Health and Wellness

Every Cat Parent Should Know: How to Clean Your Cat’s Ears

If your cat is anything like mine, his cat’s ears can pick up the sound of a bag of treats being opened from across the house! Ear care is one of the most overlooked areas of cat health. Here’s how to check your cat’s amazing ears for signs of problems, and how to keep them clean and healthy.

clean cat's ears

Inspect Those Ears

Check your cat’s ears weekly for wax, debris, and signs of infection. Some of the more common problems that cat’s can encounter with their ears include ear mites, bacterial and yeast infections, and allergies. Make inspecting your cat’s ears a part of your regular routine. If you start when your cat is just a kitten, it will become a routine part of life and you’ll find the process much easier!

What to Look For:

Take a peek inside your cat’s ear. If you notice wax, dirt, or other debris in the ears – then it’s time for a cleaning at home. Cleaning those ears periodically will help avoid a painful infection. However, if you notice anything abnormal, such as ear discharge, odor, redness, swelling, or if your cat seems especially sensitive when you touch her ears or if she’s scratching, rubbing or pawing at them, make an appointment with your veterinarian.

How to Clean Cat’s Ears

It’s best to perform your cat’s ear cleaning when he or she is relaxed and in a good mood. An upset or aggravated cat is much more likely to scratch and squirm. Do the cleaning in a quiet area, away from your other pets. It might help you to have someone gently hold your cat, but when it comes to restraining cats – less is more. So, don’t hold your cat too firmly or she might become aggravated and struggle to get away. If you don’t have help or kitty doesn’t want to cooperate, you can try wrapping him in a thick towel, like a burrito.

First, you’ll need a good cat-safe ear cleaner. Look for a cleaner that is quick-drying and approved for use in cats. Epi-Otic is a good example. It is a non-irritating cleanser that will help prevent the buildup of bacteria and yeast.

how to clean your cat's ears

Start by adding a small amount of the cleaner into your cat’s ear. Then massage your cat’s ear at the base for several seconds, to help work the cleaner into your cat’s ear canal. You’ll most likely hear the cleaner squishing around while you massage. This won’t be at all painful for your cat – so if you notice your cat acting like he is in pain, have him examined by your vet.

After you add cleaner and gently massage the ears, allow your cat to shake his or her head to help bring up the softened wax or dirt.

Now, use a cotton ball or gauze pad to gently wipe your cat’s ears clean. Be very careful not to push the cotton ball or gauze deeply into your cat’s ear. This could cause the wax and dirt to become compacted in the ear. Do not use cotton swabs, like Q-tips to clean your cat’s ears – it’s too easy to insert cotton swabs too deep into the ears, which can damage the tissue in your cat’s ear canal and even rupture the eardrum! Cat’s ears are especially sensitive, so always be gentle and use caution when cleaning them.

Finish by praising your clean-eared kitty with lots of love and treats to positively reinforce her good behavior and she’ll be more inclined to cooperate next time you clean her ears.

Do you regularly clean your kitty’s ears? Tell us in a comment below!

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