Applying Ear Drops to Cats

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.

Related Tags

cats, ears, applying, apply, dropper, topical, ointments, inflammatory, infectious,

Looking to learn more?

We also offer free, instant access to over 1,500 related articles on your pet's health including preventive medicine, common and not so common diseases, and even informative case studies. We encourage you to read any of these popular articles below or search our extensive pet health library.

Most Popular Articles

About our approach to exceptional pet health care

At VCA Animal Hospitals, our veterinarians take you and your pet's health seriously. With over 600 hospitals and 1,800 fully qualified, dedicated and compassionate veterinarians, we strive to give your pet the very best in medical care. We understand your pet is an extension of you, and appreciate the opportunity to share in providing exceptional pet care and quality of life.

* Free initial health exam for new clients only. Not to be combined with any other offer. Not good toward boarding, grooming, prescription and non-prescription medication, and retail items. Not good toward emergency and/or specialty veterinary services. Coupon good for up to two pets (dogs or cats only) per household. Redeemable only at a general practice VCA Animal Hospital. For pet owners who are aged 18 and older.

If you are a new client, you can get a free first exam* on your first visit.

Free First Exam

Get to know us by visiting one of our neighborhood hospitals.

Locate a Hospital
CLOSE CLOSE