We have a lovely Persian cat which likes to go to our yard and sit outside.

So we bath him almost every month; this time I was the one who bathed him, so I washed him by pouring water on his head with a wet hand on his face. My sister argued with me about why I washed his face, and thinks his ears could become infected, because of what she's heard from veterinarians. So I searched Google using this tag how to bathe cat head ears, and found this site:

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With this instruction:

Keep shampoo out of your cats eyes, nose, mouth, and ears. To minimize the risk of creating an ear infection, put a cotton ball—a small wad of soft material used to stop up a wound or an opening—in each ear. Don't forget to take them out at the end of the bath. The cotton may also reduce the noise and make your job easier.

So I would like to know if putting a cotton ball into his ears would be enough to prevent infection and if this can be done for a Persian cat?

Also, is there any work I need to do as I think he automatically grabs his ear auricles when water is poured on his head?

Also is it correct that I should not wash his head, and wash only his body to his neck?

  • 3
    Cats are generally very good at keeping themselves clean. Can I ask why you are bathing him at all?
    – Allison C
    Dec 31, 2019 at 14:19
  • Consider using a sponge or facecloth. Lately I decided to us some Sebacil my vet gave me for my horse on my cat since he tends to bring parasites with him a lot (and I do get itchy skin then...). The sponge allowed me to get to every spot without needing to fear sebacil water getting in eyes or ears or nose.
    – kaiya
    Mar 8, 2020 at 22:27

1 Answer 1


Not sure if the breed of the cat makes a difference when it comes to water in ears, but I could be wrong.

I’ve heard many times the same thing your sister told you. I think they must have a hard time getting water out of their inner ear canals which could lead to infections and illness. We just have always typically avoided getting water in our cats ears just as a precaution. If your cat does have water in his ears, just watch and see how he does. It could be fine, but if you notice he seems bothered consider taking him to the vet to see if anything is wrong.

We use q-tips to get gross ear wax and other like things out of our cat’s ears. My mom has used a damp cotton ball to clean the tips of her cat’s ears. I would just be extremely careful to not get into the canals of the ear!

So in general, for bathing we like to wash our cat in the sink half full. We focus on his body and avoid getting his head wet. If there were water to get in his ears, we would leave it be and monitor it. I wouldn’t personally put cotton balls in his ears while washing because I feel like that would just make the bathing experience so much worse and more chaotic (another discomfort to make him thrash more). Then after the bath if there is some dirt or earwax you want to clean, delicately go in with a tissue, cotton ball, q-tip, etc to clean. Again, I would avoid the canals. Also, I wouldn’t let a cotton ball or something like that sit/stay in their ear for a long period of time (to soak up water or something). I think it would be a major discomfort and may even encourage an infection due to irritation, standing water, germs, etc.

Hopefully this helps!

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