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Why are my cat's ears so warm?

The temperature of your cat's ears will naturally fluctuate, and while this can sometimes be harmless, at other times it can indicate an issue. Today, our Argyle vets share some of the potential causes and symptoms behind your cat's warm ears and what steps you should take if you have concerns.

My cat's ears are hot, why?

While petting your cat, you may realize that their ears are warmer than usual. This can lead you to wonder 'Are my cat's ears supposed to be warm?'

Well, cats can have warm ears for many different reasons, and some of them are perfectly normal. If you pet a cat with hot ears, some of the possible reasons may be:

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

Here we go into more detail about each of these reasons and what you should do in these situations:

1. There is No Reason

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. Changes in 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.

3. Allergies

Cats, just like humans, can suffer from allergies. They 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 it, hot ears. If you suspect your cat may have allergies, you should speak with your vet.

4. Fever

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
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy

Contact your vet or nearest emergency veterinary clinic right away if your cat is showing any signs that they are experiencing a fever.

5. Ear Mites

Some cats can experience ear mite infestations. These contagious parasites live within the ear canal and 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. 

Routine preventive care offered at our veterinary clinic is an ideal method of preventing many different types of parasitic infections. Speak to us about scheduling a preventive care visit.

6. Ear Infections

When it comes to ear infections in cats, ear mites are one of the leading causes. Even so, they are not the only possible cause. 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. This makes diagnosis and treatment a crucial step. Contact your vet right away if you notice any of the signs listed above.

How will my vet diagnose and treat my cat's warm ears?

At Argyle Veterinary Hospital, 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. The treatment your cat needs will depend on the specific cause behind their 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 notice anything strange with your cat's ears, or if they are showing concerning signs, please book an appointment with our vets in Argyle.

Looking for a new veterinarian in Argyle?

Contact (940) 464-3231