Applying Ear Drops to Cats

By Ernest Ward, DVM

Medications, Treatment

November 19, 2008

Topical ear medications are often necessary to treat inflammatory or infectious ear conditions properly. Some cats will tolerate the administration of liquids or ointments in their ears while others may become fractious. Remember that your cat's ears may be painful and that even a gentle and passive cat may respond by struggling, biting or scratching. Until the medication begins to control the problem and ease the discomfort, you may need to wrap your cat securely in a towel or blanket in order to apply the medication.

"Your cat's ears may be painful and that even a gentle and passive cat may respond by struggling, biting or scratching."

Make sure you have carefully read the label and understand the prescription instructions, including the amount of medication you should apply, and then follow the step-by-step procedure below:

  • If the medication is refrigerated, you may be able to warm it up by placing the container in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes. Be sure to ask your veterinarian if this is acceptable before warming any medication. DO NOT MICROWAVE IT.
  • Hold the cat securely in your lap. It may be advisable to restrain the cat by wrapping it in a blanket or towel with only its head exposed. The first few times, it may be helpful to have someone else hold the wrapped cat while you apply the drops.
  • administering_ear_drops_to_your_catDraw up the liquid into the dropper, if necessary. Hold the applicator or bottle between the thumb and forefinger of your dominant hand.
  • Use the last two fingers of the hand holding the dropper or bottle to hold the tip of the ear.
  • Place your remaining hand under the cat's jaw to support the head.
  • Apply the prescribed dose of medication into the ear canal.
  • Gently massage the base of the ear in a circular motion. Be cautious and gentle. The cat may not allow you to do this. You should hear a "squishing" sound as you massage the medication deep into the ear canal.
  • Release the ear and let your cat shake its head. If the medication contains a wax solvent, it will dissolve the debris, which your pet will shake out of the ear. You may gently wipe out any accumulated debris from the ear flap with a tissue or ball of cotton.

REMEMBER THAT THE EAR MAY BE VERY PAINFUL AND THAT THE CAT MAY RESPOND BY SCRATCHING OR BITING.

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