Cleaning Your Cats’ Ears- Easy to Do and Important
20 January, 2015
Cleaning Your Cats Ears

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 haven’t, today is the day!  If you see a lot of dirt or a build up of wax, it’s time to clean your cat’s ears.  And, unlike nail clipping, most cats aren’t too averse to that area.

Let’s start with how the outer ear shoud 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.

Cleaning Your Cats Ears


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.

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 verterianrian 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.  Do not attempt to clean the ear canal-probing inside of your cat’s ear can cause trauma or infection and is best done by a veterinary professional.  And, of course, reward your cat with a treat for good behavior!

If the below is occurring, it could be indicative of an inner ear problem:

  • 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
  • Hearing loss

Below are some common ear disorders:

Ear mites: Ear mites are common parasites that are contagious among pets. Telltale signs include excessive itching of the ears and debris that resembles coffee grounds.

Ear infections:  Ear infections are usually caused by bacteria or yeasts. Treatment should be administered promptly as ear infections can cause considerable discomfort. Allergies in cats can be a predisposing factor in developing ear infections (so, of course, call your vet).

Ear Hematoma:  An ear hematoma is a collection of blood and serum between the cartilage and skin of the outer ear. They’re often caused by infection, ear mites, fleas or trapped debris that causes your cat to scratch her ears or shake her head excessively. They can occur in association with frequent head shaking in association with ear infections, ear mites, or allergies.

How to give your kitty ear drops:

If your veterinarian has recommended ear drops or ointment for your cat, he or she will usually give you directions on how many times a day and how to administer them.  Below are some basic tips to help.

  1. If there is debris or excessive wax in the outer ear or visible ear canal gently clean the external ear with a cotton ball or gauze moistened with a veterinary recommended ear cleaning solution (see above instructions).
  1. 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. 
  1. Administer the medication according to the label directions given by your veterinarian. Make sure to finish the entire course for recommended treatment to make sure the infection or illness is resolved entirely.
  1. As always, reward your cat with love and a treat afterward.

If you make sure to check your kitty’s ears on a weekly basis, you will be rewarded with a healthy and happy cat!


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