How to Clean Your Cat’s Ears
Cats are some of the best self-groomers in the animal world. In fact, some cats spend more than half of their day grooming themselves. However, even a cat with a thorough grooming schedule still needs their ears checked every once in a while since they are located in a hard to reach place for cleaning. Dirt and debris in a cat’s ears can lead to infection so it is important to try and check their ears to see if they need cleaning.
While cats are notorious for being great at cleaning themselves, they are also known for being particular and sometimes challenging when it comes to holding still. Having a plan in place for how to clean your cat’s ears can help keep the process simple and easy for both you and your cat. Using these tips, you can clean your cat’s ears effectively and efficiently without causing too much stress.
How Often to Clean Your Cat’s Ears
Remember that cats are excellent groomers and take care of many of their own cleaning needs on a daily basis. However, as a pet owner it is important to help some with cleaning, especially a cat’s ears. Experts advise to be careful to not over clean your cat’s ears as that can lead to infections and dry skin. Ears can be extra sensitive to excess irritation which is why it is important to only clean them when necessary.
As long as there aren’t any health concerns, experts recommend cleaning your cat’s ears about once a month. If you notice wax building up before the next cleaning it is okay to do an extra cleaning to help keep the ears as clean as possible.
Use a Cleaning Solution Designed for Cat’s Ears
One of the things you want to make sure to do when getting ready to clean your cat’s ears is to make sure you have a safe and appropriate cleaning solution. While it may seem like there are some homemade options out there to try, they can be dangerous for your cat.
Many pet owners think hydrogen peroxide can help with pet grooming, but it is not intended for animals. In fact, it can dry out their skin and cause irritations. Finding a safe cleaning solution for your cat’s ears can be done through your local pet store or veterinarian.
Have a Safe and Comforting Space for Cleaning
Cleaning your cat’s ears is likely going to make them uncomfortable so it is important to help provide a calming and soothing environment before you begin cleaning. Make sure your cat has eaten recently so that they won’t be cranky from being hungry.
Have some of your cat’s favorite treats and toys nearby for distraction and entertainment. You can even show them the drops and cotton balls to make it feel more familiar and less scary. Wrapping your cat in a soft towel or blanket can help protect you from getting scratched during the cleaning and help soothe them when they are stressed.
Steps to Take During the Cleaning Process
While it may seem obvious to be gentle during the process of cleaning your cat’s ears, it’s easy to get distracted during the actual cleaning and forget. When you put the cleaning drops in your cat’s ears, make sure not to insert the bottle all the way in the eardrum as this can actually cause more harm than good. Instead, hold the bottle closely above the ear drum and let the drops fall into your cat’s ears.
It may be tempting to use q-tips to help with the cleaning process, but veterinarians advise against this. This is because it can be hard to tell how deep to put the q-tip into the eardrum, and it is easy to perforate an eardrum accidentally. Instead, have things like cotton balls or a washcloth nearby to help.
Once the drops are in the ears, it is important to let them have a chance to soak into the ear. Lightly rub your cat’s ears to help the solution settle. After a few seconds, your cat may want to shake their ears. It is okay to let them do this as it will help the drops disperse evenly. If there is any leftover solution on their ears, wipe it gently with a cotton ball or soft tissue.
Things to Look for When Cleaning Your Cat’s Ears
Pet owners often wonder what health concerns they may need to be aware of when cleaning their pets. When it comes to cat ears, some of the more common concerns are things like infections or ear mites.
Ear mites leave behind debris, so if you notice brown specks in your cat’s ears when cleaning them, it may be worth a visit to the vet just to be safe. However, ear wax can also cause debris so keep that in mind too.
If you notice your cat scratching at their ears excessively, or if they are swollen and red, it is important to have them examined by a veterinarian. Infections in a cat’s ear may cause drainage and discomfort, so getting your pet the right treatment is important for pain management and comfort.
Final Reminders for How to Clean Your Cat’s Ears
Cleaning your cat’s ears is an important part of being a pet owner, but it doesn’t have to be intimidating when you use these tips to help! Remember that preparing a safe space with your cat’s favorite comforts can make a big impact on their sense of calm during the process. Don’t forget to make sure you have the appropriate products that are intended for cat ears only.
Once you have the cleaner in the ear, make sure to massage it in the ear to allow it to soak and then wipe up any excess cleaner. Remember you only need to clean their ears about once a month. Even though it may cause a little discomfort at the time of cleaning, your cat will be grateful that you are doing everything possible to keep them healthy and thriving.
About Best Friends Veterinary Hospital
Our veterinarians and staff warmly welcome dogs, cats, and a variety of exotic pets as patients here at our animal hospital, and we offer a host of services to give your unique family member a lifetime of excellent care.