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Why are my cat's ears warm?

While it's perfectly normal to feel the heat coming from your cat's ears, this warmth may also signal a medical issue requiring care. Today, our Seattle vets discuss why your cat's ears feel hot or warm and when it could be linked to a health concern.

Are my cat's ears supposed to be warm?

As you stroke your cat, you might notice their ears feeling warmer than usual. This might prompt you to ask, "Why are my cat's ears hot?" Well, there are several reasons why your cat's ears might be warm, and many of them are perfectly normal.

Here are some of the reasons:

  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. For No Reason at All

Remember, a cat's normal body temperature exceeds that of a human. While a human typically maintains a body temperature of around 98.6°, cats maintain a higher temperature, ranging between 101° and 102.5°.

So, if your cat's ears feel slightly warm and they usually behave, there's no cause for concern.

2. Responding to the weather

If your cat's ears get warmer as the temperature rises, don't chalk it up to chance. Your cat is actively regulating their body temperature.

To prevent overheating, their body increases blood flow to the ears, paws, and nose, facilitating the release of excess heat.

Yet, extreme heat poses a significant threat to cats. Ensure your cat stays cool by brushing them daily, offering a shaded area, and ensuring they have an ample supply of water.

3. Allergies

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. You should speak with your vet if you suspect your cat may have allergies.

4. Fever

Transitioning to more serious matters, a fever in a cat may be indicated by warm ears. However, warm ears are not the sole symptom. If your cat is unwell, you will probably detect or feel warmth in its belly as well. Additionally, other symptoms may manifest, such as:

  • Isolating or not wanting to play)
  • Change in 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. So, why not just cut out the middleman?

5. Ear Mites

External parasites like ear mites inflict real discomfort upon your cat. These tiny, highly contagious parasites inhabit the ear canals of cats, continuously reproducing throughout their lifespan.

Ear mites commonly afflict cats, causing severe itching and discomfort. They sustain themselves by feeding on the wax and oils within the ear canal, inducing inflammation (thus the warm ears) and potential secondary infections.

To rid your cat of these mites, a visit to the vet is necessary for medication. Ear mites can spread to other household pets and even humans without proper treatment. Consulting a veterinarian is crucial for accurate diagnosis and effective treatment, as over-the-counter remedies may prove ineffective.

6. Ear Infection

While ear mites can cause 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, getting your cat to the vet is important if you notice any of the above-listed symptoms.

Diagnosing & Treating Cats With Hot Ears

At Cat Clinic of Seattle, our veterinary diagnostic lab will thoroughly examine your cat's ears and perform a comprehensive health evaluation to identify the cause of your cat's warm ears.

After diagnosing the cause, we will develop a treatment plan tailored to your cat's specific condition and 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 your cat shows any signs associated with ear issues, please schedule an appointment with our Seattle veterinarians.

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Cat Clinic of Seattle is welcoming new patients. Our compassionate vets are experienced in caring for cats in the Seattle area. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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