By Veronika Broukal

Ear care for cats

 Foto: Unsplash

Cats' ears not only give them their characteristic appearance, they also provide them with valuable services in perceiving their surroundings. In this article you will learn how to properly care for your cat's ears and when you should see a veterinarian.

How well do cats actually hear?

Our house tigers need their ears every day. Be it the rustling of the food bag, the hissing of conspecifics or the chirping of birds in the garden. In nature, the latter belong to the prey of cats, which is probably why they can also hear very high-pitched sounds, up to 65 thousand hertz. Incidentally, humans can only perceive frequencies up to 20,000 Hertz. After all, we don't need to hear the beeping of a mouse from a great distance. But we can already hear noises in the range of 20 Hertz. Incidentally, cats have excellent spatial perception because, like some other animals, they can move their ears separately from each other.

Do you even need to groom your cat's ears?

Many owners probably don't even consider regularly checking their cat's ears for dirt and other irregularities. Nonetheless, your pet should at least be used to having their ears touched for longer. This will also save him a lot of stress during a veterinary examination. Ideally, you can even examine them in peace, maybe even with a small lamp. Since the edge of the ears of most cats is lined with hair, dirt, injuries and discharges are often not easily recognizable at first glance. It is all the more important to check them at regular intervals. This is particularly recommended for outdoor cats, as they can sustain injuries more quickly from branches or other cats than their peers who live indoors.

The right routine

As previously mentioned, examining your cat's ears should be done regularly. This is the main part of the grooming routine. However, it may be necessary to clean the outer part of the ears for a variety of reasons. In some breeds, such as the Sphynx, the particularly open, hairless ears simply allow more dirt to get inside the auricle. Regular cleaning is essential for such animals to prevent inflammation. But domestic cats can also have more earwax, just like us humans. When it comes to cleaning, you should get the right supplies first. Medical cleaners are available at your vet. Please be careful not to buy any creamy products. These should only be used in the event of illness and under medical supervision, as they can remain in the ear canal if used incorrectly due to their consistency. You need cell swabs or lint-free facial tissues as well. Now put a few drops of the cleaner in your cat's ear, the bottle should never be inserted. Hold the auricle briefly and massage the bottom. You should hear a smacking sound. After that, your cat will probably shake, but that's not a problem. Coarse dirt is often already loosened in this way. Now take the cloth or swab and gently wipe the pinna. Please note:never use more cleaner than necessary and do not use long utensils such as cotton swabs. Although the cat's ear canal is not horizontal, it can potentially cause serious injury.

When should you go to the vet?

First of all, it should be emphasized that the following symptoms are only examples. Every animal reacts differently to diseases! You know your cat and are the best judge of whether it needs medical attention.

However, you should definitely contact your veterinarian if you witness  any of the following:

  • Severe reddening of the auricle and/or the external auditory canal
  • Colorless discharge
  • Purulent discharge
  • Bloody discharge
  • Crusty ear rims
  • Black, coffee grounds-like soiling
  • Excessive scratching
  • Tilting of the head

The motto here is: better safe than sorry. If you are unsure, you can also take advantage of one of numerous telemedicine offers. The veterinarians there can often assess whether your cat needs to see a colleague.

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