Does Your Cat Have An Ear Infection?
15 February, 2017

Our cats are amazing self-groomers and tend to keep themselves clean on their own.  However, they can’t reach their inner ears and it’s up to us, their pet parents, to monitor and help them.  Have you looked inside your cat’s ears lately?  If you see a lot of dirt or a build-up of wax, it’s time to clean your cat’s ears to help ward off an ear infection.

The first thing you need to know is how your cat’s ears should look

A healthy kitty’s outer ear has a layer of hair on its outer surface with no bald spots, and its inner surface is clean and light pink. If you see any discharge, redness or swelling, your cat’s ears should be checked by your veterinarian as he or she might have an ear infection.

You can do an inner ear exam to make sure your pets’ ears are clean

Bring your kitty cat into a quiet room where there are no other pets. Gently fold back each outer ear and look down into the canal. Healthy outer ears will be pale pink in color, carry no debris or odor, and will have minimal or no visible earwax. If you find that your cat’s ears appear to have excessive amounts of wax, have dark colored debris, or you detect an odor, your cat should be examined by your veterinarian.

How can you tell if your cat has an ear infection?

As always,  you will be the first line of defense in detecting anything abnormal about your cat’s behavior or physical health.

Keep an eye out for signs of infection such as:

  • Persistent scratching and pawing of the ear or surrounding area
  • Sensitivity to touch around the ears
  • Head tilt
  • Frequent shaking of the head
  • Loss of balance and disorientation
  • Redness or swelling of the outer ear or ear canal
  • Unpleasant odor
  • Black or brown wax

How you can help prevent ear infections in your cat

Periodic cleanings, especially when you notice excess buildup in your cat’s ears, are a great way to help your cat avoid a painful infection or disease. For normal ears, choose a mild ear cleaner specifically designed for use on pets. It’s generally best to avoid vinegar, alcohol, and hydrogen peroxide, which can irritate the skin of some cats and be painful to an already-inflamed ear canal.

How to clean your kitty’s ears

Place a little bit of liquid ear cleaner onto a clean cotton ball or piece of gauze. If you are unsure of what to use, ask your veterinarian for a recommendation.  Next, fold your cat’s ear back gently and wipe away any debris or earwax that you see on the inside of the outer ear. Lift away the dirt and wax rather than rubbing it into the ear.  Don’t clean the ear canal-as probing inside of your cat’s ear can cause trauma or infection and is best done your veterinarian.

If there is debris or excessive wax in the outer ear or visible ear canal gently clean the external ear with a gauze moistened with a veterinary recommended ear cleaning solution (see above instructions).

Gently pull your kitty’s ear flap back, squeeze out the correct amount of solution or ointment into the outermost earl canal.  Then you can gently massage the base of your kitty’s ear(s) to help work the medication deeper into the canal.  Your cat will shake his head and the drops should dissolve.

As always, if you see anything alarming, make sure to see your veterinarian immediately.

If you make sure to check your kitty’s ears regularly and only clean when necessary, you will be rewarded with a healthy and happy cat!

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