Cats may be meticulous groomers, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need your help to stay clean and healthy. Cats can be prone to excessive ear wax, ear mites, and fungal, bacterial, and yeast infections in their ears. Infections can cause odor and uncomfortable irritation. That’s where cat ear cleaners come in. These sprays, liquids, wipes, and creams remove wax and buildup while the medicated variety can kill fungus, bacteria, and ear mites before they take hold.
We reviewed dozens of cat ear cleaners, searching for the best solutions and formulas on the market. In our search, we considered ease of application, ingredients, and the kind of treatment the cleaner provides. While there are plenty of options out there, we narrowed it down to five of the best along with a list of cat ear cleaners that might provide the specialized care your cat needs.
Early in our research, we determined the Curaseb Antiseptic Ear Flush to be the only choice as our best overall pick. The more we looked into its competitors, the more obvious it became that its quality, value, and effectiveness make it stand out as the top in its field.
In This Article
The 5 Top-Rated Cat Ear Cleaners
|Best Cat Ear Cleaner Overall||Curaseb Antiseptic Ear Flush||4.6|
|Best Cat Ear Wax Cleaner||Virbac Epi-Otic Advanced Ear Cleaner||4.7|
|Best Budget Cat Ear Cleaner||Nutri-Vet Cat Ear Cleaner||4.5|
|Best Cat Ear Wipes||John Paul Pet Ear and Eye Wipes||4.4|
|Best Natural Ear Cleaner for Cats||Bodhi Dog All Natural Pet Ear Cleaner||4.4|
*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change
Best Cat Ear Cleaner Overall: Curaseb Antiseptic Ear Flush
A host of issues can arise if moisture and debris buildup in your cat’s ears. Curaseb Antiseptic Ear Flush brings prescription-grade anti-fungal and anti-microbial treatment to the table. It may not be in the same doses as a prescription, but it’s effective at cutting through ear wax and killing the critters and infections that can cause problems for your cat.
Some solutions can dry out the ears, making them itchy and irritated. However, Curaseb contains aloe to soothe the skin and relieve pain. In fact, this unique formula can be used on more than just ears. It’s also recommended for skin rashes and acne. This powerful formula that soothes and removes the source of the irritation protects your cat from ear infections as well as infections that may come from the scratching and biting your cats does when trying to relieve ear pain and discomfort.
Curaseb Antiseptic Ear Flush Key Features:
- Contains aloe to soothe skin and prevent drying out
- Prescription-grade anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-yeast ingredients
- For use on the ear or skin
Best Cat Ear Wax Cleaner: Virbac Epi-Otic Advanced Ear Cleaner
Sometimes all you need is something to remove the wax to keep your cat’s ears cleaner or to make way for medication to reach deeper into the ear canal. Virbac’s Epi-Otic Advanced Ear Cleaner gently flushes the ears of wax and debris without drying the skin. Clean ears give little place for bacteria or fungus to take hold, which makes this solution a great option for cats who need regular flushing to prevent infection.
Odors often come as a result of bacteria, ear mites, and other infections, which flushing and removal can fix. However, the Virbac formula also contains anti-odor technology. Once the liquid solution enters the ear canal, a gentle massage at the base of the ear is all you need before it takes full effect.
Virbac Epi-Otic Advanced Ear Cleaner Key Features:
- Alcohol-free formula
- Flushes out wax and debris
- Contains anti-odor technology
Best Budget Cat Ear Cleaner: Nutri-Vet Cat Ear Cleaner
If your cat needs frequent ear flushing, Nutri-Vet Cat Ear Cleaner is an affordable formula that does an excellent job of breaking down ear wax and other buildup. Wax, dirt, and debris naturally find there way into your cat’s ears. This solution contains benzyl alcohol to break down wax and other debris then quickly evaporate. It also works to reduce and limit the growth of harmful bacteria, cutting down on irritation and odor.
While alcohol can dry out the ear, this formula contains aloe vera to counteract and soothe any resulting irritation. It’s easy to use. You put the solution in the ear and gently massage the base of the ear. After you’ve wiped away excess solution, your cat’s shaking of his head will help loosen wax and debris.
Nutri-Vet Cat Ear Cleaner Key Features:
- Contains aloe to counteract the drying effects of benzyl alcohol
- Removes wax, dirt, and debris
- Reduces odor
Best Cat Ear Wipes: John Paul Pet Ear and Eye Pet Wipes
Topical solutions can be messy, but ear wipes like the John Paul Pet Ear and Eye Pet Wipes make cleaning your cat’s ears fast and easy. From the makers of Paul Mitchell, a popular brand for human hair care products, these gentle wipes are made with sodium chloride to remove extra ear wax, dirt, and debris from both the ears and eyes.
Ear wipes, drops, and creams can sometimes dry out the ears, leaving them irritated and uncomfortable. However, the John Paul wipes have aloe to moisturize and soothe the skin as they clean. Wipes like these store easily and are a great addition to your pet first aid kit. Additionally, the company donates a portion of all sales to wildlife organizations.
John Paul Pet Ear and Eye Pet Wipes Key Features:
- Includes forty-vie (45) 7 x 7-inch wipes
- Infused with aloe
- Cleanses with sodium chloride
Best Natural Ear Cleaner for Cats: Bodhi Dog All Natural Pet Ear Cleaner
Many pet owners are looking for ways to cut the number of chemicals in the home. Bodhi Dog All Natural Pet Ear Cleaner stands as one of your best all-natural options. If you want to skip sulfates, parabens, and SLS, this is the formula for you.
This formula includes eucalyptus, which adds a pleasant scent but also brings antimicrobial properties. It flushes through the ears, breaking down wax, dirt, and debris. However, it also takes on fungus, ear mites, and yeast infections. While it works well to keep the ears clean, it has aloe vera to prevent drying or irritating the ears.
Bodhi Dog All Natural Pet Ear Cleaner Key Features:
- Free of sulfates, parabens, and SLS
- Contains eucalyptus as an antiseptic and deodorizer
- Treats ear mites, yeast infections, bacterial infections, and fungal infections
Who Should Buy a Cat Ear Cleaner
Cats take care of most of their own grooming needs, but sometimes that’s not enough. Cat often need help caring for their skin, eye care, and teeth. Along with regular flea treatments, comes general ear care. Some cats are prone to ear infections, and others just can’t seem to keep ear mites away. If your cat is prone to excessive ear wax, ear infections, or ear mites, a cat ear cleaner gives you the power to keep his hears healthy and happy. Ear cleaners keep wax under control and create a healthy ear environment so ear infections and fungus can’t take hold.
Even if your cat doesn’t have frequent ear issues, it’s a good idea to keep an ear cleaner on hand. Topical solutions flush out wax and dirt, reaching deep into the ear, while wipes are a fast easy option for occasional cleaning. Some cats may only need to have their ears cleaned when they develop a problem. However, cats with chronic ear infections will probably need their ears cleaned as part of weekly grooming.
Important Features to Consider
A cat ear cleaner should do several things well, most importantly, clean your cat’s ears. Here’s what to consider when selecting an ear cleaner for your cat:
- Type of cleaner. There are three basic types of cat ear cleaners—liquid, cream, sprays, and wipes. Any of the three types may have medications to treat fungus, yeast, bacteria, or ear mites. Liquid solutions are the most common and penetrate further into the ear canal than the other two types. With most liquid solutions, you put the solution in the ear, gently massage at the ear’s base, and wipe away the excess solution. Once you release the cat, he’ll probably shake his head, which further loosens and removes debris from the ear. Sprays aren’t common, but they’re easy to use. The spray loosens ear wax so it can be wiped away. Ear cleaner creams are generally designed to treat a specific condition like yeast or ear mites. They’re often used after a liquid ear cleaner has removed ear wax and other debris. Ear wipes are less messy than a liquid or cream, but they can only clean as far as you can reach your finger into the ear.
- Medication. Some over the counter cat ear cleaners contain prescription-grade medications to treat ear mites and other types of infective ear problems. However, the concentration of the medication is less than in a prescribed cat ear cleaner. Your cat may not need medication in the ear cleaner, but if he’s prone to infections, medication can help.
- Alcohol content. Alcohol is a common ingredient in cat ear cleaners. It helps break up wax and dirt then quickly dissolves. However, it can dry out the ears, causing irritation. Look for a formula that includes aloe vera or other moisturizing ingredients to counteract the drying effect of any alcohol content.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is cat ear cleaner, and how does it work?
Cat ear cleaner is a solution used to flush out a cat’s ears. It may be a liquid, cream, spray, or a wipe. The solution enters the ear canal, loosening wax, flushing out bacteria and anything else inside the ear canal. They’re used to treat yeast infections, fungus infections, ear mites, and general bacterial infections.
What is the black stuff in my cat’s ears?
Black discharge in the ears is often a sign of ear mites. The black substance is actually a mixture of ear wax, blood, debris, and the ear mites themselves. It eventually resembles coffee grounds in its consistency. Your cat may shake his head or scratch at his ears if ear mites are present. Treatment and then regular ear cleaning can prevent reinfection.
Why do my cat’s ears get so dirty?
Cats naturally have ear wax just like humans, and a small amount of brownish ear wax is normal. However, if it starts to build up, your cat may get an infection from yeast, fungus, or bacteria. They may also get ear mites, which feed off of the wax. Food allergies may also cause excessive ear wax or discharge. Watch your cat for signs of a problem such as scratching, shaking of the head, hearing loss, or tenderness around the ears. If he’s prone to problems, regularly clean his ears with a cat ear cleaner.
Can I use Q-tips to clean my cat’s ears?
Q-tips should not be put into the ear canal. They can actually push wax further into the ear, where it can build and cause more problems. Opt for a cotton ball, which doesn’t pose a threat of going too far into the ear canal.
Other Cat Ear Cleaners We Reviewed
We looked at 20 other cat ear cleaners. These solutions didn’t make our 5 best cat ear cleaners list, but they’re still some excellent ear cleaners worth considering. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included in the listing.
Cat Ear Wax Cleaner
Designed to relieve itching and scratching, this formula takes on wax and debris while eliminating odors.
- Soothes with aloe vera and chamomile
- Contains panthenol with silver
- For both dogs and cats
This medicated formula takes on fungal and bacterial infections.
- For fungus and bacteria
Tea tree oil combines with other gentle ingredients to break up ear wax and flush out debris.
- Soothes with aloe vera
- For both dogs and cats
This formula flushes, cleanses, and acidifies to prevent the buildup of wax and infection-causing organisms.
- Soothing aloe vera gel
- Contains benzyl alcohol and benzoic acid to kill infection
- Sweet pea scented
This medicated formula takes on bacterial and fungal infections.
- Disinfects, targeting bacteria and fungus
- For use on cats and dogs
This solution cleans and deodorizes and contains aloe to avoid irritating the ears.
- Breaks up wax and debris
- Cucumber melon scent
This eucalyptus-based formula provides excellent flushing and cleansing power.
- Soothing aloe vera
- Meant for preventative cleansing
This solution contains a biofilm-reducing complex that targets bacteria, fungus, and yeast infections.
- No precleaning necessary
- Contains hydrocortisone to reduce itching
- For both cats and dogs
This enzymatic solution treats chronic ear infections due to bacteria, yeast, and fungus.
- Disinfects ear canal
- Comes with or without hydrocortisone
- Treats bacterial, yeast, and fungus infections
Cat Ear Wipes
These easy to use wipes remove ear wax and debris, lessening the chances of developing serious ear problems.
- Contains chamomile, aloe vera, mallow licorice, and burdock
- Designed for small ears
These all-natural wipes are also biodegradable, making them safe for your cat and the environment.
- Compact container
- Works to keep down ear wax
These wipes are a quick solution to chronic ear wax.
- Moisturizes with aloe vera
- Eucalyptus for cleaning and deodorizing
- Formulated for daily use
Ear Mite Cleaners for Cats
These drops specifically target the ear mites that create painful buildup in your cat’s ears.
- Contains pyrethrin to kill ear mites
- Soothing aloe vera
- Not for use on kittens under 12 weeks
This inexpensive treatment kills ear mites on contact.
- Aloe vera soothes the skin
- Use cat’s bodyweight for dosage
- May cause an allergic reaction in some animals
This multi-species formula includes disinfectant ingredients to take on mites, fungus, and bacteria.
- Includes EDTA to treat bacteria and fungus
- For use on dogs, puppies, cats, and kittens
This formula works on both dogs and cats. It not only tackles ear mites but ear ticks, too.
- Contains treatment and separate ear cleaner
- Not for use on kittens under 12 weeks old
Natural Ear Cleaners for Cats
A combination of natural oils takes on ear mites and reduces pain and inflammation.
- Cleanses with natural oils like peppermint, cinnamon, clove, and lemongrass
- Contains Dead Sea minerals
This all-natural solution contains organic coconut, olive, and jojoba oils. When you add in the aloe vera, you’ve got a gentle formula that soothes your cat’s ears.
- Free of sulfates, alcohols, and GMOs
- Removes ear wax, dirt, and debris
Sprays aren’t a common form for ear cleaners, but this natural formula’s easy application makes it a great choice for reluctant cats.
- Contains witch hazel and chamomile
- Soothing essential oils
EcoEars skips pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and steroids to naturally and gently clean the ear canal.
- Breaks down wax
- Free of pharmaceuticals, steroids, antibiotics, and chemicals