One great thing about cats, in general, is that they groom themselves. Cats are quite neat and tidy creatures and they take good care of themselves and their hygiene, even though of course, you do have to give them baths. There is, however, one thing that they can’t do themselves.
Understandably, they can find it difficult to clean their ears even though as a part of their grooming, they do clean them. They don’t have fingers to grab and getting inside an ear without fingers is quite challenging, wouldn’t you agree? Therefore, you’ll probably need to give your feline friend a hand and maybe a few cotton buds while you’re at it!
First of all, you need to make sure the ears actually need cleaning, to begin with. Now, more likely than not, your cats won’t really need much cleaning over its nine lives. In fact, I think a lot of owners would probably go through their entire time with their cats without ever cleaning their ears.
So first of all, you need to inspect the outer walls and inside walls of the ears to inspect for any impurities and buildup of debris. It can be a bit challenging to get a decent view of the insides of the ears so it is recommended to hold the ears of the cat out from the inside to get vision internally. Ideally, you’ll also want to do this in a brightly lit room with a good vision of the insides.
After you’ve done all this, you’ll have to determine if it needs cleaning at all. Ideally, you’ll want to see lots of pink and little dirt and earwax and definitely no odors. If this is the case, congratulations! You don’t have to do anything for those ears. However, if you think you see an abnormal build up debris and earwax, it is a sign that your kitty cat isn’t that great at cleaning out those ears and you’ll want to take over from there.
However, if you see anything more, it could be signs of infections or infestations in the ears. Some of these sings include unusual and unpleasant odors coming from the ears, dark red or black coloring of the insides which may be a sign of infections and bleeding or unnatural yellowing, which is often a sign of fungi. Mites can also inhabit the insides of a cat’s ears and therefore, cause an infestation and you will be able to spot them in some instances, in addition to the appearance of rashes and swelling in the ears. If this is the case, things are a bit more serious and you should definitely consider going to a vet before trying to poke inside there yourself.
Okay, so you if the former isn’t the case and it just looks like a more than a natural buildup of debris and dirt, you’ll have to do some cleaning by yourself and that too, making sure that you don’t hurt your pet in the process. Picking the ideal situation is important to make sure this is the case. For example, when your cat is very playful and restless, that probably isn’t the best time to hold it down for some cleaning; it’ll hurt itself in the process and likely, you too! Wait for it to get sleepy or clingy and after it has calmed down, consider giving it a go.
Before you begin, have someone else there too to hold your cat to make sure it isn’t moving during the cleaning process. Typically, you’ll want to get a liquid ear cleaner and put in a few drops in the ear. Follow the instructions on the cleaner to do the process properly but basically, after you put in a few drops, you have to wait for a while to let the liquid flow a bit and move around inside to dissolve all the earwax and impurities inside. With the liquid inside, your cat is going to shake that head around quite a bit in an attempt to get rid of the water and as a result, force the water to flow through the ear automatically!
After a while, you can go in for the clean. Typically, it is recommended to use a thin ball of cotton torn from a pad and make it slightly wet before you decide to dab it into the ears. Rub it around the outer walls of the ears to clean all the impurities from there. Also, be careful during this process; the last thing you want to do is get too deep inside the ear. The ear canal is sensitive and is not meant for contact and this is particularly why a lot of vets will recommend against using cotton buds or Q-tips.
You might want to get in a bit deeper with your cleaning but that definitely isn’t safe and if your cat starts acting strangely after your done cleaning, you ought to consider getting it checked up to make sure you didn’t hurt it by mistake. Told you not to do it, didn’t I?! Now you hurt that poor thing too! On a more serious note though, you really shouldn’t use Q-Tips yourself; let your vet do it if you think a more thorough cleaning is necessary but if you’re doing it yourself, unless you’ve done this before, you’ll definitely want to stick to small bits of cotton.
If you’ve done this all and initial reactions from your cat are normal, congratulations, you’ve just cleaned the ear properly! As a reward to your feline friend for being a good little kitty while you were doing this, give it some encouragement and love; give it a petting and maybe even giving it a kitty treat to reward good behavior. This way, if you have to ever clean the ears again, you’re creating positive reinforcement and it’ll be even more cooperative the next time! Happy cleaning I guess?!