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Cats with Hot Ears — Why Warm Ears Happen & When to be Concerned

Have you noticed that your cat's ears feel especially warm to the touch? While this is perfectly normal most of the time, warm ears can be caused by an underlying health condition. In today's post, our South Charlotte vets explain some reasons why your cat's ears might be warm.

Are my cat's ears supposed to be warm?

There are six main reasons for a cat's ears being warm.

  1. For no reason at all
  2. Responding to the weather
  3. Allergies
  4. Fever
  5. Ear Mites
  6. Ear Infection

Below, we'll cover each of these six reasons in detail.

1. No Particular Reason

It's important to know that a cat's normal body temperature is actually slightly higher than a human's. While a normal human's body temperature hovers around 98.6°, a normal temperature for cats is actually 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. Hot Weather

If you've noticed your cat's ears getting warmer as the temperature rises, that's no coincidence. In fact, 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're keeping your cat cool by brushing them daily, providing them with a shaded spot, and making sure they have plenty of water.

3. Allergies

Cats, just like humans, can suffer from allergies. In fact, allergies are one of the most common medical conditions in cats. Allergies can come from seasonal irritants like pollen and grass, insects, or even food.

Symptoms of allergies can include one or more of the following, bloating, diarrhea, sneezing, wheezing, watery eyes, excessive licking, and, you—guessed it—hot ears. If you suspect your cat may have allergies, bring them to our South Charlotte office for allergy testing. Our team can run tests to determine the cause of your cat's allergic reaction and provide effective solutions.

4. Fever Caused by Illness

If your cat's ears are hot, it could be due to a fever. If a fever is the cause, you should also notice other symptoms of illness, such as: 

  • Warm belly
  • Hiding or not wanting to play
  • Reduced appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy

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. 

5. Ear Mites

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..

Common in cats, ear mites can lead to 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.

Ear mites definitely 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 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.

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.

If you are concerned about your cat's ears our South Charlotte vets are here to help. Contact Sharon Lakes Animal Hospital today to book an examination for your feline family member.

Book Online (704) 552-0647