If you suddenly notice that your cat’s ears are hot, don’t freak out thinking, “my cat’s ears are hot! – is this a sign of sickness?”. Let me assure you, it’s not necessarily a sickness.
Cats are naturally warm creatures. Their normal body temperature is considered as ‘fever’ by humans. A cat’s body temperature is around a little over 102 degrees Fahrenheit in normal circumstances – which is a few degrees warmer than the normal temperature of a human body.
So, don’t worry if you notice your cat’s ears are hot when you are casually touching your beloved feline’s ears while fondling it out of love. It’s not that unusual. However, sometimes warmer ears can indicate that your cat might need some extra attention.
We’ll discuss that as we go further. First, let’s talk about why a cat’s ears feel hotter than normal sometimes.
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Why cat’s ears feel hotter?
You may have noticed it for the first time and thinking “Oh my God, my cat’s ears are hot! What do I do now?” – But the truth is, most cat’s ears actually feel hotter than the rest of its body, and the reason is simple.
A cat’s ears are not actually warmer than the rest of its body. Those just seem like it. Ears are the most exposed areas of a cat’s body (except hairless breeds like the ‘Sphynx’). Many cat owners don’t notice how warm their cat is because its body is covered with thick furs.
Those furs prevent the existent temperature to come out, so we can’t feel the actual heat. However, the ears of a cat are not covered with those thick furs, and when you suddenly touch them, they feel hotter.
The temperature of a cat’s ears changes with the environment, and it’s nothing abnormal. Cat owners notice this less often that the temperature of a cat’s nose also changes with the environment.
In warm seasons, the dilation of blood vessels of a cat increases blood flow in the areas of ears and nose, trying to extract the excess heat from its body. During the colder seasons of the year, a cat’s body does the opposite to keep the heat inside.
How much heat indicates a problem?
If a cat owner sees his/her cat’s ears are hot, s/he often thinks, “my cat’s ears are hot, it may have caught a fever”, but most of the time it’s nothing. We, humans, see the world from our own perspective, and we assume high temperature is an indicator of fever – and that’s not a crime.
Cats probably have their own standard of perceiving things. In the short term, if your cat’s body temperature reaches over 103.5 degrees, you should not worry much about it.
However, if you feel like your cat’s ears are hotter than normal, you should keep an eye on your cat’s activities. If it avoids contact with you and always tends to stay in cooler places – it’s likely that your cat has actually caught the fever.
If you observe this behavior, you should try to touch under its stomach and try to find out whether the temperature feels higher than normal. Also, observe its breathing and heartbeat – see if it seems faster than normal.
Apart from these things, closely observe how your cat is eating. If it eats less than usual, maybe it’s time to seek veterinary attention.
Does it have something do with ear infections?
The ‘Otitis externa‘ is the most commonly found cat-ear problem. It’s an infection on the outer ear. The most common ear infections that cats catch are yeast infections and ear mites.
Infected cat ears may feel more heated than normal; however, the cause of this warming is most likely the cat is paying more attention to the ears than it normally does. If you see your cat scratching its ears with its paws more than normal, and/or rubbing them against whatever seems fit along with the warmth – taking it to the vet might be a good idea. All those scratching and rubbing can also cause the ears to be warmer than usual.
As you can see, hot cat ears are not that big of a deal. It’s totally normal for your favorite furry friend. Even unusual heat is not necessarily a red flag. If the temperature of your cat’s ears concerns you, look for the other symptoms and behavioral mentioned above, if it seems like a genuine problem, take your cat to the vet.