A few questions about ear cleaning: why, when and by what means to clean. And, of course, a simple and intuitive algorithm
An important hygienic procedure for your Maine Coon is ear cleaning. Why and how to clean the ears of a cat? We tell you what you can do and what you can’t do.
Why clean it?
Cat ears are a unique organ of hearing and balance. The sensitivity of a cat’s ear is several times higher than that of a human. But the more important the organ, the more critical the violation of its functions is for the animal. Therefore, clean and healthy ears are important for a cat not only from an aesthetic point of view, but also determine its health and comfort.
Why are the ears polluted? The fact is that dust constantly gets into them, dead hairs, scales of dying skin accumulate. In response to the ingress of such particles in the ear, a protective substance is produced — sulfur, which prevents dirt from entering the middle ear.
To some extent, a similar function is performed by wool growing in and around the ear, therefore, cats with completely or partially hairless ears (sphinxes, Siamese cats, Devon rex and others) have a more intensive production of sulfur.
If there is too much sulfur, its excess collects in the ear canal, forming a breeding ground for the development of pathogenic microflora and parasites like ticks.
In more advanced cases, traffic jams may form. They irritate the mucous membrane of the middle ear, put pressure on the eardrum and can cause hearing disorders and vestibular apparatus activity, which is manifested by impaired motor function (unsteady gait), nausea, vomiting.
What to use?
To clean your ears, you will need cotton swabs, cotton pads or gauze swabs and a neutral liquid — specialized solutions that can be successfully replaced with boiled water, chamomile decoction or saline solution.
If the cat is healthy and the treatment is carried out for hygienic purposes, alcohol-containing lotions and hydrogen peroxide should not be used, as they can cause dryness of the skin of the ear canal and more intensive production of sulfur.
Do not make rotational movements in the depth of the ear with a cotton swab. This can injure the skin.
How to clean the cat’s ears?
The shape of the cat’s ear allows the owner to process only the visible part of it. And deeper cleaning without visual inspection can lead to injuries. Therefore, to improve the view, the ear is slightly turned out to see the surface being cleaned.
It is not necessary to make rotational movements in the depth of the ear with a cotton swab. This does not give a good result when cleaning and can injure the skin. Movements during the cleaning process should always be directed outward, cleaning dirt from the ear canal.
When you are not sure about the behavior of the cat, it is better to fix it during the procedure. If the cat breaks out of your hands during processing, then injuries to the auditory canal are possible.
With a large amount of sulfur, you can make life easier for yourself and the cat with this technique:
Drip saline solution heated to 34-39 degrees into the ear canal and gently massage the ear — so the liquid will get into it.
The required number of drops will depend on the age of the kitten, usually from one to three is enough: if the kitten is very small, one drop is enough, an older kitten can drip three drops without harm.
Let the cat reflexively shake its head — at the same time, softened pieces of sulfur are removed.
You will only have to clean the visible parts of the ear with a cotton pad.
The frequency of ear treatment is better determined by the condition of the auricle, but in any case, it is not necessary to achieve sterile cleanliness, because a certain amount of sulfur is necessary for the cat to protect the ear from dirt. As a rule, the need to clean the ears occurs no more than once every 2-3 weeks, and sometimes a month.
If sulfur accumulates in a shorter period of time or the cat shows anxiety, shakes its head, scratches its ears, these are bad signs. Perhaps she is ill and should consult a veterinarian.