Do you clean your cats ears?
8 September, 2011
HOW TO CLEAN YOUR CAT’S EARS
My cat, Sammy, had ear mites as a kitten. It was difficult to cure but we did eventually get rid of them. So now I clean his ears once a week. I didn’t realize that I was among the few who did this regularly.
I did some research and found that regular ear care is one of the most overlooked areas of cat health. Many people are actually afraid to clean their cat’s ears because they are afraid of “hurting” their cat in the process. The result is that many cats develop infections that could have been treated quickly and easily if caught earlier. Good routine ear care is very safe and consists of a weekly inspection and, if necessary, a cleaning. Some of the more common problems infecting cat ears include:
- Ear mites
- Bacterial infections
- Yeast infections
- Fungal infections on the ear tips
While most cats actually tolerate routine cleanings very well, below are a few tips that will work on most cats, including the toughest old ones.
- First and foremost, make regular ear cleaning part of your routine. If you inspect and clean your cat’s ears on a weekly basis from the time she is 8 weeks old, it will become a routine part of life and she won’t fight you when you start handling her ears.
- Make it a positive experience. This sounds simple but it’s the step that most people forget. Use treats during and after the cleaning to keep the experience positive.
- Only clean the ears when your cat is in a good mood. At home, do the cleaning when the cat is happy, not after a bath or associated with other dreaded treatments such as nail clipping.
- When cleaning a cat’s ears, get some help if your cat is hard to handle. Cats don’t like to be held down, so try to do it quickly and painlessly.
- Hold the tip of the cat’s ear between your thumb and forefinger and gently roll it up so you can see the inner ear. If the cat tries to scoot away, you can gently grab the loose skin on the back of its neck.
- Look inside the ear for redness or discharge. Light brown wax is O.K., but black, red, or infected-looking colors (e.g. yellow or green pus) can indicate a problem. Gently wipe the inside of the ear with the tip of a q-tip or a moistened Kleenex.
- If the ear contains a lot of wax or debris you should squirt 5-10 drops of an ear cleaner into the ear. You can usually get a recommendation of a good ear cleaner from your Veterinarian or local pet store.
- If the ear seems sensitive or infected or if your cat is shaking its head or scratching at the ear, have her examined by a veterinarian.
When it comes to ear problems, if you follow the above steps, it will be beneficial to you and your cat in the long run.
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