Cauliflower Ear in Cats: Dr. Simons Shares What to Do

Cauliflower ear in cats

What is cauliflower ear?

Also known as a perichondral hematoma,  cauliflower ear is an irreversible deformity caused by the formation of scar tissue and contraction of the perichondrium which occurs after a separation of the ear cartilage from the underlying connective tissue.

The pinna is the outer part of the ear that acts as a funnel to direct sound further into the ear and is made up of three layers:

  • Cartilage plate: The innermost layer of the pinna provides shape and rigidity. Unlike other tissues, the cartilage cannot heal itself when damaged.
  • Perichondrium: A protective layer of connective tissue that provides the blood supply and nutrients to the cartilage. The underlying cartilage and the overlying skin are both firmly attached to the perichondrium.
  • Skin: The outermost layer of skin that is covered with short hairs on the outside.
Feline Ear Anatomy – Source: Veterian Key

As the cat scratches the ear or shakes the head (head shaking is more common in floppy-eared dogs), the perichondrium separates from the cartilage which creates space. The perichondrium blood vessels rupture and blood pools in the pocket-forming a hematoma. This build-up of blood between the perichondrium and cartilage can interrupt the blood and oxygen supply to the cartilage causing necrosis.

The distortion of the pinna, which becomes hard and cauliflower-shaped (hence the name) is thought to be due to a combination of factors which include myofibroblastic contraction of the maturing granulation tissue, excess cartilaginous tissue (preexisting and newly formed), and the separated perichondrium retracts and acts as a bowstring, gradually folding back the cartilage.

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Vomiting in Kittens: A Veterinarian Explains What to Do

Vomiting kitten

At a glance

Vomiting is a common but potentially serious symptom in kittens that left untreated can lead to dehydration.


  • Parasites
  • Dietary indiscretion
  • Snakebite
  • Poisoning
  • Sudden change in diet
  • Heatstroke
  • Intussusception of the intestines
  • Eating too fast
  • Sudden changes in diet
  • Lactose intolerance from cow’s milk
  • Fading kitten syndrome

Treatment: The goal of treatment is to address the underlying cause and provide supportive care while your kitten recovers.

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Scabs on Cats: Our Vet Explains Top Causes & Treatments

Causes of scabs on cats

About Scabs are dry, crusty lesions or pustules which can be singular or multiple. There are many causes of scabs which include allergies, parasites and immune system disorders. The type of scabs, location, and accompanying symptoms can all give your veterinarian an indication of the possible cause. Untreated, scabs can lead to secondary bacterial infections, … Read more

Why is My Cat Farting A Lot?

Why is my cat farting a lot?

Why is My Cat Farting A Lot? While flatulence (aka farting) is pretty common amongst humans, it can be surprising when we hear this sound from our feline friends. This passage of gas may raise concern. This is because we do not hear farting as often from cats, likely due to their small size and … Read more

You’ve Dewormed Your Cat: A Vet Explains What Happens Next

Dewormed Your Cat

Deworming has become an extremely common practice in veterinary medicine and is pivotal to the health and wellbeing of our pets. Gastrointestinal parasites can be prevalent amongst certain populations of cats including outdoor kitties, kittens from breeding colonies, those from shelters, and any cat not treated routinely with preventatives. Indoor cats may be at risk … Read more