Basic Cat Ear Care

Maintaining basic cat ear care is an important part of cat health and hygiene. Owners should know how to clean a cat ear, and know what symptoms to look for that may indicate a health issue, as well as the right treatments for cat eat problems.

Differences Between a Healthy and Infected Cat Ear

The inner side of the ear flap and inner ear canal should be a healthy light pink color. Some light brown ear wax is fine but dark brown, black or red wax, discolored discharge, redness and swelling are signs of a bacteria or yeast infection, allergies, ear mites or clogged ears due to debris and should be addressed by a veterinarian. Your cat may also shake his head and scratch or rub his ears.

To keep your cat's ear healthy and pink owners should start an ear cleaning routine when the cat is 8 weeks old. The cat will become accustomed to getting his ear cleaned once a week and it will be a quick and easy process. Offer your cat or kitten a healthy treat after ear cleaning to make the routine a rewarding experience. Ask your veterinarian to recommend an ear wash to use and how often it can be administered. Excessive ear washing is not healthy for any cat.

How to Clean a Cat Ear

  1. Hold the cat in your lap or place him on a flat surface. Place one arm over his body and hold his head with your hand. It might also help to gently grab the back of the cat's neck instead to keep him still.
  2. With your thumb and forefinger, hold the tip of your cat's ear and gently roll back the ear flap to examine the ear canal and inner ear flap. Look for debris, excess wax, redness, discharge and any odors that could indicate infection, allergies, blocked ears or ear mites.
  3. To apply an ear wash, use one hand to hold the cat's head while you keep the ear open with your thumb. Hold the ear wash in the other hand. This method can also be used to apply ointments, ear drops or other types of medication.
  4. Apply 3 to 5 drops of the ear wash to the inner ear flap. Insert the tip of the bottle only a few millimeters into the ear canal and administer 5 to 10 drops. Do not to force the bottle into the canal or you may damage the ear drum or push debris further into the ear canal.
  5. Massage the base of the cat's ear for 20 to 30 seconds to distribute the wash evenly in the ear canal, which is very long in cats.
  6. Wipe away any discharge or debris on the ear flap with a cotton ball. Q-tips may be used as well but do NOT stick the Q-tip far into the ear canal. Only use a Q-tip in the parts of the cat's ear that you can see.
  7. It is not a problem if your cat shakes his head and large amount of ear wash comes out. Owners should wear clothes they don't mind getting messy and remember to massage the base of the ear so the wash is distributed.