Here’s Your Guide On How To Clean Cat Ears

Cats are popular pets at home not only because of their irresistible charm but also because of their low maintenance. Although they can be independent in many things like grooming, the time may come when you need to learn how to clean cat ears.

Learning the steps on how to clean cat ears could be difficult at first. But once you have the right supplies and know the things you need to do, it should be a piece of cake. First, what are the things you need to prepare for cleaning cat ears? 

Things To Prepare For Before Cleaning Cat Ears

Before removing the wax buildup in cat ears, you need to have your supplies ready first. Here are what to use to clean cat ears:

1. Ear cleaning fluid

Consult your vet for a good cleaning solution for cat ears. Remember that using the wrong product may lead to your cat’s imbalanced posture, deafness, and other health problems.

2. Gauze pads

The clean gauze pads will be used to wipe the insides of your cat’s ears. This is also necessary to dry their ears. If you can’t find gauze from your local pharmacies, you can also use tissue or cotton balls. Note that cotton swabs or Q-tips might harm your cat’s eardrums.

3. Towel

You will need a towel to wrap around your cat and to keep their fingers inside. You will also need it to dry them afterward.

4. Treats

The best way to clean cat ears is when your cat is cooperative. Some cats may be more stubborn than others, and offering treats while cleaning their ears can serve as their reward. It can also make the cats build a good association between treats and cleaning their ears. 

Why Do You Need To Clean Cat Ears?

Cleaning cat ears is beneficial for your pet to keep them tidy. Not only that, but it also helps prevent infections that could be coming from their ears. It would be hard for the dirt and other debris to come out inside a cat’s ears without cleaning it. If left uncleaned, this might lead to itchiness and other infections.  

A picture showing cat ears

How to Clean Cat Ears: A Complete Guide

Before cleaning cat ears, you have to make sure your cat is in a comfortable position. Carry your cat gently on your lap, and if your cat is stubborn, wrap a towel around its body. Then, follow these steps:

  1. Gently check your cat’s ear flaps by pulling them up and back. Inspect the ears for bumps, lesions, discharge, foul odor, redness, ear mites, inflammation, built-up wax, or scratches. If you notice any of these signs, call your vet for advice first. If you didn’t notice these danger signs, you’re good to proceed.
  2. Gently hold and pull back your cat’s ear flap. 
  3. While you’re still pulling up the ear flap, squeeze a few drops of the cleaner into your cat’s ear opening. You should fill the ear canal with a cleaner solution. It’s safe and okay if the solution spills out. But remember not to let the bottle touch your cat’s ears to avoid the spread of yeast or bacteria. But if it does happen, wipe the tip of the bottle with alcohol.
  4. Massage the base and outside of the cat ears for 5 to 15 seconds to ensure that the cleaner fluid covers the entire ear. This will allow the solution to remove any dirt or debris in your cat’s ears. When you massage the ear, cover your finger with clean gauze. It’s completely okay if your cat shakes its head to remove excess fluid. 
  5. With another clean and dry gauze, wipe the cat ears to remove the debris and excess cleaning solution. Do not put your finger or any other object into the cat’s ears.
  6. Repeat these steps for your cat’s other ear.
  7. Reward your cat for cleaning well done!

Common Questions About Cat Ears

What’s the difference between dirty cat ears vs ear mites?

A little dirt, or ear wax, is normal and healthy for cats. It helps lubricate the ears and protect them from infection. It is brown in color and does not smell. Because of its color, it is often confused with ear mites. 

Ear mites, on the other hand, are a parasite infecting cats’ ears. It’s a common parasite for cats. These mites will feed on the dirt and wax in cat ears. Therefore, there will be more wax produced in cat ears if it has ear mites. 

The primary difference between the dirty cat ears and ear mites is that normal dirty ears are brown in color, while ear mites are darker in color. In terms of smell, a healthy dirty ear doesn’t have a scent, whereas ear mites will give off a foul odor.

cat scratching her ear

Can you clean cat ears with hydrogen peroxide?

No. Hydrogen peroxide is a harmful substance for cat ears.

When should you take your cat to the vet for ear problems?

Is your cat suffering from smelly cat ears? If you notice a bad smell as well as brown stuff in cat ears, it’s best to consult your vet if you can clean your cat ears at home. The same goes with dirt, wax, or rash on cat ears.

If you notice something wrong with your cat, such as blood when they urinate or if their ears continue to have infections, redness, discharge or ear mites, you should take them immediately to the vet.

What’s a good itchy cat ears home remedy?

It’s perfectly normal for a cat to scratch its ears. However, too much itch could be a sign of ear mites, allergies, ear cysts, or other infections. Therefore, it’s best to consult with your vet for the best advice and remedy.


As cat parents, we all want what’s best for our pets. That is why we should make sure they’re safe and tidy. Cats are among the mammals with the most sensitive ears. Therefore, cleaning their ears can make them feel good, comfortable, and tidy.

At The Lovable Cat, we believe that every cat deserves to be loved and cared about.

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