Why do cats like earwax?

This post contains affiliate links. See the affiliate disclaimer here.


Cats are fascinating creatures with a wide range of behaviors and preferences. One of the more curious behaviors that some cats exhibit is a fascination with earwax. While not all cats display this behavior, those that do can leave their owners puzzled and concerned. Understanding why cats like earwax can provide insight into their sense of smell, preferences, and possible evolutionary origins. Additionally, knowing how to manage this behavior can ensure the health and safety of your feline companion.

The Sense of Smell in Cats

Cats have a highly developed sense of smell that plays a crucial role in their daily lives. Their noses are equipped with a complex system of olfactory receptors that can detect even the faintest of scents. In fact, a cat’s sense of smell is estimated to be between 10,000 to 100,000 times more sensitive than that of humans. This ability to detect a wide range of scents allows cats to navigate their environment, communicate with other cats, and even detect health issues in their companions. Understanding the importance of a cat’s sense of smell is crucial to understanding why they may be attracted to certain scents, such as earwax.

Why Cats Like Earwax

While not all cats display a fondness for earwax, those that do may be attracted to the scent of the waxy substance. Earwax, also known as cerumen, is a combination of secretions from the sebaceous and ceruminous glands in the ear canal. These secretions combine to create a unique scent that may be appealing to some cats.

In addition to the scent, cats may be drawn to earwax because of their innate curiosity and investigative nature. Cats use their sense of smell to explore and understand their environment, and earwax may simply be another interesting scent to investigate. Additionally, the texture of earwax may provide tactile stimulation for cats as they groom or explore their ears.

It’s also possible that the attraction to earwax has evolutionary origins. In the wild, cats may have been attracted to the scent of other animals’ earwax as a means of detecting their health or reproductive status. While this behavior may not have the same survival benefit for domestic cats, the instinctual attraction to certain scents may persist.

Overall, the attraction to earwax is likely a combination of the scent, texture, and curiosity of cats, as well as potential evolutionary origins.

Other Likes of Cats

Cats are known for their varied likes and dislikes. Some cats may display a fascination with certain scents, such as catnip or valerian root, while others may prefer certain types of food or toys. Understanding a cat’s preferences can be important in providing for their overall health and well-being.

In addition to their attraction to earwax, some cats may display a fondness for grooming their owners. This behavior is thought to be a form of bonding and affection, as well as a way for cats to mark their owners with their scent.

Cats may also have individual preferences for certain types of play, such as chasing toys, batting at string, or climbing on furniture. Providing a variety of toys and activities can help keep cats mentally and physically stimulated, and prevent boredom and destructive behavior.

Overall, understanding a cat’s likes and dislikes can help owners provide for their individual needs and preferences, and promote a happy and healthy relationship between cat and owner.

Dealing with a Cat’s Attraction to Earwax

While a cat’s attraction to earwax may be harmless, it’s important to take steps to prevent the behavior if it becomes excessive or problematic. Here are some tips for dealing with a cat’s attraction to earwax:

  1. Keep ears clean: Regular cleaning of a cat’s ears can help reduce the amount of earwax present and make the behavior less attractive to the cat. However, it’s important to use a gentle ear cleaner specifically designed for cats and to avoid inserting any objects into the ear canal.
  2. Provide alternatives: Offering alternative toys or scents that may be more attractive to the cat can help redirect their attention away from earwax. Experimenting with different types of toys or scents can help identify what the cat is most interested in.
  3. Discourage the behavior: If the cat continues to show an excessive interest in earwax, it’s important to discourage the behavior. This can be done by gently redirecting the cat’s attention or by using deterrents such as unpleasant-tasting sprays.
  4. Seek veterinary advice: In some cases, excessive interest in earwax may be a sign of an underlying health issue, such as an ear infection or parasites. If the behavior continues despite efforts to discourage it, or if the cat shows other signs of illness or discomfort, it’s important to seek veterinary advice.

Overall, understanding the reasons behind a cat’s attraction to earwax can help owners take appropriate steps to manage the behavior and ensure the cat’s overall health and well-being.


In conclusion, a cat’s attraction to earwax is a behavior that can be both fascinating and concerning for cat owners. While the exact reasons behind the behavior are not fully understood, it is believed to be linked to a cat’s keen sense of smell and their attraction to certain scents. While this behavior may be harmless in moderation, it’s important to take steps to prevent it if it becomes excessive or problematic. By keeping ears clean, providing alternatives, discouraging the behavior, and seeking veterinary advice if necessary, cat owners can help ensure the health and happiness of their feline companions.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top