Why Do Cats Like Earwax

Why Do Cats Like Earwax?

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Last Updated on May 20, 2023 by Pauline G. Carter

Cats like earwax because it contains compounds that cats find attractive. The smell and taste of earwax contain fatty acids, dead skin cells, and bacteria that appeal to cats’ senses.

Cats are intriguing creatures known for their peculiar behaviors and habits – one of which is their affinity for earwax. Many cat owners have caught their felines sticking their heads inside their ears, licking the wax off of their ears, or even swatting their human’s head to get a taste of their earwax.

You may wonder why cats like earwax, and the answer lies in their keen sense of smell and taste. Earwax contains fatty acids, dead skin cells, and bacteria that cats find attractive. In this article, we will explore why cats like earwax, whether it’s harmful, and how to prevent it.

Why Do Cats Like Earwax?

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The Strange Fascination With Earwax

Cats are curious creatures and their fascination with earwax is no exception. Have you ever wondered why cats seem to be attracted to your earwax? Let’s delve into the subject and explore some possible reasons for this peculiar behavior.

The Prevalence Of Cats’ Interest In Earwax

Almost every cat owner has observed their feline friend showing a keen interest in earwax. From sniffing to licking, many cats seem to be drawn to this sticky substance. This phenomenon is not restricted to house cats alone. Even big cats such as lions and tigers display an interest in earwax.

Possible Reasons Why Cats Like Earwax

Several theories exist to explain why cats like earwax.

  • Salt content: Earwax contains sodium chloride, which is a type of salt. Cats may be drawn to the salty taste of earwax, which explains their attraction to it.
  • Scent of the owner: Ear wax holds a lot of our personal scent, and our cats closely associate our scent with safety and comfort. To them, smelling our earwax is like being enveloped in our scent — it makes them feel secure and comforted.
  • Grooming behavior: Cats are known for their hygiene, and grooming plays a vital role in their overall well-being. Cats may view their owner’s earwax as a grooming opportunity, and instinctively lick it off from around the ears. This may keep the cat’s teeth clean and their coats well-groomed.
  • Lack of attention: Sometimes, cats may show an interest in earwax when they feel neglected or bored. They might be indulging in this behavior to seek attention from their owners.

While there is no definitive answer as to why cats like earwax, these theories give us some insight into this strange behavior. Regardless of the reason, if you notice your cat showing an interest in your earwax, it may be best to discourage the behavior to prevent ingestion of any harmful substances.

Biological And Evolutionary Reasons

The Anatomy And Physiology Of Cats’ Ears

Cats have an exceptional sense of hearing, which they use to detect prey, communicate with other cats, and identify potential danger. Unlike humans, cats’ ears have 32 muscles which allow them to swivel their ears in various directions, assisting in detecting even the slightest movement.

The ears’ fleshy inside is lined with tiny hairs and wax-producing glands, which trap dust particles, dirt, and insects.

How Cats’ Fascination With Earwax Relates To Their Hunting Instincts

Cats’ fascination with earwax is due to their predatory instinct. Earwax contains fatty acid, which is similar to the scent of their prey’s urine. Since cats use their sense of smell to hunt, they are naturally drawn to the scent of earwax, even if it comes from their fellow felines.

The Role Of Earwax In Cats’ Survival

Earwax also plays a vital role in cats’ survival. It helps keep their ears clean and healthy by trapping dirt, dust, and other particles that can harm their delicate eardrums. Without earwax, cats’ ears would be susceptible to infections. However, excessive earwax can lead to ear problems, so it is essential to monitor and clean cats’ ears periodically to avoid any complications.

Behavioral And Psychological Considerations

Not all cat owners are fond of seeing their furry friends indulge in their bizarre habit of licking earwax. But alas, cats will be cats, and without owning the power to reason, it’s hard to tell why they find earwax to be simply irresistible.

However, as pet owners, it’s our responsibility to understand our furry friend’s natural behaviors and cater to their needs. In this blog post, we aim to explain behavioral and psychological considerations behind the feline’s fascination with earwax. Let’s dive in, shall we?

The Impact Of A Cat’S Environment On Its Earwax Fixation

A cat’s environment plays a significant role in its unnatural attraction to earwax.

  • Cats that grow up in an environment with a lot of insects tend to become excellent hunters; therefore, they are more curious about their surroundings.
  • A feline that has grown up in a household with multiple pets is highly prone to grooming more often than others to maintain hygiene.
  • If you live near a polluted area, your cat may come across a lot of dirt, dust, and other environmental factors that may impact their grooming habits.

Understanding these key points can help pet owners manage their cats’ earwax obsessions better.

The Psychological Satisfaction That Cats Derive From Cleaning Their Ears

Perhaps one of the most significant reasons behind your cat’s attraction to earwax is the satisfaction it derives from cleaning its ears.

  • For a cat, grooming is a calming and soothing experience; it helps them relax and feel a sense of control over their environment.
  • Cats are fastidious groomers and may groom themselves multiple times a day. The grooming process not only cleans their fur but also helps distribute natural oils, keep their skin healthy, and maintain their body temperature.
  • Cats may lick their ears to clean them from wax or other debris that may have accumulated over time. Although to us humans, it may seem odd, cats find pleasure in grooming and ensuring their ears are clean and healthy.

Understanding why a cat does what they do is essential to managing their behaviors. Simply put, an earwax fixation may indicate that something else may be going on.

Understanding How To Manage A Cat’S Obsession With Earwax

If your cat’s earwax fixation is starting to become a pain point, here are some tips to help manage their behavior:

  • First things first, ensure that their ears are clean. Unclean ears may encourage your feline friend to obsess over their earwax more often than usual.
  • Provide your cat with a regular grooming routine, including brushing their coat and trimming their claws.
  • Provide your cat with an active environment that encourages their natural behaviors, such as hunting and exploring. This can help reduce their fixation on earwax and other odd behaviors.
  • Finally, observe your cat’s behavior and schedule regular visits to the vet if you notice any sudden changes. Remember, prevention is always better than cure!

Understanding your cat’s natural behaviors can help you manage their oddity towards earwax better. By providing them with an optimal environment and ensuring their grooming needs are met, you can ensure that your furry friend remains happy and healthy.

Frequently Asked Questions For Why Do Cats Like Earwax?

Why Do Cats Like Earwax?

Cats like earwax because it contains certain fatty acids that are appealing to them.

Is It Safe If My Cat Eats Earwax?

Ingesting small amounts of earwax is not harmful to cats but it is not recommended to let them eat it regularly.

Can Cats Clean Their Own Ears?

Cats are experts in grooming themselves and can use their tongues to clean their ears but sometimes they might need your help.

How To Prevent Cats From Eating Earwax?

Keep your cat’s ears clean and watch them while they groom. You can also distract them with toys or treats.

Should I Be Worried If My Cat Eats Too Much Earwax?

If your cat is compulsively eating earwax, it could be a sign of an underlying health issue and you should talk to your vet.


The phenomenon of cats liking earwax has been a topic of debate for years. While there is no concrete explanation backed by scientific evidence, it is believed that cats are drawn to the fatty acids found in earwax. Although some people may find it grotesque or unpleasant, it is important to remember that it is a natural instinct for cats and does not necessarily indicate poor hygiene or health.

As pet owners, it is our responsibility to ensure our cats’ health and well-being. Regular ear cleaning and veterinary check-ups can help prevent any potential problems. Understanding our furry friend’s behavior and preferences can help strengthen our bond with them and make their lives as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.

About Author (Pauline G. Carter)

Pauline G. Carter

Pauline G. Carter is a well-known pet blogger who has written about the world of pets for several years. She is passionate about pets, from cats and dogs to birds, reptiles, and poultry. Her blog, which is updated regularly, is filled with articles and guides on pet care, nutrition, and training. She also shares her experiences and observations on pet ownership, making her blog relatable and informative for pet lovers. She is a true animal advocate and is dedicated to promoting responsible pet ownership. Let’s Go …

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