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Old 08/19/12, 05:46 PM
NickieL's Avatar  
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Lake Station
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Best way to clean a cat's ears?

I noticed the kitten has some icky black gunk in one of his ears, what can I use to clean that out?

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Old 08/19/12, 05:58 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2005
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First off, is it cakey? If you take a bit of it and get it wet, does it turn red? If its caked up, dried up blood, its probably ear mite droppings and you will want to gently remove them and get some appropriate medicine for them. Does it smell bad and look "gooey"? Then it is probably an infection, either bacterial or yeast and the cat should see a vet.

Otherwise there are several methods. I use a pet ear wash a lot in my grooming shop - I mostly do dogs and use powder to remove hair, then ear wash in the bath to really clean the ears. You can use rubbing alcohol, but its pretty harsh, damages tissue and can sting. You can use Hydrogen Peroxide (I've been known to use that in my ears, it feels funny, but it doesn't hurt). It will also do some damage to living tissue, but less than alchohol. You may want to start with warm olive oil, pour a little in and gently massage the ear from outside. It has the benefit of helping things work out of the ear, being entirely harmless and not causing any discomfort. It won't so much kill infections, but has some small benefit against ear mites, as oils will suffocate them.

If cleaning and caring for its ears doesn't clear up the problem pretty promptly, then I'd recommend a vet. I groomed a cocker once with nasty ears. I cleaned down as far as I could see in the external ear canal and suggested they have a vet look at it. Turned out the poor dog had a bit of fencing wire way down inside it's ear, as well as cheat grass in both of them! I think they had to knock it out to take care of it. Fortunately cats aren't likely to have that sort of problem!

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Old 08/19/12, 06:09 PM
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Thanks! Ok, going to pick up ear cleaning solution from the vet, I'm hoping it's just dirt as he was living outside. But if not, we will take it from there.

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Last edited by NickieL; 08/19/12 at 06:56 PM.
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