Cleaning Your Cat’s Ears – What You Need to Know!
20 July, 2017
clean cat ears

Depending on your cat’s grooming habits, you might or might not need to clean your cat’s ears. Many cats are excellent at grooming themselves and require very little ear care. Other cats will need routine cleanings to help ward off infection. Generally, if you notice wax, dirt, or other debris, then it is probably time for a cleaning.

Periodic cleanings and regular at-home checks will allow you to find out about ear issues early, allowing for timelier treatment options.  The good news is that unlike clipping your cat’s nails, most cats aren’t too averse to that area.

How to Clean Your Cat’s Ears

For the best results, begin your ear cleaning with a good general grooming. Excess, dirty, or matted hair should be removed from around the ear canal and the ear flap. Heavy, matted, moist ear flaps, surrounding hair, and excessively hairy ear canals will decrease air flow to the ear canal, making it possible for wax and other debris to build up, potentially leading to infection.

In some cats, excess hair may need to be gently removed from inside the ear canal.  Always be careful when removing the hair to avoid damaging the ear canal and minimize discomfort to your pet.  A professional groomer or your veterinarian can help you remove the hair if needed.

Inner ear exam

You should 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.

Cleaning your cat’s ears is an easy task that takes about 10 minutes:

1. Get your supplies ready: commercial ear cleaner (your vet can give you a recommendation), cotton balls, container for water.

2. Place your kitty on a table, counter or on your lap.

3. Put a drop or two of the liquid into the round opening of the ear canal.

4. Gently massage the base of the ear for at least a minute, to work the liquid around.

Repeat steps 3 and 4 with the other ear.

Leave your cat alone for a few minutes.   Your kitty will do some head shaking, which will dislodge dirt and move it into the outer ear canal.

After about five minutes, use clean cotton balls to wipe away oil and dirt from the ear.  And you’re done.  As always, give your kitty a treat for being a great participant!  As always, give your cat a treat for being so good.

When cleaning your cat’s ears, keep an eye out for signs of infection, such as:

Ear discharge, odor around the ear, excess scratching, pawing or rubbing at the ears, redness in the ear canal, sensitivity or pain around the ears, swelling or masses around the ear area.

By adding inner ear inspections to your weekly routine, you will keep your kitty healthy and happy!

If your cat happens to have ear mites, you should read this:  Ear Mites in Cats

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