Cleaning your cat’s ears should be done on a daily basis. This is the current recommendation of many pet health experts who consider the ears to be especially prone to a variety of problems that regular cleaning should be done. Perhaps a more important question is the kind of cat ear cleaner to use for such a purpose. Don’t worry though since we’ve prepared a list of the best cat ear cleaners to help you provide a more effective management of your kitty’s ears.
Best Cat Ear Cleaners Buying Guide & FAQ
Things to Consider When Buying Cat Ear Cleaners
Choosing the right cat ear cleaner for your pet shouldn’t be really difficult especially if you have been guided properly by your veterinarian who has a very clear understanding of what your kitty needs. However, in instances that you want to buy a cat ear cleaning solution without consulting your vet here are a few factors you have to keep in mind.
While it is true that an ear wash for cats is formulated specifically to cleanse your kitty’s ears, you may also want to consider other purposes as well. For instance, do you need one that has a deodorizing property or perhaps an excellent antimicrobial profile? Is there inflammation in your cat’s ears that need to be addressed or do you only need a formula that cleans the ear canal?
- Effectiveness of active ingredient
Depending on the purpose of the cat ear cleaner you will have to next consider the effectiveness of the active ingredient. Some products have natural formulations. While these generally work they typically require longer time to show positive results. If you need something that works fast, then you’ve got to go for other ingredients. The problem is that these products may be fast-acting and effective, but they can bring a host of side effects, too.
- Safe ingredients
In line with what we mentioned above it is critical to choose a product that contains a safe yet effective ingredient. You’ve got to have both. It should be effective so that your kitty’s ear problems will go away and it should be safe, too so as not to cause additional problems for your kitty. In this regard, products with all-natural ingredients provide the best solution when it comes to safety. They are effective, too, but you’d have to wait a much longer period of time for the effects to manifest.
- Ease of application
Some prefer otic drops while others would rather go with otic wipes. The good thing about otic drops is that you get to saturate areas inside your cat’s ears that may not be reached by using wipes alone. The downside is that you’d have to leave the solution inside the ear for about 10 seconds before you eventually dry it up which can be quite messy. Otic wipes offer less mess with application. The problem is that they may not reach certain areas of the inner surfaces of the external ear.
Benefits of Using Cat Ear Cleaners
Cat ear cleaners provide a host of benefits not only to pets, but also to their respective pet parents.
- Allows for the periodic assessment of the pet’s ears
It’s not every day that you get to assess or examine your cat’s ears to make sure that there are no abnormal growths, swellings, or even discolorations and discharges. Using cat ear cleaners gives you the opportunity to make periodic checks on the status of your cat’s ears.
- Prevents ear infections
One of the risk factors for feline ear infections is the unusual buildup of waxy substances within the auditory canal. When this is allowed to happen, bacteria and yeast organisms can actually colonize these waxy substances and start an infectious process. Cleaning your cat’s ears with an appropriate cleaning solution, preferably one with antiseptic and disinfectant properties can help prevent the incidence of ear infections. The same can be said of ear mites for which cats are notoriously famous for. Frequent cleaning of the ears can help prevent these nasty parasites from causing problems in your kitty’s ears.
- Prevents hearing impairment
Impaired hearing is typically a consequence of ear infections or simply a really dirty ear. Just imagine your ear canal being blocked by a huge mass of hardened waxy substance that sound emanating from the outside simply has no access to the tympanic membrane. When this happens very few sound waves are transmitted to the middle ear which transmits fewer vibrations to the inner ear. It is this reduction of sound amplification that can cause hearing impairment in your pet cat.
- Saves you from costly vet fees
Ear infections in cats typically require treatment with otic antibiotics as well as other medications for associated symptoms. These are not inexpensive medications that you will need to administer to your pet on a daily basis for up to 14 days, depending on the causative organism. The cost doesn’t count your veterinarian’s professional fees as well as expenses related to laboratory and diagnostic work done. Cleaning your cat’s ears regularly so you can prevent infections and hearing loss is actually a lot cheaper than waiting for these problems to occur.
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Causes of Ear Infections in Cats
Ear infections in cats are generally the result of another medical condition, unless your kitty was able to pick up ear mites from another pet or animal. Ear mites are one of the most common causes of feline ear infections as these parasites can be easily transmitted from cat to cat or from cat to another animal and vice versa. The point, however, is that there are many other conditions that may increase the risk of developing feline ear infections. Here are some of them.
- Autoimmune diseases in cats
- Excessive buildup of waxy substances in the auditory canal
- Feline allergies like pollen and food allergies
- Presence of foreign bodies like grass bristles
- Unusually thick hair in the cat’s ear canal
- Improper cleaning of the ears
- Excessive growth of bacteria or yeast or both
- Polyps or tumors within the auditory canal
- Environmental irritants
- Ruptured tympanic membrane
- Diabetes mellitus
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Q: How will I know if my cat has an ear infection?
A: One of the signs that may tell you your cat may have an ear infection is the presence of a yellowish or even blackish discharge from your cat’s ears. The yellow discharge is typically pus that has accumulated for quite some time. Pus is composed of dead microorganisms, cells, tissues, and the immune system cells that attacked these microorganisms. Most vets actually consider pus as a good sign that the pet’s immune system cells are doing their job.
The problem with pus is that it forms over time. If you do manage to see it, it simply means that the infection has been going on for a few days already. As such, you may have to look for other signs that will indicate a possible infection in your cat’s ears. This can include redness or swelling in the pinna or even in the ear canal, although this can only mean an inflammation. If there is an abnormal accumulation of waxy substances right in the ear canal or even near the entrance, then there’s a possibility that your cat has an ear infection.
If your pet has blackish discharges that look more like coffee grounds, this is actually a manifestation of ear mite infection. Strong, offensive odor can also indicate ear infection. Infections in the inner ear can manifest as disorientation, loss of balance or coordination, and even reduced hearing acuity.
Q: How can I help prevent ear infections?
A: Ear infections in cats are quite easy to prevent. Routine checking of the cat’s ears should help you identify anything that might predispose your pet to infections. While it is quite impossible to prevent bacteria, fungi, and viruses from getting inside your cat’s ears especially if they are airborne, you can somehow do something about it by regularly cleaning your pet’s ears.
Frequent and regular cleaning can help you prevent infections by removing particles and debris that may serve as fuel or protection for these microorganisms. Removing these can make the environment in the ear less hospitable to microorganisms.
Regular and frequent cleaning also gives you the chance to spot or identify some of the early signs of a possible infection such as swelling, redness, and even foul odor. If these are noted you can institute measures immediately so that the infection will be instantly arrested.
Q: How should I prepare my cat for an ear cleaning?
A: Timing is critical whenever you’re attempting to clean your cat’s ears. As much as possible it should be relaxed and calm to help facilitate the cleaning and minimize struggling. You should always clean your cat’s ears in a room that is quiet and free from any distractions such as noise and other cats. It is also recommended to close the windows and doors so that there’s no chance for your pet to escape. It is often advisable to have another person to help you hold your cat.
The thing is to always start by giving your kitty a nice soothing massage to help it relax and be well-accustomed to your touch. Sometimes wrapping your kitty in a thick towel so that only its head is sticking out can also help. One thing you should always remember is that not all cats like to have their ears cleaned. So, know your kitty and help it relax before cleaning.
Q: Can I use human ear drops to clean my cat’s ear?
A: Human otic drops have very different formulations from those developed especially for pets. While there are products that can be used on both dogs and cats, under no circumstance should you use ear drops intended for humans on your kitty’s ears. You may think that they have the same ingredients, but the strength of such ingredients is different.
Q: Can I clean my cat’s ears with Q-tips carefully?
A: Regardless of how steely nerves you may have or how controlled you think you can manage the movements of your hand, you should never use Q-tips when cleaning your pet’s ears. Even if you do manage to block out the rest of your world so that you are only focused on using the Q-tips, the same cannot be said of your kitty. One sudden move from your cat’s head might already lead to serious injuries. The Q-tips might puncture and rupture the tympanic membrane leading to hearing loss. Worse, the Q-tips might also damage the inner ear structures creating more problems.
Our Top Pick
Epi-Otic from Virbac narrowly edged the Zymox Ear Cleanser primarily because of its choice of active ingredient. Whereas Zymox features a unique bio-active enzyme formulation, Epi-Otic comes in with a pet-safe concentration of salicylic acid. The presence of salicylic acid helps provide the anti-adhesion properties of Epi-Otic. Its keratolytic action means it increases skin hydration to help dissolve the various substances that somehow stick onto the skin. This makes it a lot easier to remove debris or particles from the cat’s ears. Zymox’s enzymatic formulation is actually geared more towards the prevention and management of microbial growth and proliferation in the ear canal. One can look at it more like an antiseptic and disinfectant than a true-blue ear cleaner. It is for this reason that our top pick for the best cat ear cleaners is Virbac’s Epi-Otic.
Cleaning cats ears is relatively easy if you have the right cleaning tools on hand. With these cat ear cleaning solution products you’re pretty much on your way to keeping your kitty’s ears clean, rejuvenated, and healthy.
- Do I Need to Clean My Cat’s Ears?, Banfield Pet Hospital
- Ear Infections in Cats: Causes, Treatment, and Prevention, PetMD
- How to Clean a Cat’s Ears, PetMD