Has your cat been experiencing hair loss on or near the ears, and you’re wondering if this could possibly be a sign of cancer?

It’s very important that you regularly check your kitty’s ears.

Can cancer cause a cat to lose hair on the ears?

“Rarely,” says Dr. Jules Benson, BVSc, chief veterinary officer with NationwideDVM, a pet insurer company.

“Hair loss on a cat’s ears can occur for a number of other reasons,” he continues.

Non-cancerous and more common causes of hair loss on a cat’s ears include:

– Parasites: Dr. Benson says that ear mites are very common, especially in young cats.

– Fungal infection: This includes ringworm, which isn’t actually a worm, but a fungus, and the ears are a common site for an outbreak.

– Over-grooming: Cats love to groom themselves. When their ears are infected with a fungus or parasite, this causes irritation, and the cat will then be inclined to paw at and scratch their ears, rubbing off the hair, says Dr. Benson.

– Skin infection: This can be a primary disease. However, a skin infection can also be a secondary condition to something such as an allergy.

– Autoimmune disease: Dr. Benson says that eosinophilic granuloma complex or vasculitis can result in not only hair loss on a cat’s ears, but crusting lesions along the ears.

“On a side note, it should be realized that many cats, especially oriental or exotic cats, can have an area in front of the ear which looks almost bald  –  this is called peri-auricular alopecia, and it is entirely normal for this to develop in these adult cats,” explains Dr. Benson.

Though cancer as a cause of hair loss in a cat’s ears is rare, it can happen with some types of cancer, says Dr. Benson.

However, when this is the case, it is also “more likely that ulceration or skin growths would also be more prominent,” he says.

Keep in mind, diagnosing and treating cancer can be a long, difficult and expensive process, which is why many veterinarians recommend pet insurance that covers cancers as a standard, says Dr. Benson.

He explains that pet insurance must be in effect before your pet begins displaying any clinical signs or symptoms, in order for the coverage to be available.

Thus, it’s wise to begin an insurance policy while your cat is healthy.

Dr. Benson is regularly consulted by many media outlets including ABC, NBC, FOX, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times to provide pet health advice to pet parents nationwide. pupp
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.