How To Clean a Cat’s Ears Properly

Every cat wants to be independent. They can control how much they eat, can open doors, and even groom themselves on a regular basis.

However, even the most attentive feline occasionally needs their pet parent to give them a safe, thorough cleaning of their ears. While vets are trained to do a great at job at this, cat ear cleaning is something you can easily do if yourself when properly shown how.

Why Should You Clean your Cat's Ears

Cats are constantly licking their fur, paws, and pretty much anywhere they can easily reach. But what about their ears? 

Luckily, cat ears come with a built in mechanism that pushes unwanted particles out of the ear. However, this mechanism doesn't work all the time; sometimes your cat will need help with this cleaning.

Being an independent entity, cats love to explore anything that sparks their curiosity. This can cause them to venture into places such as the backyard where large, tough particles can get into their ear canals.

Certain particles are far too stubborn to be removed by your cats built in removal system. This is when it is a good time to clean your cats ears. 

The anatomy of most cats ears makes them fairly easy to clean. The are short, and give a nice view of inside regions. Some breeds of cats have an excess amount of hair in the ear canals which can making cleaning difficult. If this is the case, leave the ear cleaning up to a local groomer or veterinarian.

Preparing Your Cat to be Cleaned

It may not be a surprise to you that certain cats don't like having their ears cleaned. The majority of cats become very anxious as you get close to their ears with a "foreign" object. Cats who have never experienced the feeling of their ears being cleaned may become squirmy, and begin to dig their claws into the nearest surface. This is why precautions should be made to make your cat feel as calm and comfortable as possible.

Before cleaning your cats ears, have all necessary materials ready and in reach. You want to process to take as little time as possible. 

Designate an enclosed, secure area where you will clean your cat's ears. This will help prevent your cat from running away and hiding. If you have any other pets, keep them in a separate room; the more peaceful the environment the more calm your cat will be.

If your cat is extremely resistive to the process, you may want to have another person hold them while giving them pets and comfort. Wrapping your cat in a blanket can also help constrain and comfort them. 

You are now ready to clean your cat's ears.

3 Steps to Cleaning a Cats Ears

Cleaning a cats ears can be difficult the first time. Luckily, it is a very simple 3 step process. As long as you adhere to this process your cat will clean and happy in no time.

  1. Gently pull back the top of your cat's ear(the pinna), opening up access to the ear canal. Slowly pour a veterinarian approved cat ear cleaning solution into the canal. There are tons of different options for ear cleaners on the market. Make sure the one you choose is specifically made for cats. 
  2. Gently massage the junction between the cats ear and head for 10 seconds. Massaging allows the cleaner to work effectively on the inside of your cats ear. 
  3. Allow your cat to shake its head in order to get rid of the cleaning solution. This can get messy, so be sure to protect your face from incoming fluid. Now it's time to clean out any excess particles. Wrap your finger in gauze, and insert it into the ear canal as far as possible. Quickly give a little twirl wipe, then remove. Don't be afraid of damaging your cats ear, as your finger is not small enough to reach any fragile parts. Repeat this process for the other ear.

You are now done cleaning your cat's ears. How easy was that? When done effectively, this can just take a couple of minutes. Remember, the faster you can clean your cat's ears the less time they have to become irritated and retaliate. This should keep the experience from becoming traumatic.

How Often Should you Clean your Cat's Ears

There is no exact rule that states how often you should be cleaning your cats ears. Your cat may not even need an ear cleaning. We recommend inspecting your cat's ears monthly to check for anything out of the ordinary. If you come across a problem, be sure to contact your vet or do some research. For example, cats that have ear inflammation need to have their ears cleaned on a weekly basis.

Home Remedies for Ear Cleaning in Cats

If you don't want to buy a special ear cleaning solution, you could alternatively use an inexpensive solution made from products in your home. 

Before we get into these three, easily made cleaning solutions. It is important to know some things not to do. For starters, never use cotton buds or Q-tips to clean your felines ears.

The small size of the Q-tip can damage your cat's eardrum. If you are going to use Q-tips, only use them for the visible parts of the ear. Never insert a Q-tip into your cats ear canal. 

  • Water- Using simple house water can help clean your cat's ears. Just make sure it is warm. If the water you use is too cold, it will contract the skin tissues in their ears and startle them. If the water is too hot, it will burn your kitty. 
  • Olive/Coconut Oil- Both of these oils are a better alternative to water. Coconut oil is known to have antimicrobial properties and olive oil is infused with antioxidants. Be sure to remove any excess oil from the ear when done as they tend to attract dirt.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide- Hydrogen peroxide helps neutralize bacteria and particles in your cats ears. You can easily tell the solution is working when it starts to bubble.
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