How to Clean Your Cat’s Ears

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Step 1: Inspect the Outer Ears

Before you can clean your cat’s ears, it’s important to check them first. Although most infections are contained on the outer ear, there’s always a chance for internal infection. Start by examining your cat’s ears. Is there dander or wax inside? Is there any gunk on the ear canal? Check for ear wax and dander, as well as any signs of inflammation, including redness, swelling, heat, odor or discharge.

If you see any of these signs, consult your veterinarian. You may need to get antibiotics in case of infection, or if your cat’s ears are blocked. If there’s no discomfort or redness and the matter seems to be simply buildup of dirt and debris, you can continue with ear cleaning.

Step 2: Prepare All the Cleaning Supplies

Glass, disposable bowls, paper towels, cotton balls, and vinegar are going to make up the bulk of your cleaning supplies, along with the Liquid Benadryl that you will use as the eardrops.

Get a smaller bowl (like a cereal or drinking bowl) for the solution, and a larger bowl for the cotton balls. You can also use paper towels to catch any excess earwax.

Make sure that you are working in a room that has good ventilation, and where your cat can easily see you. While cats are fairly clean and tidy creatures, and stay clean by grooming themselves throughout the day, the ventilation is important, since you’ll need to get inside the ear canal to loosen the gunk inside, and your cat might not really like being hovered over with a bright light and an object coming into the ear canal. The cats are smart, and they’ll learn to like it later once they know it’s needed, but it’s just easier to allow the kitty to be comfortable at first.

Step 3: Have Someone Hold the Cat While You Do the Cleaning

Cats tend to dislike having you mess with their ears, and they’ll paw at your hands, or worse, bite you! That’s why you should have someone hold the cat while you clean its ears. You can usually find someone willing to hold your cat, so don’t be afraid to ask.

Step 4: Gently Clean the Cat’s Ear

Taking care of your cat’s ears involves more than just cleaning them. Before moving on to thoroughly cleaning your cat’s ears, make sure to read the steps above to learn how to locate and hold the cat’s head properly. Doing so allows you to easily clean the outer area of the ear canal and seeing the ear opening clearly is essential.

Just to be clear, the most crucial part of giving your cat a proper ear cleaning is knowing just how clean you should be getting that cat’s ear canal and understanding how delicate the ear canal skin truly is. The risk of infection is high—you don’t want to puncture your cat’s ear drum!

A lot of bad reviews from cat owners who attempt to perform ear cleanings by themselves are due to the fact that they didn’t know exactly how deep to clean the ear canal or how much gunk they should remove from inside the ear canal. Cleaning the ear canals of big cats, like the bobcat, can be quite treacherous.

If your cat’s ear canal is sensitive, use cotton balls to clean their ears or ears natural solution ear cleanser.

Step 5: Provide a Post-Cleaning Treat

If your cat is anything like mine, she will love a treat following the cleaning session. Treats help to reinforce positive behavior.

If you are home for at least an hour after the cleaning session, give her a post-cleaning treat and praise her generously for being so good.

This is a great time to deworm your cat if you haven’t done so in the recent past. There are some great products out there that will deworm your cat so you have no mess and no fuss.