Although it is normal for a cat's ears to feel a bit warm, if they are too warm, or even hot, it may be a sign of an underlying health issue. Today, our Tucson vets share some reasons why your cat's ears may be warmer than usual, and what you can do for cats with hot ears.

Are my cat's ears supposed to be warm?

If you find your cat's ears are hot, you may be wondering what the cause is and whether you should be concerned. If you find yourself thinking 'My cat's ears are hot', we're here to help. Below, our veterinary team has shared the six main reasons your cat may have warm ears and what you should do.

1. Hot Weather

If you've noticed your cat's ears increasing in temperature as the temperature outside rises, that's no coincidence. This is actually a way that your cat regulates their body temperature. To avoid overheating in hot weather, blood flow increases to your cat's ears, paws, and nose so they can release excess heat more easily.

However, extreme heat is still very dangerous to your cat's health. Prevent heat stroke and keep your cat cool by brushing them daily, providing them with a shaded spot, and ensuring they have plenty of water.

2. Allergies

Cats can experience allergies just like humans, which can cause their ears to slightly increase in temperature. Allergies are one of the most common medical issues seen in cats and can be caused by seasonal irritants such as pollen and grass, insects, or food.

Symptoms of allergies in cats can include bloating, diarrhea, sneezing, wheezing, watery eyes, excessive licking, and hot ears. If you're not aware of any allergies your cat has, visit a veterinary office that can perform allergy tests to determine if this is the cause of your cat's hot ears.

3. Fever

If your cat has a fever, they may experience warmer-than-normal ears, in addition to other symptoms. If a fever is the cause, you may also notice the following signs and symptoms: 

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Warm belly
  • Reduced appetite
  • Hiding or not wanting to play

If you do suspect your cat has a fever. It's usually a good idea to call your vet to have your kitty diagnosed and treated.

4. Ear Mites

Ear mites are a common problem seen in cats. These tiny, highly contagious parasites live in the ear canals and feed on the wax and oils inside. This can result in inflammation and may lead to secondary infections.

Left untreated, an ear mite infestation can spread to other pets in the household as well as humans. Seeking veterinary assistance is crucial to diagnose and treat the infestation properly before it worsens.

Over-the-counter remedies may not be effective, making professional help all the more important. Remember, ear mites can cause severe itching and discomfort for your cat, so don't hesitate to take action and get them feeling better right away.

5. 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
  • A foul odor in the ear
  • Itching & head shaking
  • Abundant ear wax
  • Red, inflamed ears
  • Rubbing ears on the floor or furniture

Ear infections in cats can be painful and lead to hearing loss if not treated. If you notice any symptoms of an infection, it's important to take your cat to the vet.

6. No Particular Reason

The normal body temperature of a cat is slightly higher than that of a human. While the normal body temperature of humans is around 98.6°F, cats have a normal temperature between 101°F and 102.5°F. 

As a result, it's normal for a cat's ears to feel slightly warm to a human's touch. If your cat's ears are just mildly warm, but they otherwise seem healthy, there's likely no cause for concern. That being said, if you feel like something is wrong, trust your gut and contact a veterinarian.

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.

Are you concerned about the temperature of your cat's ears? Contact our Tucson vets to have your feline friend examined and cared for.