If you’ve ever noticed that your cat’s nose or ears are warmer than usual, you might be wondering whether she doesn’t have a fever. A high body temperature isn’t always at the root of this phenomenon, so in this article, we are going to look at some of the most common reasons your cat’s ears might be hot.
Also, how can you tell if your feline friend is sick? Should there be other signs you should pay attention to? We’re answering all of these questions and more in the paragraphs below.
How Hot Is Too Hot?
If you have been a cat owner for some time now, you probably know that pets have a higher body temperature compared to humans. The average body temperature of a cat is around 100.5 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit (39.2 degrees Celsius).
But if a human’s body were to have this temperature, they would have a fever. For this reason, if you feel like your cat’s body is warm, it’s probably true, but it’s also not necessarily something to be worried about.
Another aspect that we have to note here is that your cat’s ear temperature can also vary depending on the temperature of the environment she is located in. Naturally, in the winter, if she also goes outdoors, her ears will be colder than what you would expect if she were to spend all her time indoors only.
Her ears can also be quite hot if she has spent time basking in the sun — which, by the way, can be quite dangerous for our feline buddies since some cats can suffer from lung congestion after spending hours on end sunbathing.
Are Hot Ears a Sign of Disease?
A dry nose and a hot pair of ears could indicate illness in cats, but these two signs should not be the only ones that you would have to notice if your pet were to be sick.
It goes without saying that cats are among the best animals when it comes to hiding the symptoms of diseases, but other signs should be discernible too, such as your cat being withdrawn, hiding behind the furniture, sleeping for too long (although this could be hard to tell since most cats sleep for 16 hours or more every day), and elimination outside the litter box.
Other symptoms that you can notice in a cat that’s sick, whether suffering from a bacterial, viral, or fungal infection, are the following:
- Lack of appetite
- A higher body temperature in other areas, such as the paws
- Digestive distress
- Breathing issues
Signs of a Fever
If your cat’s body is too hot, she will try her best to cool herself down using a number of methods, such as breathing more rapidly than usual or seeking out a cool location.
This is particularly noticeable for male cats that have a urinary tract infection as they often search the coolest place in the house — which is usually on the kitchen or bathroom floor on tile made from porcelain, ceramic, or natural stone.
If you really are curious about your cat’s body temperature, you can use a baby thermometer to find out exactly how hot your pet is. We strongly recommend avoiding rectal thermometers as cats rarely appreciate the procedure involved in all this.
You can use an infrared thermometer to tell your cat’s body temperature, and while some people might argue that it is slightly less effective and accurate compared to a rectal model, the truth is that it can still give you a good indication as to whether your pet has a fever or not.
When should you be worried? Well, since the body temperature of cats can be anything between 100.4 to 102.5 degrees (physiologically), if the number is 103, it’s still probably nothing to worry about just yet. However, if it gets to 105 or 106, it’s quite likely that it’s time to call the vet.
When Else Can My Cat’s Ears Be Hot?
We’ve already mentioned that a higher ear temperature can indeed indicate a fever, but the health issue doesn’t always have to be generalized. Your cat’s ears can be warmer than usual if she has an ear infection, whether involving bacteria, fungi, or even parasites.
In any case, if you see your cat rubbing one side of her head on the couch, avoiding being touched in that area, or continuously pawing at one (or both) of her ears, there’s probably a local issue that needs to be tended to.
Although you probably know this, we’ll mention it once more. All cats and dogs should be taken to the animal hospital for a check-up at least once a year — twice would be better, especially for pets who are older than 7.
If your cat regularly goes outdoors and has caught an ear infection from another animal, during a routine examination, your vet can diagnose this medical problem and prescribe you the correct treatment.
Finally, fever can be a sign of many diseases, but the most worrying ones are viral — so make sure you get your cat vaccinated against lethal diseases such as panleukopenia, feline leukemia, calicivirus, and herpes virus, and others.