While feeling heat coming from your cat's ears can be perfectly normal, this warmth may also indicate that they are experiencing a medical issue that requires care. Today, our Gallup vets talk about why your cat's ears are hot or warm and when it might be connected to a health concern.
Are my cat's ears supposed to be warm?
While petting your cat you may realize that their ears are warmer than usual, this can lead you to wonder 'My cat's ears are hot, why is this?'.' Well, cats can have warm ears for many different reasons, and some of them are perfectly normal.
Some of the reasons why your cat has hot ears are:
- For no reason at all
- Responding to the weather
- Ear Mites
- Ear Infection
Below, we'll cover each of these six reasons in detail.
1. For No Reason at All
It's important to know that a cat's normal body temperature is slightly higher than a human's. While a normal human's body temperature hovers around 98.6°, a normal temperature for cats is higher, between 101° and 102.5°.
The takeaway here is that a cat's ears should feel just a bit warm. If your cat is acting normal otherwise, then there shouldn't be any need to worry.
2. Responding to the Weather
If you've noticed your cat's ears getting warmer as the temperature rises, that's no coincidence. It's just your cat regulating their body temperature. To help keep them from overheating, blood flow increases to the ears, paws, and nose so they can release excess heat more easily.
However, extreme heat is still very dangerous to cats. Make sure you are keeping your cat cool by brushing them daily, providing them with a shaded spot, and making sure they have plenty of water.
Cats, just like humans, can suffer from allergies. Allergies are one of the most common medical conditions in cats. Allergies can come from seasonal irritants like pollen and grass to insects, and even sometimes food.
Symptoms of allergies usually include sneezing, wheezing, watery eyes, excessive licking, and, you guessed, hot ears. If you suspect your cat may have allergies, you should speak with your vet.
Moving on to some more serious issues, warm ears on a cat can indicate a fever. However, warm ears will not be the only symptom. If your cat is sick, you'll likely notice, or feel, a warm belly too. Some other symptoms can also include:
- Isolating or not wanting to play)
- Change in appetite
If you do suspect your cat has a fever. It's usually a good idea to call your vet. Although you could use a rectal thermometer to test your cat yourself, you would have to go see the vet anyway if your cat does indeed have a fever. So, why not just cut out the middleman?
5. Ear Mites
External parasites like ear mites can be a real pain for your cat. Tiny, highly contagious ear mites live in the ear canals of cats. These parasites reproduce continuously throughout their life.
Ear mites are a common problem among cats and can cause severe itching and discomfort. They feed on the wax and oils in the ear canal, leading to inflammation (hence the warm ears) and potential secondary infections.
Your cat will require a trip to the vet for medication to help get rid of the mites. Without proper treatment, ear mites can spread to other pets in the household and even humans. It is important to consult a veterinarian to accurately diagnose and treat the infestation, as over-the-counter remedies may not be effective.
6. Ear Infection
While ear mites can be a cause of infections, they are not the only source. Other causes of cat ear infections include dirty, overly waxy ears, food allergies, environmental allergies, trauma such as a scratch, or something caught in the ear. In addition to warm ears, you may also notice:
- A loss of balance
- Itching & head shaking
- A foul odor in the ear
- Red, inflamed ears
- Abundant ear wax
- Rubbing ears on the floor or furniture
Ear infections can be painful for cats and can lead to hearing loss if ignored. Thus, it's important to get your cat to the vet if you notice any of the above-listed symptoms.
Diagnosing & Treating Cats With Hot Ears
At Cedar Animal Medical Center, we will use our veterinary diagnostic lab to perform complete examinations of your cat's ears, along with a full health evaluation, which can help us pinpoint the cause of your cat's warm ears.
Once the cause is diagnosed, we can then prepare a treatment plan. Their treatment will vary depending on the condition they have and what symptoms they are experiencing.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.