Why Do Cats Like Earwax?

You may have noticed your cat’s weird obsession with ears. It might be cute to find your cat licking your ear quite consistently. However, have you ever wondered what it is about your ears that they love so much? It is not the shape of your ear, for sure.

If you have noticed how persistent your cat is to lick and smell the used q-tips, you should have an idea? So, why do cats like earwax?

It might be weird to understand at first, but they love the smell and taste of earwax.

The plethora of dead cells with a tinge of fatty acids and cholesterol might be just some waste for you, but it is so much more for a cat.

In this article, we are going to address this curious question in great detail.

In the end, you might even end up accepting it to be a very natural behavior from your cat. So, let us understand our little felines a little more through this article.

Why Do Cats Like Earwax?

There are a few reasons why cats are so attracted to earwax. The smell and taste of earwax are two of the primary reasons they tend to lick ear wax. There are other auxiliary reasons as well for this behavior.

Mostly it is a good sign when the cat is trying to taste earwax. However, it can also show a nutrient deficiency in your cat, and you have to be careful in those cases.


Cats have an incredible sense of smell in comparison to other animals. Humans can’t even get close to cats when it comes to the smelling sensation.

It is fairly due to the excess receptors in their nose, which are sharp in determining the smell.

If you want to compare, an average cat will have forty times more receptors than humans. So, it is quite obvious that cats are more reliable in their smell.

Another fascinating fact about cats is that they can smell using their mouth as well. Crazy right? Vomeronasal organs can sense the smell of different pheromones, and it can help a cat detect the presence of other animals in the vicinity.

Above that, cats are more reliable in their sense of smell than taste. Cat’s sense of taste is weaker than humans, and they might possess the same ability to merge smell and taste.

The earwax might not seem to be a very delicious item for you, but cats are fascinated with it.

The smell is their primary driving force here, and the taste of earwax does not matter to them, as they cannot sense it properly. So, you never know, cats probably really love the smell of your ear wax.


Ear wax may look gooey and completely disgusting to us, but it is an integral part of a healthy ear. There are certain functions of ear wax that make them so beneficial to us.

The cat may not understand that, but they surely understand the nutritional value of the waste products in our ears. To understand this, we have to take a look at the composition of ear wax.

Ear wax is essentially a bunch of dead cells with certain products that make it gooey.

So, as you might have guessed, it is an excellent source of protein. You have to remember that a cat’s daily food consumption is essentially protein and certain fatty acids.

Your earwax is exactly that. It might be strange, but earwax is nutritious. Apart from that, earwax also contains 10 of the most necessary phospholipids.

So, cats can sense the nutritional value of this gooey thing in their ears by the smell. However, they should get the nutrients from their food, not from plucking some earwax out of your ears or Q-tips.


We have all seen cats groom themselves all the time. However, have you ever noticed them grooming another cat? If you have more than one cat in your house, it is a very common routine if they are comfortable with each other.

And one of the most common places they groom each other is their ears.

Yes, cats also like to lick and smell another cat’s earwax as well. It serves as a method of bonding and knowing each other. If they can help each other out in the meantime, it is amazing for them.

So, you can also take this theory and use it for humans as well.

We all know cats form a special kind of bond with their favorite people. It is not beyond the realm of possibilities that your cat is grooming you by licking your ears.


As we have said in the previous points, cats can sense the presence of nutrients in earwax.

While it is not their main way of getting nutrients, they can get hungry quite a bit, especially if you are not fulfilling their needs properly. In those cases, cats can focus on whatever they can find.

It is best to ensure that the cat is getting their nutrients from the food alone in these situations.

If you are unsure about the amount of food your cat needs, it is best to consult a veterinarian for a recommendation. They can even give you a feeding chart as per your cat’s requirements.

What To Do If Your Cat Tries To Lick Your Ears?

First, let us understand why it is not a good idea to let your cat reach into your ears. Then we can discuss how you can avoid this situation completely.

You might have heard that a cat’s saliva contains lots of microorganisms that may or may not be harmful to you.

It is true for every living animal, and there is no way around it. So, there is no way of saying how a particular bacteria would react in your ears. We would recommend that you keep your cat away from your ears.

Apart from the chances of infections, cats’ saliva also contains a substantial amount of allergens.

Most people are allergic to cats to some extent. There is no guarantee on how your body would react to such extreme exposure.

You should also know that cats have foul-smelling breath. Even if the health is perfect for cats, they tend to have bad breath. So, you may not want your cat to lick your ears to leave the smell.

So, you should have a good idea now on why you should stop their attempts to lick your ears. Now we can take a look at how you can keep your cat from licking your ears.

Stop Access to Earwax:

The very first thing you should do is not let them smell or eat earwax from any source.

Apart from your ears, your cat can go for used Q-tips in the trash bin. As cats have a very powerful sense of smell, it is not hard to find it.

There is a very easy way of stopping this behavior.

Use closed lid trash bins at your home where the cat can’t dig through. Hence, your cat is safe from used q-tips and many other harmful objects in the trash bin.

Redirect Their Behavior:

When the cat is not getting their paws on the earwax, you have to start actively stopping them from reaching your ears.

There is an extremely easy way to do this. Redirecting their behavior is an essential tool in stopping cats from any bad behavior.

You have to remember that cats do not respond well to scolding or harming.

So, the best way you can redirect them from any bad behavior is through food. It will make the cat act out more.

Whenever a cat is trying to reach your cat, you can offer them other sources of food.

However, make sure that you do not support this behavior. So, do not give treats after your cat is successful in its attempt. You can also redirect this behavior towards toys as cats cannot get enough of them.


Earwax is one of those weird cat obsessions that we cannot wrap our heads around.

Accepting cats to be different is the best way you can accept this kind of behavior. However, it is best to redirect this behavior, as it can cause potential problems to you and your cats.

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