Why Does My Cat Like Earwax?

As a cat owner, you may have noticed your feline friend’s unusual obsession with something that is not only gross but also utterly repulsive – earwax.

Yes, you read it right. Many cats have the tendency to lick and nibble on their owner’s earwax.

But why do they find something so disgusting so fascinating? Well, it turns out there are some valid reasons why cats are attracted to earwax.

For one, it’s a sensory experience for them. The scent and texture of earwax are unique and intriguing to your cat.

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Moreover, cats are naturally drawn to their owners’ scents because it makes them feel secure and relaxed. Another reason why your cat may be prone to licking your ears is due to nutrient deficiencies.

Believe it or not, certain cats may prefer the taste of earwax because they lack specific nutrients in their diet. In such cases, it’s crucial to consult with your veterinarian to ensure that your cat is getting all the essential nutrients required for their overall health.

Although the thought of your cat licking up your earwax might be unsettling, remember that they do it out of curiosity and instincts. Additionally, keeping your ears clean is essential to prevent any potential health issues for both you and your furry friend.

So, if you ever catch your kitty indulging in this odd behavior again, don’t worry too much about it – just make sure they’re getting all the necessary nutrients and keep those ears squeaky clean.

What is Earwax?

While it may not be the most pleasant to think about, it’s an essential substance found in both cats and humans. Earwax or cerumen is a mixture of dead skin cells, sebaceous gland secretions and ceruminous gland secretions in the ear canal.

But what purpose does it serve? Earwax acts as a natural barrier against foreign particles such as dirt and dust, preventing them from entering the ear canal and causing irritation or infection.

It also helps to lubricate and moisturize the ear canal. Have you ever caught your cat digging at their ears or even licking some earwax off their paws?

As natural hunters and scavengers, cats have an exceptional sense of smell and taste. Earwax contains organic compounds such as fatty acids, amino acids, and proteins that are similar to those found in animal prey.

Moreover, cats have specialized taste receptors on their tongues that intensify certain flavors, making earwax all the more appealing to them. While small amounts of earwax ingestion are not harmful to cats, excessive cleaning or digging at the ears can lead to discomfort or even infections.

It’s crucial to monitor our cats’ ear hygiene and seek veterinary care if we detect any signs of abnormal discharge or discomfort. So there you have it – earwax may not be the most pleasant topic, but it plays an important role in protecting our cats’ ears.

Cats Have Specialized Taste Receptors

Well, it all comes down to their specialized taste receptors.

These receptors are located on their tongue and the roof of their mouth, allowing them to detect different tastes that humans may not be able to recognize. Have you ever noticed that your cat is drawn to salty foods?

That’s because salt is one of cats’ most sensitive flavors. In fact, some cats are even attracted to earwax due to its small amount of salt.

But don’t worry if your cat isn’t interested in earwax, as every cat has their own distinct preferences. So why does earwax appeal to some cats more than others?

It’s because earwax contains fatty acids that cats find irresistible. These fatty acids help stimulate the receptors on a cat’s tongue, creating a pleasurable sensation for them.

It’s like a gourmet meal for their taste buds. However, it’s essential to monitor your cat’s earwax intake as excessive digging or cleaning can lead to pain or infections.

As responsible pet owners, we must ensure our furry friends stay healthy and happy. You can clean your cat’s ears regularly or invest in some cat-friendly ear cleaning solutions to avoid any issues.

Earwax Contains Organic Compounds that Appeal to Cats

Earwax is made up of a variety of organic substances, including fatty acids, cholesterol, and pheromones.

Fatty acids are crucial for maintaining healthy skin and fur, making them an essential component of a cat’s diet. Cholesterol is necessary for hormone production and vitamin D synthesis, which are both vital for overall health.

Pheromones play a pivotal role in human behavior and animal communication. Cats have an incredible sense of smell that allows them to detect even the smallest amounts of these substances in earwax.

Some cats become fixated on licking their ears or searching for earwax because of this. In fact, some cats may even become territorial or aggressive when it comes to earwax, as they see it as a valuable resource.

While the idea of your cat indulging in earwax may seem unpleasant to us humans, there is no harm in it. However, it’s important to monitor your feline friend’s behavior and ensure they’re not ingesting too much earwax or causing any harm to themselves.

Excessive Consumption of Earwax Can Lead to Digestive Issues

While it may seem harmless, excessive consumption of earwax can actually lead to a host of digestive issues that can pose a serious threat to your cat’s health.

Earwax is made up of dead skin cells, hair, and other debris that accumulate in the ear canal. When ingested in large quantities, earwax can also contain harmful bacteria and microorganisms that may cause digestive distress.

This can result in symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea, which if left untreated, can progress to more serious health issues. To prevent excessive consumption of earwax, it is crucial to keep your cat’s ears clean and free of excess wax buildup.

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Your veterinarian can provide recommendations on gentle ear cleaners and routinely sanitize your cat’s ears to prevent the buildup of wax. Additionally, monitoring your cat’s behavior and preventing them from excessively licking or chewing their ears can help prevent digestive problems.

If you notice any signs of digestive distress in your cat, such as vomiting or diarrhea, it is essential to seek veterinary attention immediately. Your veterinarian can diagnose your cat’s illness and prescribe appropriate medication to relieve their symptoms and prevent further health issues from arising.

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How to Discourage Your Cat from Eating Earwax

It turns out that cats are naturally curious creatures, and the strong scent and flavor of earwax can be attractive to them. But don’t worry, there are ways to discourage this behavior and keep your feline friend healthy and happy. Here are five tips on how to discourage your cat from eating earwax.

Understand Why Cats Like Earwax

As previously mentioned, cats have specialized taste receptors that make certain flavors more intense for them. In addition, earwax contains organic compounds that look similar to those found in animal prey, making it a delicacy among our feline friends. By understanding why your cat likes earwax, you can better address the behavior.

Keep Their Ears Clean

One effective way to discourage your cat from eating earwax is by keeping their ears clean. Use a damp cloth or an ear cleaning solution recommended by your veterinarian to prevent excess wax buildup and maintain your cat’s ears.

Provide Distractions

Boredom can lead to destructive behavior, including chewing on objects like earwax. Provide your cat with plenty of toys and activities to keep them entertained and distracted from their earwax-eating habits. Toys that encourage play, such as a feather wand or a small ball, can be particularly enticing.

Use Positive Reinforcement Techniques

Positive reinforcement techniques can also be helpful in stopping your cat’s earwaxing habits. When you catch your cat not eating earwax, reward them with verbal praise or a treat. Over time, they will learn that not eating earwax is a good behavior that leads to positive outcomes.

Seek Veterinary Advice

If despite your efforts, your cat continues to eat earwax, it may be a sign of an underlying health issue. In this case, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian to rule out any potential medical problems. With some patience and persistence, you can help your feline friend break the habit of eating earwax and maintain their overall health and well-being.

In conclusion, understanding why your cat likes earwax is the first step to discouraging them from eating it. Regular cleaning, providing entertainment, using positive reinforcement techniques, and monitoring their behavior are all effective ways to discourage this behavior.

Remember that patience and persistence are key in breaking any habit, and seeking veterinary advice if necessary is always a good idea.

Also Read: Can Cats Eat Earwax?


After diving into the question of why cats like earwax, it’s clear that there are a few factors at play.

Not only does earwax provide a sensory experience for our feline friends, but it also contains essential nutrients that may be lacking in their diet. Plus, the organic compounds found in earwax can trigger territorial behavior in some cats.

While it’s important to monitor your cat’s intake of earwax to avoid digestive issues, there are steps you can take to discourage this behavior. Keeping your cat’s ears clean and providing distractions are just a couple of strategies that can help.

And if you’re really struggling, don’t hesitate to seek veterinary assistance. It’s amazing to think about how cats’ unique taste receptors affect their food preferences.

Even though the idea of your cat munching on earwax might make you cringe, remember that this is just another way they take care of themselves.