My 8-yr. old cat has always had dirty ears, and the vet (any one that I've ever gone to) never mentioned anything. It's not that it's stinky or overly noticeable, but just more wax than I've seen in some cats ears.
My kitties still have dirty ears after getting rid of their ear mites... the vet said that usually the glands inside the ears usually end up being oversensitive after an ear mite infestation... i got an ear cleaning solution from her called Oticalm, which doesn't contain alcohol in it, and is supposed to help clear the rest of the wax in their ears. Perhaps your vet will prescribe something similar for your cats as well
I'm sure they are all fantastic. I've just been so impressed with the people at the Rochester Hills facility. In person or on the phone, they have been very polite and patient with me. When we got Tom, the adoption counselor took her time, asked us several questions, and made certain that the cat we chose was going to be a good fit in our household.
i just adopted my first pair of pets ever... two 5-7 week old rescue kittens. their ears are horrnedously dirty and i pulled out some chunks of dirt. most likely there are ear mites too. dropped some advantage on them both to get rid of the hundreds of fleas on them.
anyhow, i've never been to a vet before. how much does it cost to get their ears cleaned? i bought this solution at petco that was supposed to be used with a qtip... but maybe i should have the vet do his/her thing.
When Pfeffa had an ear mite problem a couple years back, the vet used a q-tip on her in the office to get some of the gunk, but suggested that I use torn up bits of cotton balls (I don't even stick q-tips in my OWN ears) moistened with a little mineral oil. Very cheap and effective.
Disclaimer: If you kitty has build up in her ears, definitely start with a vet check for ear mites. They're very uncomfortable for the cat, and they can damage their ears with all that digging and scratching.
Ospunkyo just said what I was going to post. That's how I clean my cats' ears. The ear mites don't like the oil much. Some older vets use it to get rid of ear mites, but there are much faster ways to do it. Dr. Jean said they cause intense itch, so try to get the medication asap.
Don't use a q- tip, because you might damage the cat's ears. That's for the vet to do.