Is it Normal for Cats to Have Ear Wax?

Cat Ear Wax: What You Need to Know

Yes, some amount of cat ear wax is normal.

Cat ear wax is produced in the cat’s ear canal by ceruminous glands. Its purpose is to protect ear structures from foreign objects and bacteria. However, if produced in large amounts, cat ear wax can become impacted and result in a cat ear infection.

If you observe your cat scratching his ears more than usual, take him to the vet for a checkup. The vet will examine his ears and may remove any excess wax or debris with a soft rubber bulb syringe.

What Color Should Cat Ear Wax Be?

Cat ear wax should be a light brownish color. It could indicate an infection or other problem if it’s darker than that. Dark brown or black earwax could mean that your cat has a lot of dirt in his ears or has been rolling in something dirty.

White wax in your cat’s ears can signify an infection or other problem, such as a fungal infection. It can also indicate fleas, cat ear mites, or parasites in the ear canal. You should see your veterinarian if you think something might be wrong with your feline ears.

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What Is the Function of Cat Ear Wax?

The role of cat ear wax is to protect the ear. It is made up of dead skin cells, bacteria, and oils from the sebaceous glands located.

Cerumen serves several functions in your cat’s ears:

  • Keeps foreign substances such as dirt, dust, and allergens from entering the ear canal
  • Traps excess ear moisture, keeping the ear dry
  • Prevents dirt and wax from building up in the kitty’s ears
  • Protects against bacteria and insects
  • Repairs cell membranes damaged by infection or trauma

Earwax is a normal and healthy part of your cat’s body. It helps clean the ear canal by trapping dirt and bacteria, so keeping it from building up is important.

Cats with excess earwax may have a buildup of debris that can cause an infection or hearing loss. Your veterinarian can diagnose this ear problem and recommend treatment if necessary.

If your cat has a lot of earwax, it may be hard to tell whether it’s just excess or something more serious. Here are some signs that you should take your pet in for veterinary ear care:

  • The inside of the ear canal is red and inflamed (otitis externa). This condition can cause pain and discomfort for your pet.
  • Excessive head shaking as if trying to get water out of his ears, or he seems unable to hear very well when you talk to him.
  • Your cat has discharge coming out of his ears, has coffee-ground-like wax, or smells bad in that area of his body.

What Does Healthy Cat Ear Wax Look Like?

A healthy cat ear wax is yellow or light brown, and it’s wet. It’s also soft, pliable, and tacky to the touch. However, looking at it under a microscope, you’d see it has a rubbery consistency.

If your cat’s earwax looks light brown, then everything is fine. However, if it seems slimy or stringy, he may have an ear infection.

Should I Clean My Cat’s Ear Wax?

Cat Ear Wax: What You Need to Know

No, cat ear wax is a natural secretion produced by the inner ear. It’s made of skin cells and oils produced by the body to protect the ear canal. Most cats have healthy, normal amounts of ear wax in their ears.

Cats often clean their ears, so they may never need their owner to clean them. However, there are some circumstances where cleaning your cat’s ears might be necessary.

For example, if your cat has an ear disease, infection, or other pet health condition that causes excess earwax production. You should bring your cat to a veterinarian for pet care in these cases.

Also, if you notice that your cat is scratching at his ears or shaking his head excessively after bathing, it could be due to excess wax buildup.

This can usually be solved by using cotton swabs to gently clean the ears or an enzymatic cleaner specifically designed for felines (never use human ear cleaners on cats).

How Do You Get Wax Out of a Cat’s Ear?

You can use a cotton ball and mineral oil to get cat ear wax out. 

You first need to put your cat in a safe place where she cannot scratch or bite you. This might sound difficult, but if you have a kitten or a young cat, it should be easy to distract her with food or a toy.

Once the cat is in a safe location, hold her firmly around her neck and lower jaw with one hand while gently pulling down on each ear flap (pinna). Lift the ear flap up and away from the base of the ear so you can see into the ear canal (usually where the wax will be).

If you don’t see any wax at first glance, gently rub your finger along the outside edge of her ear canal until you find some. Be careful not to push too deep into the ear canal — only go as far as you can comfortably reach without forcing your fingers inside. Do not use q-tips (cotton tip applicators) to prevent puncturing the ear drum.

Once you have found some wax, remove it with your fingers and place it onto a paper towel or tissue before rubbing mineral oil over both ears until they are clean from top to bottom (about 10 minutes total).

After applying mineral oil to your cat’s ears, wait 20 minutes before removing it with a tissue. Ensure you remove all traces of the oil because excess mineral oil can cause irritation and infection in some cats. Once you are finished cleaning your cat’s ears, wipe them down with an alcohol-free ear cleaner to remove any remaining mineral oil residue and prevent dryness from setting in.

One effective and less stressful way to clean your cat’s ears is to use VetWELL Ear Cleaner. It is a natural and gentle ear cleaning solution for cat and dog ears. The soothing lotion cleans the ears of debris and wax while also killing germs that cause infection. VetWELL Ear Cleaner is safe to use regularly, and it’s effective against yeast infections as well. The easy-to-use applicator tip makes applying the ear cleaner a breeze.