Improving My Pet's Experience
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Improving My Pet's Experience

When I found out that I would be traveling extensively for work, I realized that I needed to do something about my pets. I was concerned about them being home alone or staying with a neighbor since I needed to provide for them like I normally would. Unfortunately, because I would be in business meetings all day, I knew that I couldn't take them along for the ride. I decided to start searching for pet day care centers, and I was able to find a boarding business that offered top-notch care to pets. This article is all about improving your pet's experience.

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Improving My Pet's Experience

How To Carefully Clean Your Cat's Ears Without Getting Clawed

Rafael Hopkins

Chances are that cleaning your cat's ears is a task you don't undertake very often. Doesn't all that self-grooming they do extend to the ears too? 

It's true that cats do work hard to keep themselves clean. But there are some grooming tasks you can do to keep them healthy and happy, and checking and cleaning the ears is one of those.

Why Clean Your Cat's Ears?

While healthy cats usually don't have much build-up of wax and debris in their ears, there can be some. And leaving that dirt there can lead to more problems, including loss of hearing. 

Checking your cat's ears regularly can help you identify injuries, infection and even the beginnings of cancer early, before it gets expensive and difficult to treat.

Structure of Your Cat's Ears

There are three parts to your cat's ear, and it makes sense to understand a little more about them before you go poking around near and in them. 

  1. Outer ear. This is the outside ear flap and the ear canal -- what you can easily see.
  2. Middle ear. The middle ear houses the eardrum and small bones, called ossicles, that vibrate and transmit those vibrations to the inner ear.
  3. Inner ear. Inside the inner ear is the cochlea, an area rich in nerve endings that picks up vibrations and passes them along to the brain for interpretation. The inner ear is also responsible for a cat's fine sense of balance.

You never want to go further than the outer ear, as you can damage a cat's hearing by pushing or rubbing against the eardrum and ossicles. 

Preparing Your Cat for Ear Cleaning

Not surprisingly, many cats don't actually want you to work around their ears. So you have to plan ahead for the job. 

Have your materials close at hand before you get your cat. You'll want to have an ear cleaning solution -- ask your vet for a recommendation and never use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol-based cleaners -- and cotton balls. You may also prefer to wear gloves to protect your skin from both dirt and your cat's claws.

You'll also need a towel. Wrapping your cat gently in a large bath towel can help you accomplish many grooming and health tasks. You can work up to wrapping by getting your cat accustomed to the towel. Some cats will never be comfortable with the towel or being wrapped, so make it as stress-free as possible by being quick.

The Ear Cleaning Process

Apply the ear cleaning solution to a clean cotton ball. Gently fold the outside of your cat's ear open so you can wipe the ear with the cleaning solution. You want to lift away any earwax you can see and avoid rubbing it into the skin of the ear. Don't go all the way into the cat's ear canal to pick up wax; the wax will work its way out to where you can remove it.

While you clean, look for any signs of injury or a bad odor that can signal an infection. Cat earwax should be a brown color; if you see any green or bright yellow excretion, that could signal an infection. Monitor any bumps you see on the ear. They could be an old injury, but if they change texture or grow, they could be the beginnings of skin cancer.

If you don't feel comfortable caring for your cat's ears, use the services of a cat-specific groomer, such as Town & Country Kennel Inc. And don't forget to take any concerns you have about your cat's ear health to a veterinarian.


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