How to clean cat ears: Protect your kitty’s hearing and get the gunk out with these five tricks that will change the way you clean your cat’s ears. Check them out!

How to clean cat ears is an extremely common subject in many cat forums.

Like dogs, cats get dirty years, but unlike dogs, the idea of cleaning cat ears can be incredibly daunting.

Cleaning cat ears is actually quite similar to cleaning dog ears. The main difference is the way you hold a cat for their ear cleaning. Let’s take a look at a few tricks that will help make it easier!

Related: Ear Expression: Why Do Cats Put Down Their Ears?

All About How to Clean Cat Ears

First thing’s first. If you are not comfortable with the idea of cleaning your cat’s ears, or if you have a cat who is more than willing to express his displeasure with you through the use of his mouth or nails, DO NOT try to do this at home.

It is far better to put out a few dollars to have your cat’s ears cleaned at the vet than it is to get bitten or scratched. Cat bites are exceptionally nasty and generally require antibiotics. They are nothing to play around with.

If you have an easy-going cat, and you think you can manage it, read on to see how to clean cat ears.

I should note that unlike cleaning a dog’s ears, cleaning a cat’s ears is a two-person job. Cats are liquid, and they can be difficult to hold, especially when they don’t like something. So cleaning a cat’s ears requires one person to hold and one person to clean.

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1- Properly Holding Your Cat

Some people find the proper method of holding a cat for ear cleaning to be “mean”, or they fear that it hurts. It doesn’t. Again, if you aren’t comfortable with the idea, take your cat to the vet.

If you still want to know how to clean cat ears, it starts with proper holding. You’ll need a full sized towel for this. After you have a towel scruff you cat at the back of his neck to help you keep a good grip on him, and drape a towel across his body, being sure to keep the paws covered. As you scruff, lay him down on his side on a table with your forearm firm against his back. This keeps him immobile for the cleaning.

2- Flood the Ear Canal

While you’re holding the cat, have the other person flood the cat’s ear canal with ear cleaner. You should apply ear cleaner, until you see it just come to the top of the ear canal. After that, massage the base of the ear for about 30 seconds to help loosen any dirt and debris in the canal.

3- Bust Out the Q-Tips

After the base of the ear has been massaged, use a Q-tip to clean the ear canal. Unlike people who have a straight shot from their ear to their ear drum, both cats and dogs have a vertical canal and then a 90-degree bend leading into a horizontal canal, so you can’t hurt the cat’s ear drum.

Put the Q-tip as deeply into the canal as possible without forcing it and pull it back out in a slight scooping motion. This pulls out the loosened dirt and debris. Do this until the Q-tip comes out mostly clean. Be careful not to be too vigorous. You don’t want to abrade the ear canal.

4-Finish off with Cotton Balls

After you’ve gotten the ear canal nice and clean, use cotton balls at the opening of the canal to get off any residual gunk and use the moisture from the ear cleaning solution to give the inside of the ears flaps a good but gentle once over.

5- And That’s How to Clean Cat Ears

That’s the whole procedure. Be aware, that this sounds much easier than it is. Even the most well-behaved cat will be extra squirmy for this.

So again, if you are not comfortable with this or if your cat can be free with his teeth and claws, head to the vet.

If you think you and your cat can handle it, however, then just follow the above steps on how to clean cat ears, and your cat will have squeaky clean ears in no time.

Do you regularly clean your cat’s ears? Share your tips and tricks below!


Ben is an animal lover, blogger, and all around geek. He divides his love equally between his family, his animals, and his video games. In his spare time he is attempting to get a blog off the ground. Boy, are they heavy!