How to clean a cat’s ears? Our cats’ ears are one of their most important sensory organs. As in humans, they are responsible for the sense of balance and hearing. With their small pointed ears, they can perceive frequency ranges up to 65,000 Hertz. That means they hear three times better than us.
Adapted to the pattern of the natural predators that they are, cats perceive high frequencies especially very well. They can hear the moan of a mouse from a distance of several meters. To locate prey, the small ears can be rotated nearly 300 degrees independently of each other.
In addition, the ears are an important aid in communicating with other cats – and the position of the cat’s ears clearly shows us what mood our pet tiger is currently in.
As clean animals, our cats generally take care of their own to ensure that their ears are well cared for. Nevertheless, their health must be checked regularly, because in some cases we may have to take care of our cat’s ears.
Find out here what healthy ears look like, how to recognize irritation and above all how to clean your cat’s ears.
How to clean a cat’s ears? Focus on their health
How many times have you deliberately looked closely at your cat’s ears? Probably not very often yet. It is important to know what your velvet paw’s ears look like under normal conditions.
This examination allows us to quickly perceive the changes and take the right measures, for example a thorough cleaning at home or a visit to the veterinarian.
In a healthy condition, the inside of the cat’s ear should be light pink up to the entrance to the ear canal. Depending on the breed, the ear may be covered with fur over a large area or in places. A small amount of wax or dust in the ear cup or ear canal is perfectly normal and not cause for concern.
Small sores, thickenings, swellings or an unusually high amount of secretions should not be visible, however. You should also not be able to detect an unpleasant odor.
The anatomy of the cat’s ears
In cats, the ears are made up of 3 parts:
- The outer ear, which includes the auricle, the part we can see and the auditory canal.
- The middle ear, which includes the eardrum and the ossicles
- The inner ear, which includes the cochlea for hearing and the vestibular system for balance.
When should I clean the cat’s ears?
A thorough cleaning of the cat’s ears makes sense if you recognize the following signs:
- Excessive earwax buildup: If your cat hasn’t had their ears washed in a long time or has an illness, they are bound to have a large amount of earwax in their ears.
- Dirt in the ear: What mainly affects outdoor cats and must be removed for reasons of hygiene and even safety, such as debris that could get into the ear.
- Plant remains (grass seeds or bones): For the same reasons as dirt.
- Wet ears: If his ears are very wet, it is better to clean it, it may be an abnormal sign, but even in the opposite case, your cat will prefer to have his ears cleaned.
- Irritation and redness of the skin: It will be necessary to clean here to prevent the problem from growing in scale, because there can be an infection for example.
- Pus, excess secretions, etc. All these problems obviously require regular care and perhaps a visit to the veterinarian.
If cats have ear problems, behavioral changes often occur in addition to the visual signs mentioned above. It is particularly often observed that:
- The cat is scratching its ear
- The cat often shakes its head
- The cat tilts its head
- The cat is usually sick
Cats generally show discomfort less clearly than dogs, which is why we must be particularly attentive to reduced personal hygiene, increased concealment and loss of appetite on their part.
How often do cats have ear problems?
Cats with folded ears (for example, Scottish Fold-Eared Cats) and cats with a lot of fur in the ear are often more prone to ear problems. Folded ears make it difficult to ventilate the ear, which accelerates the accumulation and sedimentation of secretions. Secretions can also settle more easily with hairy ears. In either case, the deposited secretion can cause irritation of the auricle.
Cleaning Cat Ears: Step by Step
It is best to accustom your cat from an early age to the fact that you should check their ears regularly. This is important in order to recognize the changes and the need to clean the ears at an early stage or – if necessary – to see the vet.
Cotton swabs should never be used to clean the ears. Due to the shape of the shaft, one is prone to penetrating too deeply into the ear, which in the worst case can injure the ear. There is also the risk of pushing the wax into the ear canal and clogging it.
Lotions are therefore much more suitable for cleaning cat ears, in combination with cotton to collect dirt.
For cleaning, it is best to wait for a quiet moment during which the cat relaxes and lets you pet it. Fold carefully one ear at a time and put the lotion at the entrance of the auditory canal towards the end of the ear then massage to distribute it well.
Then clean with the cotton and repeat these steps several times until the headset is clean. Please proceed with care so as not to injure the feline’s ear and never enter your cat’s ear canal!
Use a new cotton for each ear. If your cat has reddened and/or irritated skin and itchy ears, cotton pads can be used daily until the discomfort is completely gone.
Cleaning a cat’s ears: other tips
Get to know your cat’s behaviors well and watch for signs such as increased ear scratching, head nodding, or other behavioral changes.
Regularly check your cat’s ears for redness, dirt, or unpleasant odors as soon as possible.
Your cat is outside? Check the fur and ears regularly to see if it has plant residues such as bones or grass seeds. Alders in particular quickly adhere to the fur and penetrate the layers of the skin, which can lead to irritation.
Clean your cat’s ears regularly, once or twice a month.
Do not use cotton swabs to clean the cat’s ears, as they can injure or clog the ear canal.
Get your cat used to cleaning their ears from a young kitten. With a reward, such as a treat, your cat will quickly associate cleaning their ears with something positive and quickly get used to it.
At the next check-up, ask your veterinarian to examine the ears as well.
Never use a cotton swab
The cotton swab should not be used on your cat because it could go too far, especially if your cat is moving, and risks perforating or damaging its eardrum, so do not use it on your cat, always prefer the lotions dedicated to the cat.
The case of diseases
If your cat scratches its ears frequently , it’s probably sick, and you’ll need to see a vet if it has excess earwax or signs of disease in its ears. But obviously, cleaning his ears will keep the area under some control and at least not let the problem get worse.
How to Clean a Cat’s Ears: The Final Word
Cleaning the ears is necessary but should be done carefully, using lotion and cotton wool and rewarding your cat so they associate it with a reward and not be aggressive. Always go see the veterinarian if there is an abnormality in the cat’s ear.