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Fifty-two total ear canal ablation (TECA) procedures in 44 cats were reviewed. The indication for surgery was neoplasia in 41 per cent of the cats, 86 per cent of which had ceruminous gland adenocarcinoma. Chronic inflammatory or polypoid disease accounted for 50 per cent of surgical procedures. Postoperative complications included Horner's syndrome (42 per cent) and facial paralysis (56 per cent) and these were permanent in 14 per cent and 28 per cent of cases, respectively, with the rest resolving in the ensuing weeks or months. The higher incidence of Horner's syndrome and facial paralysis in the cat, compared to the dog, was attributed to greater fragility of the feline tympanic plexus and facial nerve. The median survival time of cats with ceruminous gland adenocarcinoma was 50·3 months, and did not differ significantly from that for inflammatory or polypoid disease. A potential prognostic indicator for this tumour was the mitotic index (MI): cases with MI ≤2 survived significantly longer than those with MI ≥3.