Cat ears may need cleaning due to ear mites or bacterial or fungal infections.
Your vet may also advise you to clean Kitty's ears regularly if he's prone to cat ear problems, or if he's got a tendency to accumulate a lot of wax in his ears (such as the Scottish Fold cat, for example.)
So, how do you go about this task and remain on speaking terms with Kitty? This page gives you tips and advice on the best way to clean his ears. There's also a video which shows a vet correctly cleaning a cat's ears.
Tips For Successfully Cleaning Cat Ears
1) Get prepared!
You'll need a table, the ear cleaning fluid and cotton wool. The ear cleaning fluid can be messy and may go far and wide when Kitty shakes his head, so make sure any expensive clothes, furniture etc. are protected.
2) Put Kitty on the table and hold him from behind
Holding Kitty from behind has 2 advantages. Firstly, he feels less threatened because you're not looming up at him from the front complete with that big nasty weapon you're trying to stick in his ear. And secondly, if you hold him so his back is touching your stomach, if he steps back when the ear cleaner goes in, he's got nowhere to go.
3) Lift his ear up so it's straight and gently insert the dropper
Insert the dropper as far down as you can without poking Kitty's ear. Most droppers are soft, so if you do poke him by accident he should be fine, but try to avoid doing this if possible.
Dispense the cleaning fluid into his ear - not too fast.
4) Rub his ear to get the fluid in as deep as possible
You should rub his ear right at the top of his cheek, to the side of his eyes. You know you're doing it right if you can hear the fluid swishing round inside. The video below clearly shows you how to do this.
5) Remove your hand from his ear
At this point, Kitty will shake his head, and there's a good chance of ear cleaner spraying all over the place - hence my earlier advice to protect clothes and furniture before starting this job.
6) Clean his ear out with cotton wool
Take a reasonably sized piece of cotton wool (big enough that there's no risk of it getting stuck) and gently wipe kitty's ear. You don't need to dig right down - you want to leave some of the fluid deep in his ear to dissolve wax, kill mites etc. Repeat a couple of times with fresh pieces of cotton wool if necessary.
I wouldn't recommend using cotton buds for this, as if they are poked down too far they could damage Kitty's ears.
Cleaning cat ears is usually relatively straightforward. The main thing to remember is to be gentle, to avoid damaging the inner ear.