Ear Care

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Filed in Cats, Health

Your cat's ears are wide open to the outside, and as such are very susceptible to infection and infestation. If your cat begins shaking its head, scratching its ear, tilting its head from side to side, or exhibits balance and walking problems it is reasonable to suspect an ear problem.

Some other symptoms to look out for are sudden swelling of the earflap, a foul-smelling brown discharge, or tiny white insects (mites) in the ear.

Additionally, some symptoms of ear infections (particularly loss of balance or unsteady gait) can be indicators of more serious problems and should be investigated by your veterinarian.

Treating Your Cat's Ears

Most cats, just like children, will resist taking medicines or sitting still for treatment. If your cat is one of these, you will need to immobilize it prior to treatment.

When working on the head you might find it best to wrap your cat's body in a blanket or towel. When applying ear drops, warm the medicine to your cat's body temperature (or close to it), insert the drops, fold the earflap over and gently massage the ear to evenly distribute the medicine. It is recommended that you do this in the kitchen, bathroom, or garage so that your cat doesn't shake excess medicine or oil all over your carpet or furniture.

Ear Mites

Ear mites are fairly common in cats and easily treated. Effective, easy to use, ear mite remedies are available over the counter. (See the related products below.)

Cleaning Your Cat's Ears

Your cat's ears (just like yours) are subject to dirt and wax buildup and need to be cleaned on a regular basis. Keeping your cat's ears clean will help make them less susceptible to infection and infestation. There are several excellent cleaners available over the counter. (See below.)

Swollen Ear Flap

If your cat's earflap suddenly "balloons" up, it is most likely due to bleeding within the flap and the formation of a hematoma (blood blister). Excessive scratching usually causes this condition, but it can also be the result of a blow or bite from another animal.

If left untreated the blood in the hematoma clots and shrinks into a scar, causing the earflap to crumple and take on a "cauliflower" appearance. Your vet is the person best equipped to handle this condition.

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