Treating Kitten Ear Infections

Kitten ear hygiene is an important part of a healthy cat care routine. Owners should start kitten ear cleaning while the cat is still young so she can become accustomed to having her ears touched and cleaned. By setting up a regular routine owners can prevent ear infections, easily look for symptoms of kitten ear problems and administer medication or treatment quickly and calmly.

Symptoms of Ear Infections

A healthy kitten ear should be light pink in color on the inner ear flap and inside the ear canal. There may be some light brown ear wax present, but any darker ear wax or black debris is a sign of a problem. Redness and inflammation, yellow or dark discharge and odor are also signs of infection. Your kitten will most likely shake her head and paw or scratch at her ears and head due to the discomfort and ear sensitivity caused by the infection.

Treating Ear Infections

If you notice any symptoms of an ear infection take your kitten to the veterinarian. An ear infection left untreated can cause your cat to become deaf so it is important to address the problem early.

Your vet will be able to diagnose the cause of the infection which could include bacteria or yeast infection, ear mites, a tumor in the ear canal or the presence of a foreign body or debris in the ear. Kittens with weak immune systems are more likely to develop ear infections but there may be another underlying cause of poor immunity like diabetes or a virus and your veterinarian can check for these causes as well.

Your vet may prescribe ear drops or antibiotics to treat the infection. To apply ear drops, follow the dosage instructions and continue to use the medication for as long as prescribed, even if the symptoms have stopped. Follow these steps to administer ear drops:

  1. If your kitten needs to be restrained, place her on a flat surface or in your lap. Place your arm across her body and hold her head under the chin with one hand. Use this hand to hold back the kitten's ear flap.
  2. Insert the medication dropper a few millimeters into the ear canal; do not push the dropper into the ear canal or you may damage the ear drum or push debris further into the canal. Apply the correct amount of drops and massage the base of the ear to allow the medication to pass through the canal. Switch to the other ear and repeat.
  3. Wipe any medication, discharge or debris from the inner ear flap with a cotton ball. Comfort your kitten and offer a treat.

Preventing Kitten Ear Problems

The best way to prevent kitten ear problems is by maintaining an ear cleaning routine for your kitten starting when she is 8 weeks old. Ask your vet's office about a safe and efficient ear cleaning solution; apply the solution to a cotton ball or a piece of gauze wrapped around your finger. Wipe the inner ear flap and opening to the canal with the gauze, making sure not to push into the ear canal. Q-tips can be used but it is very important that they only be used on the inner ear flap and not into the canal.