Why Do Cats Shake Their Heads?

A cat occasionally shaking his head is normal, but when it becomes incessant, it’s indicating a suspicious problem with your cat’s health. Mainly, it’s pointing towards an ear infection. However, there may be a more severe condition, as well. That being said, a wise decision would be seeing vet, getting to the bottom of the problem before you start the treatment as soon as possible.

Also, please don’t ignore the signs because it’s quite distressful for a cat and can later result in worse medical issues and permanent damage. Imagine you have a benign wax build-up in your ears and how irresistible it is for you to clean it up and stop the distress it’s causing; your cat feels the same way when something’s wrong with his ears.

Why do cats shake heads
Why do cats shake heads?

Reasons Why Cats Shake Their Heads Too Much

In this section, we will discuss the different reasons behind your cat’s shaking his head. Please note that only a veterinarian will be able to suggest and begin the right treatment. So, don’t try to treat any conditions at home by yourself.

1. Allergies

Cats, too, suffer from different allergies like dogs. There can be numerous causes of allergies, and your veterinarian can do the right prognosis and the treatment of it. The condition causes irresistible itching around the neck, ears, and head, which makes them shake their head.

The allergies can be caused by contact with some peculiar surfaces, inhalation, food, or insect bites. The vet will initially prescribe medication to ease up itchiness as well as other symptoms and will want to determine the allergen.

If you keep a log of everything your cat does or gets in touch with, it will be easier for a vet to determine the allergen. Your vet will try out a topical flea prevention medication, may want your cat to switch his food to a prescription or hydrolyzed diet. The diet usually is quite strict, and you have to ensure that nothing goes down your cat’s throat except what he is allowed to eat. This is because food trials will determine the food allergen if that’s the case.

Nevertheless, if your cat has a history of allergies, treatment can begin soon.

2. Ear Mites and Different Ear Infections

Ears mites and infections are by far the most common causes of head shaking in felines. When you take your cat to a vet with the complaint of head shaking, he will examine the inside ear with the aid of the otoscope.

The primary goal of examining the ear canal is to identify any possible inflammation and to see if the eardrum (tympanic membrane) is intact. If it’s torn, the medication can get past through the eardrum and can cause toxic effects.

Once it’s done, the vet will then take samples of debris and examine it under the microscope. This whole process is to identify what caused the infection. The discharge may contain mainly two types of bacteria; rod-shaped or cocci or round-shaped, yeast, or ear mites. Ear mites are more common in cats than dogs. Ear mites are common but not normal. You need to seek veterinary help if you think your cat has ear mites.

Ear mites infestation can cause intense itching and head shaking. Depending on the diagnosis after the microscopic examination and eardrum condition, your vet will proceed with the treatment.

3. Insect Bites

Cats are prone to insect bites when they are allowed to spend unmonitored life outdoor or get in touch with a cat who is. They are likely to get bitten by those insects in paws and heads. These insect bites can cause swelling, itching, hives, and inflammation. And the urge to lick the bites make your cat shake their head and excessive pawing.

A vet might treat your cat with antihistamines to reduce inflammation. Ethan, from Catlovesbest, adds, “In rare cases, your cat can also go through an anaphylactic reaction to the bite, and that requires immediate veterinary care.” In a nutshell, you should visit a veterinarian as soon as you realize your cat is bitten and requires medical help.

4. Polyps

Feline inflammatory polyps are another cause of head shaking in cats. They are small growths in the mucus membranes of a cat’s middle or the outer ear that can be removed by surgical methods. Your vet will be able to tell about polyps after visual inspection using an otoscope.

Polyps can also grow through the auditory tube. Hence the vet may examine the throat too. Blood work and urine tests may also be done before surgery.

Aural Hematoma

Aural hematoma, also known as ‘Pillow Ear’ is not a cause of a head shaking. Hematoma is a result of excessive head shaking. A cat’s ear pinna, the ear flap, has blood vessels spread out across the surface. When cats shake their head excessively, one or more blood vessels break, and the blood accumulates inside the pinna giving it a look of a pillow ear.

Hematoma can also occur in dogs as a result of excessive head shaking. Well, the treatment includes surgery. In most cases, a vet will do an incision on the pinna to drain out the fluid accumulated in it. However, there are still chances that the pinna gets filled with blood again. Vets would suture it up the way that the pinna won’t be filled with the blood while it gets healed.

The EndNote

The most common reason for your cat’s head shaking is ear allergies, infections, and ear mites. When you see your cat is incessantly shaking his head, you should visit the vet as soon as possible.

As discussed in this article, if it’s an insect bite and your cat has an anaphylactic reaction, the situation gets critical, and immediate veterinary care is required.

Your vet will be able to diagnose the reason behind the shaking head and will prescribe you the medication or do surgery if required. If you want to share your experience with us or have questions, you can let us know about it in the comment section below.

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