as she comes home from work tonite.

    Emma and Buster

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  5. Yep, looking in cat ears is now on my 'to-do' list this weekend, bc it's too dark by the time I get home from work.

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  6. Now the mom is gonna be looking in our ears for those black lumps.

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  7. I have a few cats with those, the ones that tend to have dirty ears.

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  8. I've never seen something like this! Bear's had black spots on his inside thighs for a couple years and the vet always tells me not to worry - but won't answer what they are. I understand your feeling in response to the vet's vagueness.

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  9. I had my ears cleaned last week. No spots like that. I occasionally get little pimples on my chin and a warm compress and gentle cleaning helps loosen the gunk.

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  10. Like everyone else above, now we'll be looking in our cats' ears all the time. :)

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  11. Thank you for the information! I haven’t found cyst in my boys’ ears so far (fortunately) but I’ll know in case it shows up!

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