Brown Stuff in Cats Ears No Mites?

Brown stuff in cats’ ears can be a cause for concern for pet owners. While ear mites are a common cause of brown debris in cats’ ears, there are several other potential causes that should be considered. It is important to address this issue promptly as untreated ear issues can lead to discomfort, infection, and even hearing loss in cats.

what is the brown stuff in my cats ear

What is the brown stuff in my cat’s ear?

The brown stuff in your cat’s ear could be a number of things, but some common possibilities include:

  • Ear wax: Just like humans, cats produce ear wax to keep their ears clean and healthy. This wax can sometimes build up, especially if your cat has a lot of hair in their ears, leading to a brownish color.
  • Dirt or debris: If your cat spends a lot of time outdoors, they may have picked up some dirt or other debris in their ears that has accumulated and turned brown.
  • Yeast or fungal infections: These infections can sometimes lead to brown or yellow discharge in your cat’s ears. If you suspect this is the case, it’s important to see a veterinarian for treatment.
  • Mites: Ear mites are tiny parasites that can infest your cat’s ears, leading to brown or black discharge. Again, a vet will be able to diagnose and treat this issue.

Dirty cat ears vs ear mites

Appearance: Ear mites are tiny, white parasites that live in the ear canal. They can be seen with the naked eye but may be difficult to spot due to their small size. In contrast, dirty cat ears will have a build-up of wax, debris, or dirt that is visible to the naked eye.

Symptoms: Dirty cat ears may not cause any symptoms other than the visible build-up of dirt or wax. Ear mites, on the other hand, can cause a variety of symptoms in cats, including:

  • Excessive scratching of the ears
  • Head shaking
  • Dark brown or black ear wax
  • Redness and inflammation in the ear canal

Location: Ear mites live in the ear canal, while dirty cat ears may have a build-up of dirt or wax on the outer ear or on the ear flap (also known as the pinna).

Cause: Ear mites are caused by a parasite that lives in the ear canal, while dirty cat ears may be caused by a variety of factors, such as lack of grooming, allergies, or skin conditions.

Frequency: Ear mites can occur in any cat, but are more common in young or immunocompromised cats. Dirty cat ears, on the other hand, may be more likely to occur in cats that are not groomed regularly or have underlying skin conditions.

Treatment: The treatment for ear mites and dirty cat ears is different. Ear mites can be treated with prescription medication from your veterinarian, while dirty cat ears can be cleaned with a cleaning solution or warm water and a cotton ball.

The black stuff in the cat’s ears, not mites

Ear wax: The black stuff in your cat’s ears could simply be ear wax, which is a natural substance produced by the glands in their ear canals. This wax helps to protect and lubricate the ear, but too much can lead to problems like ear infections or mites.

Dirt and debris: If your cat spends a lot of time outside, they may have accumulated dirt and debris in their ears. This can give the appearance of the black stuff but can be easily cleaned out with a gentle ear cleaner.

Blood: In some cases, the black stuff in your cat’s ears could be dried blood. This could be a sign of an injury or infection, and you should take your cat to the vet to get it checked out.

Fur: Cats are known for their grooming habits, and it’s possible that the black stuff in their ears is simply a build-up of fur that has been shed or pulled out during grooming. This can be removed with a gentle ear cleaner or ear wipes.

Otitis externa: This is a type of ear infection that can cause the ear canal to become inflamed and filled with black, crusty discharge. If you notice this type of black stuff in your cat’s ears, it’s important to take them to the vet for treatment.

How do you get the brown stuff out of a cat’s ear?

The “brown stuff” that can accumulate in a cat’s ear can be a buildup of wax, dirt, or even an infection. Here are some tips on how to safely clean your cat’s ears:

  1. First, check with your veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical issues that may be causing the buildup.
  2. Gently lift your cat’s ear flap and look inside. If the ear looks clean and free of debris, leave it alone. Overcleaning can cause irritation and inflammation.
  3. If there is a buildup of wax or debris, you can use a cotton ball or soft cloth dampened with a mild, pH-balanced ear cleaner specifically designed for cats. Never use cotton swabs or anything that could potentially puncture the ear drum.
  4. Gently wipe the inside of the ear flap, being careful not to go too deep into the ear canal. Use a separate cotton ball or cloth for each ear to avoid spreading any infection.
  5. Reward your cat with a treat or praise for being cooperative during the cleaning process.

Remember, always be gentle and never force anything into your cat’s ear. If you notice any signs of redness, swelling, or discharge, consult your veterinarian immediately as it could be a sign of infection.

Best ear-cleaning solutions for cats

From mites to wax buildup, the ears of our feline friends can be a tricky area to keep clean and healthy. That’s why I’ve compiled a list of the top ear-cleaning solutions for cats available on

First on the list is the Virbac Epi-Otic Advanced Ear Cleaner. This solution is specially formulated to remove dirt, debris, and wax from the ears of cats and dogs. Its unique formula also helps to reduce odors and prevent infections. The solution is easy to use and comes with a convenient applicator tip.


  • Virbac Epi-Otic Advanced Ear Cleaner is an effective solution for removing dirt, wax, and debris from the ears of cats. It is designed to be gentle on the ears, yet effective in cleaning them.
  • The solution is easy to use, as it comes with an easy-to-use applicator that helps to deliver the solution directly into the ear canal. This makes it easy for pet owners to clean their cat’s ears.
  • The solution is also pH balanced, which means it is safe for use in the ears of cats. This is important as the pH of the ears of cats can be different from that of dogs and other animals.
  • The solution is also non-irritating and non-toxic, making it safe for use on cats of all ages.


  • Some cats may be sensitive to the solution and may experience mild irritation or redness in the ears after using it. This is why it is important to test the solution on a small area of the ear before using it all over.
  • The solution can be a bit expensive compared to other ear-cleaning solutions on the market.
  • The applicator that comes with the solution may not be suitable for all cats, as some cats may be difficult to hold still while cleaning their ears.

Next is the Zymox Ear Solution. This solution is made with a patented formula that utilizes enzymes to clean and protect the ears of cats. It is gentle enough for daily use and can also be used to help prevent and treat ear infections.


  • Zymox Ear Solution is a non-toxic, enzyme-based solution that is safe to use on cats.
  • The solution is effective in eliminating bacteria, yeast, and fungus that can cause ear infections in cats.
  • Zymox Ear Solution can be used as a preventative measure to keep ears clean and healthy.
  • The solution is easy to apply, simply squirt a small amount into the ear and massage gently.


  • Some cats may be sensitive to the solution and may experience irritation or redness.
  • It’s important to note that if your cat already has an ear infection, Zymox Ear Solution should be used in conjunction with veterinary treatment.
  • Zymox Ear Solution can be expensive compared to other ear-cleaning solutions on the market.

Third on the list is the Pet MD Ear Cleaner. This solution is made with a blend of natural ingredients, including aloe vera and tea tree oil, to gently clean and soothe the ears of cats. It is also pH balanced to ensure that it does not irritate the sensitive skin of the ears.


  1. Pet MD Ear Cleaner is an effective solution for cleaning and removing dirt and debris from a cat’s ears.
  2. It is formulated with a gentle and soothing formula that is safe for use on cats.
  3. Pet MD Ear Cleaner is easy to apply and can be used regularly to keep a cat’s ears clean and healthy.
  4. It is a non-toxic, non-irritating, and pH-balanced solution that is gentle on the ears.
  5. Pet MD Ear Cleaner is also effective in preventing and treating ear infections in cats.


  1. Some cats may not tolerate the solution well, leading to redness and irritation of the ears.
  2. Pet MD Ear Cleaner may not be as effective in removing wax buildup in the ears as some other ear-cleaning solutions.
  3. It is not recommended for use on cats with a history of ear infections or other ear problems.
  4. Pet MD Ear Cleaner should only be used with the guidance of a veterinarian, as improper use can lead to further problems.

Conclusion of brown stuff in cat’s ears

There are a few different possible explanations for brown stuff in a cat’s ears, and it’s important to get to the bottom of it so that you can provide the proper care for your furry friend. Here are some tips and experiences from pet owners about dealing with this issue:

  • Ear mites: These tiny parasites can cause a brown, crusty discharge in a cat’s ears. If you suspect ear mites, take your cat to the vet for treatment with a medication like Revolution or Advantage Multi.
  • Infection: A bacterial or fungal infection can also cause brown discharge in a cat’s ears. In this case, the vet will likely prescribe an antibiotic or antifungal medication to clear up the infection.
  • Allergies: Allergies can cause a variety of ear issues in cats, including brown discharge. If your cat has allergies, the vet may recommend an allergy medication or a special diet to help manage the problem.
  • Foreign objects: Sometimes cats can get something stuck in their ears, which can cause brown discharge. If you suspect this is the case, don’t try to remove the object yourself – let the vet handle it to avoid hurting your cat.

Overall, it’s always a good idea to have your cat checked out by a vet if you notice any unusual discharge or other issues with their ears. With the proper treatment, you can help your cat feel better and get back to their normal, healthy self.


Hannah Elizabeth is an English animal behavior author, having written for several online publications. With a degree in Animal Behaviour and over a decade of practical animal husbandry experience, Hannah's articles cover everything from pet care to wildlife conservation. When she isn't creating content for blog posts, Hannah enjoys long walks with her Rottweiler cross Senna, reading fantasy novels and breeding aquarium shrimp.

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