Whenever we become pet owners, we start caring immensely about our cats and their health conditions. Some symptoms, which would show on our cats, could worry us, such as hot ears.
They could get warmer for several reasons, such as fever, and you find yourself wondering why are my cat’s ears hot. However, do they indicate a health condition? Should you be concerned about it? Moreover, why are your cat’s ears hot?
NOTE: We want to inform our blog readers that before we publish any article, the team “Proudcatowners” does deep research based on experience and knowledge about cats and everything related to them, to guarantees reliable and precise information, satisfy the readers is our first priority.
Why are my cat’s ears hot?
Cats are known to be warm creatures, it is a common fact about the feline population. A cat’s average body temperature is a bit warmer than a human’s temperature. It usually ranges from about 38.6 to 39.2 degrees celsius, therefore, your cat is naturally warmer than you are.
However, you might sit on the couch and pet your cat while watching TV, or it decides to join you in bed, and you notice its ears are warmer than usual, or that one ear is warmer than the other is.
Your cat’s ears are one of the most vulnerable parts of their body because they are not covered at all. The rest of the cat’s body is usually covered in fur, or fat, while the cat’s ears are exposed and unprotected, in addition to being thin. Their temperature depends on the surroundings, and it changes accordingly, which is regular among the feline population.
Many pet parents think that their indoor cats would not experiences various changes in their body temperature. However, if your indoor cat is sitting next to a window, for example, it will go through these temperature changes in its ears and its nose as well.
Cat’s ears temperature according to weather
The weather and room temperature are some of the reasons to why your cat’s ears are hot. During the summer, the cat’s body increases blood flow, in an attempt to release the excess heat through the ears. In contrast, during wintertime, the blood flow decreases in that area, which makes them colder, because the body is trying to retain that heat and keep itself warm.
For example, your cat’s ears might also be hot during wintertime if it was sitting next to the heater. You might notice the same thing with the human body, especially in cold weather.
Human ears are also thin and unprotected with fat like the rest of our body, you might have noticed how cold they are during wintertime, especially if you are outside, and they are not covered. However, in addition to the natural changes in your cat’s ears temperature, hot ears might also be a sign of trouble
Reasons your cat’s ear could be hot
If you notice that your cat’s ears are warmer than usual, or that your cat is showing any abnormal behavior regarding its ears, it could be a symptom of a disease. An unusual change in their temperature could indicate a fever, an ear problem, fleas, or other underlying diseases.
The first reason that could be behind your cat’s hot ears is fever. Fever in cats is usually 39.7 degrees Celsius or more, it can be a mild fever and nothing to panic about, and it often helps fight viruses and bacteria in your cat’s body. However, it can be dangerous for your little paw friend in the long term, and any fever that is 41 degrees Celsius or higher can cause severe damage to organs.
What could cause fever in cats?
The medical term for fever in cats is pyrexia, and it is usually a result of the immune system’s reaction, as it is for humans in many cases as well. pyrexia in cats can be due to several reasons, some of them are the following:
- Bacterial infection
- Fungal or viral infection
- A tumor
- Recent injury
- Reaction to specific medications
- Allergic reactions to some food, for example.
Some diseases occur in cats with would evoke fever as one of their symptoms as well, such as lupus. If the fever continues for more than two weeks with your cat, it is usually referred to as Fever of Unknown Origins.
How do I know if my cat has a fever?
Cats and humans have some symptoms in common when it comes to fever. However, some symptoms are distinct to cats only because they could be the result of an underlying disease your cat has.
Symptoms of fever in cats:
- Loss of appetite
- Shivering and shaking
- Hot ears
- Searching for a cool place
- Warm abdomen and underarms
- Lack of activity
- Decreased licking and grooming
- Loss of energy
Some of the symptoms that could indicate the disease, causing the fever are: diarrhea, vomiting, sneezing, …etc.
What is the difference between hyperthermia and fever?
Hyperthermia is an increase in the cat’s body temperature above the normal levels, due to extreme activity. However, fever is a regulated type of hyperthermia, usually caused by a reaction of the immune system when it is motivated by certain health conditions.
What should I do?
In case you doubt that your cat has a fever, you should measure it and contact a veterinarian for medical advice. To measure your cat’s temperature, use a thermometer, it is more practical to use a digital one. Cover the tip of it with a lubricant before inserting it into your cat’s anus.
Once you do so, move it a little bit so that the cat’s rectal muscles relax, then put the thermometer inside with one inch. Wait until you hear it beep, then remove it and read the temperature. If you are using a glass thermometer, leave it in for two minutes before removing it.
It would be better to have someone help you hold the cat when you measure its temperature so that you would avoid any resistance, and in case you are alone, hold the cat’s body firmly but gently with one arm, then insert the thermometer. Offer your cat a small treat after you finish, unless it has been experiencing vomiting. Ensure you provide your cat with enough water to avoid dehydration and seek immediate medical care if the temperature is too high.
Ear mites cause ear infections in cats in most cases, however, there are other causes of ear infections such as bacterial and fungal infections. Your cat’s ears would appear hotter than usual if it has an ear infection, especially if it is paying more attention to them and touching them more than usual.
Ear infections can be inner, middle, or outer ear infections. They are not the same thing, and they do not have the same causes. However, they have some symptoms in common, such as redness, swelling, itchiness, and decreased appetite.
Ear mites are microscopic parasites that use your cat’s ears as a habitat, and it can be on the inside or the outside of the ear. They are usually found in kittens more than adult cats, and they give your cat an itchy feeling that makes scratch its ears, head, and neck. These mites can be transmitted from one cat to the other quite easily. These cases in cats are also referred to as mite infestations, and they can be attributed to why you cat’s ears are hot.
Certain types of mange mites prefer to use the cat’s skin from the outer area of its head and ear. It can get very itchy sometimes, which drives the cat crazy. Your cat would scratch too much, to the point of self-harm. This would lead to red and hot ears, in addition to inflammation and injury. The infected areas of your cat’s skin would become thicker and covered with crusts. These health conditions in cats can put your cat’s life at risk and cause death in severe cases.
Otitis in cats:
When your cat has inflammation in its ear, it is referred to as Otitis in the medical field. Although these infections are more common in dogs than cats, your little paw friend is still not safe. It can occur due to another disease or an external factor. Skin allergies are usually a common reason for these ear infections because they irritate the skin and cause some inflammations on your cat’s skin, including the inside part of their ears and their ear canals.
What should I do in this case?
If you notice abnormal signs on your cat’s skin or a change in behavior, consult with a veterinarian as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the higher risk you put your cat in.
For example, if your cat has an allergy to a particular food, it can have allergic reactions once it is exposed to such food. This allergic reaction can include skin rash, among other symptoms, and it can provoke severe itchiness in your cat. Once your cat feels the need to scratch its skin, it will scratch its ears, among other parts of their bodies, either with their paws or against furniture. This will lead to having red and warm ears as well, because of scratching.
Signs of allergies in cats:
- Itchy ears
- Increased scratching
- Ear infections
- Runny and itchy eyes
Steps to do?
If you notice that your cat has any allergic reactions after trying a portion of new food, eliminate that food from its diet immediately. Consult with your veterinarian before making any decisions concerning your cat’s case. Following a new diet for a couple of weeks should be good enough to fix your cat’s allergy problem. Your vet might transcribe you some medications to relieve the itchiness and skin problems of your cat.
Malignant tumors in your cat’s ear canal is not a very common condition, but it is not impossible to happen. These kinds of tumors usually occur more in older cats than in kittens. It can generally be removed via a surgical procedure and chemotherapy. Some of the symptoms your cat might exhibit include irritated and warmer ears than usual. Your cat will also be attaining to its ears more often.
Other causes of ear infections in cats:
- Growth of yeast in the cat’s ears
- Excessive wax in the cat’s ear canal
- Polyps in the ear canal
- Inaccurate ear cleaning
- Damaged eardrum
- Diabetes mellitus
- Feline leukemia virus
- Immune blocking diseases
- Unknown objects from the environment
Polyps are benign masses that grow in the cat’s ear canal and middle ear, which is just behind the eardrum, or in the tube that connect the middle ear with the backside of the cat’s nose. This tube is known as the Eustachian tube. Polyps that develop in the cat’s central ear area are called nasopharyngeal polyps. Some of the main symptoms that were observed in such cases are loud breathing, sneezing, and ear infections.
How do I know if my cat has an ear infection disease?
If your cat suffers from an ear infection disease, you will notice it is scratching its ears with its paws, or against another object, such as furniture, more often, and spending more time caring for them. In addition to that, you would notice your cat tilts its head a lot.
If both of its ears hurt, the tilting would be in both directions, and if the infection were in one ear only, the head tilting would be in the direction of that ear, from which the pain is coming.
Symptoms of ear infection disease:
- Warm ears
- Dark and yellow ear discharges
- Swelling in the ear canal
- Lack of balance
- Redness in the ear flap
- Large amounts of wax in the ear canal
- A decrease in hearing ability
- Possible hear loss
- A noxious smell from the ear
- Unequal pupil sizes
If ear mites were the cause of the ear infection, you would sometimes notice dark or black discharges that resemble ground coffee beans.
Actions to take:
If you notice such symptoms in your cat, you should contact a veterinarian for advice. Moreover, make sure you provide your cat with proper medical care. There are some ways you can prevent these agonizing ear infections, such as regular veterinarian checkups and early diagnosis.
In addition to that, you should check your cat’s ears by yourself regularly for visible symptoms such as redness, swelling, and wax in the ear canal. Consulting your veterinarian is necessary, do not make any decisions or try to cure your cat’s condition yourself.
How can I check my cat’s ears?
The feline populations have extremely delicate ears since they are not covered nor protected with fat or fur. Therefore, you must be careful when you are checking your cat’s ears. When you are petting or grooming your cat, you should look and analyze your cat’s ears and their condition without touching them, try to check them visually only.
Take a good look at the inside of the ears, the ear canal, the outer part of the ear, and the surrounding area as well. Developing this habit each time you groom your cat would make it easier for you to notice any abnormal behavior or worrisome symptoms.
Warning: things you should not do concerning your cat’s ear.
Your cat’s ears are sensitive, and they can be damaged easily. One small mistake or a wrong move can cost your cat its hearing ability, and leave it in severe pain. When checking your cat’s ear, avoid any attempt to clean them by yourself. Inserting any object like cotton buds or Q tips would make your cat uncomfortable, causing it distress.
Avoid touching it with your bare hands, or any other methods, because your cat would be alarmed due to such actions, and it would not enjoy it. If you suspect that your cat needs an ear checkup or a deep cleaning for its ears, consult your veterinarian and try to schedule an appointment to avoid any complications.
If my cat has diabetes, does it increase the risks of an ear infection?
Some cats are at a higher risk of getting ear infections than others, such as cats with diabetes and allergies. In addition to that, if your cat has a weak immune system, it is usually at a higher risk of getting many diseases, including ear infections.
If your cat suffers from a chronic disease, it requires more attention and special care, moreover, you should consider a specific diet. Always contact a veterinarian if you notice any symptoms or abnormal behavior exhibited by your cat.
Interesting facts about your cat’s ear
64 muscles control your cat’s ears in total. Each ear is controlled by 32 muscles. This helps your cat identify sounds and have the excellent hearing capacity it does. Having the ability to rotate its ears 180 degrees, gives your cat the ability to identify where exactly the sound is coming from.
Your cat has superpowers when it comes to hearing. Although many think that dogs have excellent hearing capacities, cats’ hearing is better than dogs’ one. Your cat can differentiate any sound, no matter how high or low its pitches are. Detecting different varieties in tones allows your cat to know precisely the size of their prey.
Your cat’s balance depends significantly on its ears. The cat’s ear canals have fluids in them that tell the cat’s brain which way it is moving depending on the fluid movement. In addition to that, it allows the brain to know which position the cat is in, for example, upside down. This is the secret behind “cats always land on their feet.”
If the ears speak, we must listen! Your cat’s ears indicate which position the cat is in, and it shows if your cat s angry or relaxed depending on the ears.
Genetic mutation and cat’s ears
If your cat has blue eyes, there is a high chance it is deaf. You might wonder how eyes and hearing capacity are related, and you would be surprised at the answer. A study has shown that 40 percent of cats with one blue eye are born deaf, while 65 to 85 percent of cats that have both eyes blue are born deaf. It is due to a genetic mutation that causes hearing loss in cats with blue eyes. On the other hand, cats with non-blue eyes have only 17 to 22 percent chance of being born deaf.
It is also due to a genetic mutation if your cat has a weirdly shaped ear or both its ears. We usually find unusual cat ears to be cute, and they make our cats even more adorable, it can sometimes be a sign of trouble in the future. For example, the Scottish Fold’s mutation in cats is related to malformations in bones as well, and it increases the risks of developing arthritis in your cat. Always consult your veterinarian if you see any signs that might worry you.
Our cats are delicate creatures, and their ears are the most sensitive part of their body, in addition to their nose. Cats’ ears are not covered not protected with fur and fat like the rest of the cat’s body, which makes them subject to several conditions. Although it is known that cats are naturally warmer than humans are, their ears can sometimes be warmer than usual, and there are several reasons why your cat’s ears are hot.
Some of the conditions that might provoke hot ears are allergies, ear mites, fleas, fever, infections, or malignant tumors. Cats with chronic diseases such as diabetes have a higher risk of experiencing ear inflammation. If you notice that your cat’s ears are hotter than usual, make sure you consult a veterinarian.