cat rolling

Waxy ears in cats - routine care and cleaning

As in humans, it is normal for your cat to produce some ear wax and is not usually a cause for concern. However from time to time, wax can build up in your cat's ears and cause discomfort due to an underlying condition. Knowing what is normal for your cat and how to clean ears appropriately can allow you to identify anything abnormal and receive prompt treatment for your feline friend. Read more about ear cleaning here.

Meet a vet online

✓ Included free as part of many pet insurance policies
✓ Help, treatment and if you need it, a referral to your local vet
✓ Open 24/7, 365 days a year

What should normal ear wax look like?

Normal wax should be pale brown in colour. The ears should not feel overly warm and pale pink. There should be no offensive odour to the ears and they should not be painful.

How do I clean my cat's ears?

  • Approach your cat calmly, applying gentle restraint and do not startle your cat.

  • Gently fold the ear back and add a few drops of ear cleaner into the canal.

  • Massage your cat's ears for 5-10 seconds and allow your cat to shake their head.

  • It is sensible to close your eyes or wear eye protection in case any cleaner is shaken into your eyes.

  • Gently clean the ears using a cotton wool gauze.

  • If your cat is getting stressed out, then it is recommended that you do not attempt the ear cleaning and try again at a later date.


A video explaining how to clean your cat's ears can be seen here.

What products can I use?

There are several products on the market, however it is important to ensure that the appropriate treatment is used as the wrong product can cause too much irritation. Recommended gentle ear cleaners are:

When should I contact my vet?

If you notice any of the following, then it is recommended that your cat is examined by their vet:

  • Shaking their head

  • Rubbing their head against furniture or along the floor

  • Scratching or pawing at the ears

  • Scabs around base of ear near face

  • Reduced hearing

  • Dirty, gunky or crusty ears

  • Smelly ears

  • Red or swollen ears

  • Very warm ears

  • Head tilt

  • Loss of balance

  • Cat cries when their ears are touched


Further reading:


Still worried?

Book a video appointment to have a chat with one of our vets.


More articles about Cat