Ear hair in cats can be divided into two categories: Ear tufts and hair in the ears’ pinnae. Because a cat’s ear hair can look overgrown and messy, cat owners sometimes wonder if it’s safe to trim it. However, only one type of ear hair is safe to trim.
You can trim the hair tips in cats’ ears, but not the ear tufts. These prevent debris and dirt from entering the ear canal and help balance and redirect sound. Cats’ ear hair should rarely be trimmed, but you can trim excess ear hair with scissors.
It is much more important to keep your cat’s ears clean. The risk of mite infestation is higher when ear discharge and acne-like lesions are present.
Without proper attention and care, ears in poor health may lead to further problems.
Why Do Cats Have Long Ear Hair?
Ear tufts are the fur that grows on the tips of the ears. However, only certain breeds, such as the Maine Coon, Norwegian and Siberian Forest cats, and Highlanders have ear tufts.
Ear tufts are the inner hairs found in the ears of cats. As mentioned earlier, they are essential because they prevent debris from entering the ears and, thus, the ear canal.
These ear hairs also filter sound. A cat’s ear hairs cover the pinnae, which is essential for collecting sound and leading it into the external ear canal.
Should You Trim Ear Hair in Cats?
You should avoid cutting the ear tufts because they are essential for keeping dirt, mites, and insects out of the ears.
Also, ear tufts show the distinctive characteristics of certain cat breeds and distinguish them from other cats.
Ear tufts can be trimmed, however, but only the outermost tips. Safety is vital because cat ears are sensitive, and a slip could result in injury.
Cat groomers do not usually trim the hair inside the ear or the hair that sticks out of the ear, as it is essential to the cat’s overall well-being.
A cat’s ear canal has a self-cleaning mechanism. However, the ears are sensitive and can react to stimuli.
Therefore, you should only trim ear hair in cats if it is causing severe irritation or is infested with mites.
How to Cut the Ear Hair in Cats?
Before you start trimming your cat’s ear hair, clean it gently. Then, take a look inside to see if there are any apparent problems.
These include dirt in the ears, excessive earwax, sores, discharge, redness, or inflammation.
Check the ears for the presence of mites. They look like small, black dots. If mites are present, you will also notice a foul-smelling reddish-brown discharge.
Also, mites are itchy, so cats scratch their ears excessively if they have a mite infestation. This should alert you that something is wrong.
If the ears are free of mites, you can proceed. If the cat has mites, it should be examined by a veterinarian.
It is best to have your cat’s hair trimmed, as well as the ear hair, by a professional cat groomer.
However, you can also trim your cat’s ear hair yourself. However, don’t trim too much hair from your cat’s ears – less is always more in this case.
You will need a few tools to trim your cat’s ear hair. It’s best to have these ready before you start the grooming process.
- Small flea comb
- Cotton balls
- Alcohol-free ear cleaner
- Optional: ear mite oil
- Comb through the ear hair with the flea comb to remove ear wax and debris.
- Moisten a cotton ball with the alcohol-free ear cleaner. Gently wipe over the hair until debris loosens inside the cotton ball. Do not use cotton swabs, which can push the wax or debris further into the ear canal.
- Take a pair of scissors and cut off the ends of the hair that need to be removed.
- Optional: apply some ear mite oil afterward to prevent mite infestation. You can also use this oil regularly regardless of cutting the hair.
Do not use an ear cleaner containing essential oils, tea tree oil, or benzoyl peroxide, as these harm cats.
It is not usually necessary to trim a cat’s ear hair. Although some cat owners may find them unsightly or too long, it is usually only a cosmetic problem.
In addition, clipping too much ear hair can lead to other problems.
Does Ear Hair Grow Back in Cats?
Ear hair will eventually grow back in cats if it has been clipped. How quickly this happens depends on your cat’s breed, age, and lifestyle.
Over time, however, the hair will return to its original length and may even grow longer.
As your cat gets older, her ear hair can sometimes fall out. Many Persian cats have very long ear hairs at the beginning of their lives, which look too long concerning the size of their heads.
As they age and their heads and ears get a little larger, the ear hair adjusts to their size.
However, several factors can cause a cat’s ear hair to stop growing back.
This is usually the case if you have clipped too much or if problems were not treated before the ear hair was cut.
Ear mites, also known as Otodectes cynotis, cause severe itching. This will make your cat scratch its ears, likely leading to hair loss.
In addition, ear mites can be transmitted from cat to cat, so they must be treated immediately.
Mite infestations can also cause ear mange. This is when the skin becomes covered with a grayish-yellow crust that itches. Ear mange almost always results in hair loss and is unpleasant for your cat.
Ear hair is vital for cats to protect the ear canal from parasites. Cats with less hair in their ears are, therefore, more susceptible to infestation.
Flea saliva from a flea bite can lead to an itching sensation in cats.
So, if a flea has bitten your cat in the ear or head area, he may rub against surfaces or try to scratch his ears for relief.
The ear hairs can easily be lost if your cat responds to discomfort in this way.
Ringworm is a fungal infection in the hair follicles and feeds on the cat’s dead skin cells.
It is highly contagious, and you will often find crusted patches around the ears or other areas where it has become infected.
Allergies can cause hair loss, severe itching, and oozing sores on the ears.
In cats with allergies, the hair around the ears falls out first, usually the first place the cat scratches.
Therefore, it is crucial to find out the cause of the allergy. You can determine the reason for the allergy through food tests and other examinations.
Some cats do not like to be groomed. In cats that do not like the sound of tools near their ears, this can even cause stress.
In rare cases, this may lead to a lack of hair growth if the ear hair has been trimmed.
Stressed cats scream, kick, run away, hide, and do anything to escape the grooming table. If your cat seems anxious and agitated during grooming, it is best to leave your cat’s ear hair as it is.
If you trim your cat’s hair for aesthetic reasons, your cat won’t appreciate the benefits.
Instead, keep your cat’s ears debris-free and clean and check them for mite and flea infestations.