As a cat owner, it is important to observe any changes to your pet’s body. This can help you to identify if there are any problems with your pet as bodily changes are often an indicator of health problems. One change you may notice while stroking your cat is a change in the temperature of their ears. This may concern you, so here is what you need to know about cats getting hot ears.
Normal Cat Ear Temperature
A cat’s ears are an exposed and thin part of their body. They are covered with very little fur or body fat and this means they do not have protection from changes in external temperatures. Both a cat’s ears and their nose are susceptible to changes in temperature for this reason. This means that the temperature of your cat’s ears is usually different every time you feel them. Ears also have their own thermostat system. When the weather is warmer, blood flow to the ears increases allowing them to get rid of excess heat from their bodies through their ears. During colder weather, vasoconstriction conserves heat in the body by reducing blood flow to the ears.
Are Hot Ears a Sign of a Fever?
If your cat’s ears feel hot, it is likely that your first assumption is that the cat has a fever. However, this is not always the case. Even if a cat does have a fever, it is often short-lived and not something about which you should have concerns. Fevers are most often caused by a virus, and these are something that your cat’s immune system is usually capable of fighting without intervention or treatment. At most, this will usually last for just a few days.
To check if your cat has a fever, you should also feel your cat’s underarms and stomach. If these areas of your cat’s body also feel hot, a fever is the most likely explanation. A true fever will affect all body parts and you should seek veterinary advice if your cat feels hot all over. This is not necessary if only the cat’s ears feel hot. Repeated fevers are another cause for concern. If a cat has a fever at least four times over a two-week period, it may have what is referred to as a fever of unknown origin. To help your vet identify the underlying problem, you should take note of any changes in your cat’s health.
Other Ear Problems Associated with Hot Ears
One of the most common problems that can cause hot cat ears is an outer ear infection. Most outer ear infections are caused by either ear mites of a yeast infection. While the infection itself is possibly the cause of your cat’s ears feeling hot, the extra heat is often as a result of the cat paying more attention to their ears than usual. The infection can cause discomfort and itching that will lead your cat to scratch and rub at its ears with their paws. Other symptoms of an ear infection are a foul smell and a discharge from their ears.
Another problem that can cause your cat’s ears to raise in temperature is excessive ear wax. When the wax builds up inside their ears, it reduces the ventilation to this part of the body and causes an increase in the internal temperature. When the inner canal gets hotter, mites thrive in the conditions and this can then cause further problems. This is a common problem that is easily treated following a trip to the vet.
The Bottom Line
The temperature of cat’s ears is changeable, so a cat’s ears feeling hot does not necessarily mean there is a problem. Hot ears is sometimes a sign of a fever related to a viral infection and you can check if the cat has a fever by feeling other parts of their body to see if they are also warmer than usual. A fever is not the only cause of hot ears as an outer ear infection or a build-up of wax are also possible causes of your cat having hot ears. Each of these situations is easily resolved and you should seek the advice of your vet if you are concerned about the cause of your cat’s hot ears.