How to Clean Your Cat's Ears

Although cats are generally very clean animals who take care of their own grooming, from time to time, they need a little extra help.

Clean cats ears - Older orange tabby cat resting on bed, scratching his ear, one eye closed.

Keeping your cat’s ears clean will keep your cat healthy and help to prevent any build-up or infections.

One of the areas that cats usually can’t clean thoroughly themselves are their ears. Cats have fine hairs inside their ears designed to keep out dirt and grime, but it’s not a foolproof system. Keeping your cat’s ears clean will keep your cat happy and healthy and help to prevent any build-up or infections. 

Why Might I Have to Clean My Cat’s Ears?

If you notice your cat scratching or pawing at his ears frequently, that’s a good indicator that his ears are uncomfortable. There are many things that could be going on with him, so before trying home remedies, it’s always a good idea to consult with your veterinarian. However, these are a few reasons you may have to clean your cat’s ears:

  • Ear mites. These tiny bugs appear as red or brown dots, sometimes described as being similar to coffee grinds, inside your cat’s ears. If your cat has ear mites, you’ll want to clean the ears with a product designed specifically for ear mites, such as Hartz® UltraGuard® Ear Mite Treatment for Cats.
  • Ear infection. If you notice a foul odor or any bumps, scratches, or lesions, you’ll definitely want to consult with your veterinarian prior to treating your cat’s ears at home. Simply cleaning them will probably not be enough, and your cat may require prescription medication.
  • Wax or debris build-up. This is the most common reason your cat may need his ears cleaned – they’re just dirty!

How Do I Clean My Cat’s Ears?

The best way to clean your cat’s ears is by using a product specifically designed for cat ears. If you’re wondering what to use to clean your cat’s ears, check out the Hartz® Ear Cleaner™ for Dogs & Cats. This product is a gentle, soothing ear cleaner with aloe and lanolin that work to remove harmful wax build-up and debris. It works to help reduce itching, scratching, and head-shaking in your kitty caused by wax or debris build-up.

Clean cats ears - Woman cleaning gray tabby cat's ear with cotton round.

The best way to clean your cat’s ears is by using a product specifically designed for cat ears.

  • Once you have your product, get your kitty in a comfortable position. If you think your cat may not appreciate having his ears cleaned, wrapping him in a towel or asking a partner for help holding him can go a long way. It can also help if you catch your cat when he’s feeling sleepy!
  • Gently pull back his ear flap and place a few drops of ear cleaner inside.
  • Then, massage his ear and work the cleaner around so that the debris and dirt inside begins to loosen up.
  • After you’ve done this, place a few more drops of cleaner on a cotton ball and wipe out the loose debris.

Your cat will probably shake his head throughout the process, and that’s normal! Be sure that you are not placing your finger or the cotton ball inside your cat’s actual ear canal, as this can work to just push the dirt and wax deeper inside your cat’s ears, potentially causing infection. Q-Tips are not recommended!

If you’re looking for tips on how to clean a cat’s ears naturally, there are some home remedies which may be successful for you. Remember to always ask your veterinarian before trying any home remedies.

Hartz® UltraGuard® Ear Mite Treatment for Cats
Hartz® Ear Cleaner™ for Dogs & Cats