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Why are my cat's ears warm?

While it's perfectly normal to feel the warmth emanating from your cat's ears, it can also indicate that he's suffering from a medical problem requiring attention. Today, our vets in Marina del Rey explain why your cat's ears are warm or hot, and when this could be linked to a health problem.

Are my cat's ears supposed to be warm?

As you pet your cat, you may notice that his ears are warmer than usual, which may lead you to ask: "Why are my cat's ears warm? Cats can have warm ears for many reasons, some of which are perfectly normal.

Here are just some of the reasons your cat may have warm ears:

  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

Knowing that a cat's normal body temperature is slightly higher than a human's is important. At the same time, a human's body temperature is around 98.6°, and a cat's is higher, between 101° and 102.5°.

A cat's ears should, therefore, be slightly warm. If your cat is otherwise behaving normally, there's no need to worry.

2. Responding to the Weather

If you've noticed your cat's ears getting warmer as the temperature rises, it's no coincidence. It's simply a matter of your cat regulating its body temperature.

To prevent him from overheating, blood flow increases to the ears, paws, and nose so he can more easily evacuate excess heat.

However, extreme heat is still very dangerous for cats. Keep your cat cool by brushing him daily, offering him a place in the shade, and making sure he has plenty of water.

3. Allergies

Cats, like humans, can suffer from allergies. Allergies are one of the most common medical conditions affecting cats. Allergies can come from seasonal irritants such as pollen, grass, insects, and sometimes even food.

Allergy symptoms usually include sneezing, wheezing, watery eyes, excessive licking, and, you guessed it, hot ears. If you suspect your cat is suffering from allergies, consult 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. You'll likely notice or feel a warm belly if your cat is sick. Some other symptoms can also include:

  • Isolating or not wanting to play)
  • Change in appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy

If you 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 see the vet anyway if your cat has a fever. So, why not just cut out the middleman?

5. Ear Mites

Ear mites can be a real problem for your cat. Tiny, highly contagious mites live in cats' ear canals. These parasites reproduce continuously throughout their lives.

Ear mites are a common problem in cats and can cause severe itching and discomfort. They feed on the wax and oils present in the ear canal, leading to inflammation (hence the hot ears) and potential secondary infections.

Ear mites require a visit to the vet for medication to help eliminate them. If left untreated, ear mites can spread to other pets in the home and even to humans. It's important to consult a veterinarian to accurately diagnose and treat the infestation, 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 , we will use our veterinary diagnostic laboratory to perform comprehensive examinations of your cat's ears and a complete health assessment, which will help us determine the cause of your cat's hot ears.

Once the cause has been diagnosed, we can prepare a treatment plan. Treatment will vary depending on your cat's 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 is showing any signs associated with ear issues, please schedule an appointment with our experienced Marina del Rey veterinarians.

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Shane Veterinary Medical Center is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Marina del Rey companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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