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How to Clean My Cat’s Ears

Even though cats are notorious for being self-cleaning machines, sometimes they need an extra paw hand.  Usually your little munchkin will rarely need his ears cleaned by his human, but there comes a time in every cat’s life when they get ear infections, ear mites, or more commonly, wax buildup.  If you notice dirt is piling up in your cat’s ears, then trust your gut – they probably need cleaning!  You will see this more often with kittens rather than with adult cats.  Find out how to clean your cat’s ears below!

Why Clean Your Cat’s Ears

Keeping an eye out on the overall hygiene of your kitten/cat is very important to do.  And a dirty ear can signify several different things for your kitten/cat.

  • Ear wax
  • Ear mites
  • Ear infection

But thankfully there are also several ways you can clean your cat’s ears.  Sometimes it’s as easy as using a solution at home with a cotton ball, but sometimes if the dirt-looking buildup keeps returning every few days, that means a trip to the Vet is most likely necessary at this point.

How to clean my cat's ears

Ear wax

Like humans, cats can have ear wax buildup.  This is completely normal and the amount of buildup will vary from kitten to cat and cat to kitten.  Cat ear wax should never prompt your cat to scratch his ears excessively, shake his head often as if trying to remove water from his ears, or flatten his ears or try and rub them against things.  If you think your cat just has normal wax buildup then follow this simple how-to guide.

Ear Mites

Ear mites are microscopic little parasites that live inside your cat’s ears, feeding off the dead skin debris, cell fluids and blood.  They are highly contagious, so if you have a household with multiple cats/kittens, chances are you will need to treat each one of them.  If you are unsure whether your cat has ear mites then your best option is to go visit your local vet.

How to clean my cat's ears

They will be able to determine whether or not your cat has ear mites and will be able to give you the appropriate treatment.   Otherwise, if you are certain it is ear mites without having to visit the Vet, then sometimes treating at home is just as effective.  There are over the counter droplets on the market, but I prefer tag teaming it with another product such as Advantage Multi for cats, which kills fleas, ticks, intestinal parasites and controls ear mites.  It is the perfect all-in-one solution in our opinion.

If all of this brown buildup is still returning then chances are your cat may have an..

Ear Infection

Ear infections can also cause the waxy brown buildup you see in your cat’s ears.  This will undoubtedly need treatment from the Vet, who will most likely give your cat antibiotics in the form of a pill, in addition to daily ear cleanings with prescribed cat ear droplets.  When in doubt, check it out! (by going to the vets). 🙂 Read more about cat ear infections.

Yeah kitties you heard me, so take care of your ears!

How to Clean Your Cat’s Ears

  • Grab one or two cotton balls
  • Dip/dampen them (not soak) in cat ear cleaning solution
  • Gently hold your cat’s head with the ear flipped back
  • Wipe away the wax buildup by turning the cotton ball several times

Clean the ear until it becomes free of brownish wax buildup, leaving the ear healthy and slightly pink in color.

If the problem really was due to ear wax buildup, then it should take a while to come back.  However, if you notice the brown buildup is back within a couple of days then you might want to consider that it is due to..

Final Thoughts: How to Clean My Cat’s Ears

Cleaning your cat’s ears is a simple way to monitor your overall cat’s health.

Take a peek every week or two to make sure nothing unsightly is building up in there.  And if there is, well, now you know what to do!  T

he important rule of thumb is to always be careful when administering any drops into your cats ears.  Avoid dropping solution directly into the ear as this could cause pain and create imbalance issues for several days.

In this article we have discussed some reasons why cat’s ears become “dirty”. We have also discussed simple yet effective ways to clean cat’s ears. For additional info on how to clean cat’s ears, check out this neat video below by the New Hyde Park Animal Hospital and watch how to properly clean a cat’s ear and apply medication.

Thanks for reading and following Fluffy Kitty! In the meantime, catch up on our latest posts: Best cat nail clippers review and Best pet stain and odor remover reviews


Monday 16th of July 2018

Hi guys ! Love your articles and this one was particularly helpful as I just adopted a kitten from my local shelter and his ears where quite dirty. Thanks a lot, keep on the good work

Brittany, Paul, & Yoda =^^=

Monday 16th of July 2018

hi Marianna :) thanks so much for your comment! have a won-fur-ful time with your newly adopted kitty! xo