Ear cleaning is not usually necessary in cats, but depending on cats' grooming habits and environment, the need for ear cleaning may vary and those cats that are prone to wax build-up and/or ear infections, will need routine cleanings to help ward off infections.
You should make sure to regularly check inside of your cats' ears by incorporating ear cleaning into their grooming routine.
In order to make the cleaning process much less distressing for you and your cats, try to clean your cats' ears when they're feeling relaxed - when they're snoozing or after you groom them.
Step-by-step guide for ear cleaning
1. First, ensure all of your supplies are ready.
- Ear cleaner. Speak with your vet before purchasing an ear cleaner.
- Gauze. You can also use cotton balls or cotton makeup rounds to clean, wipe, and dry the inside of your cats' ears. Never use a cotton swab to clean out your cats' ears. It can damage the ear canal and/or ear drum or push debris further into the canal.
- Towel. You can gently wrap your cats in the towel in a "purrito".
- Treats. Offer treats throughout the process to reward your cats and help them associate ear cleaning with positive interactions.
2. Sit in a comfortable position and hold your cats in your lap. Wrapping or swaddling your cats in a towel may help keep them calm.
3. Grasp the tip of the ear flap and gently pull it back to expose the ear canal and to help straighten it out.
4. Gently wipe the inside of the ear using a damp gauze.
5. Examine the ear for redness or discharge.
6. Whilst still holding the ear flap, wipe away debris from the inner part of the ear flap and the upper ear canal.
7. Moisten a gauze with the cleaner and carefully wipe away any wax or dirt. Allow your cats to shake their head to get out any of the excess cleaner.
8. Wrap a dry gauze around your finger and gently wipe the loosened debris out of the ear canal and the inside of the ear to remove the excess cleaner.
9. Repeat the same process with the other ear.
If your cats' ears look red or sore, there is any discharge, or your cats are shaking their head or scratching at their ears excessively, seek veterinary advice. Your cats may have an ear infection or ear mites requiring medication.