We recently had a cat come in with an irritated ear. The cat had been scratching at the ear for a while and it looked scabby and infected. We cleaned the ear to get a better look and discovered a polyp in the ear canal.
A polyp is a benign mass that develops in the middle ear. As they get bigger they can grow down the Eustachian tube, into the back of the throat or up into the ear canal. Here are some photos:
Surgical removal of as much of the polyp as possible will generally improve symptoms. The polyps can recur and sometimes more invasive surgery is necessary if they keep growing back. Most cats will recover well from surgery and can go on to a full and happy life.