My cat has cold ears - why and what to do?

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Cats' ears can change their temperature frequently. Although they always have a temperature lower than their normal temperature, that does not indicate that our furry is cold. On the other hand, under medical or environmental conditions they can lower their temperature further and appear cold to the touch. In the worst case, our cats will develop a severe drop in body temperature or hypothermia, being able to end his life. It is important that our cats are in optimal temperature conditions to avoid this condition.

If you want to know more, keep reading this AnimalWised article, where we will solve the doubt of why does my cat have cold ears and what to do to solve it.

You may also be interested in: Cold Ears in Dogs - Causes and Treatments Index
  1. Why does the temperature of the ears of cats vary?
  2. Causes of cold ears in cats
  3. Symptoms of cold ears and hypothermia in cats
  4. What to do if my cat has cold ears?

Why does the temperature of the ears of cats vary?

The ears of our cats have a lower temperature, Hence, in some cats with a "seal point " coat pattern, the ears, muzzle, tail and distal part of the extremities are of different color, as they are the areas with lower temperature and more sensitive to cold.

Its temperature goes accordingly with the temperature of the blood and the blood pressure, so that when a reflex vasoconstriction occurs, when the blood pressure drops in hypotension, the ears decrease their temperature. In addition, the fine ear skin and that they are barely covered in fur.

¿What if my cat has cold ears?

The normal temperature of feline ears is somewhat lower than body temperature, which in adult cats is between 38-39.2 ºC. In addition, they change rapidly in the face of climatic changes and the circulatory state of our feline, being able to become hot without the cat having a fever or cold without having developed hypothermia. However, that a cat has very cold ears and that, in addition, presents a strange behavior, it may be due to one of the first signs of feline hypothermia. Therefore, when detecting a change in temperature in our cat's ears, what we must do is measure your body temperature by using a digital thermometer that should be in contact with the anal mucosa of our cat, since it is the most accurate area to measure its body temperature.

Our cat will present really cold when its temperature reaches 33-34 ºC, being clinical hypothermia and beginning to cause serious damage in the feline.

As we will see below, low temperatures also intervene in the lowering of the immune system of our feline, making it more prone to the development of infections by bacteria, viruses and parasites.

Causes of cold ears in cats

If the feline has cold ears, it could be due to the following situations, which can cause hypothermia in the cat:

  • Low ambient temperature.
  • Going outside when it is very cold, snowing or icy.
  • Wet skin or coat.
  • Cold air stream.
  • Hypotension (allergic reactions, poisonings, or drugs).
  • A long anesthesia.
  • Hypovolemic shock from bleeding.
  • Concussion.

For his part, hypovolemic shock causes cold ears due to hypothermia that produces blood loss, either due to internal or external bleeding, trauma or rupture of internal organs that cause the heart not to have enough blood to pump the body, appearing "triad of death ", which consists of, in addition to hypothermia with cold ears, in hypotension, metabolic acidosis, bradycardia and alterations in blood clotting.

Risk factor's

The cats most susceptible to suffering the consequences of cold are the following:

  • Baby cats that cannot yet thermoregulate.
  • Cats with metabolic diseases that alter their ability to regulate body temperature.
  • Smaller cats.
  • Sphynx cats due to lack of hair.
  • Very thin cats due to lack of protective fat.
  • The elderly cats.
  • Cats with comorbidities.

If you do not know how to know if a cat is cold, we answer these and other questions in the article on ¿Cats feel cold?

Symptoms of cold ears and hypothermia in cats

The first symptoms of mild or moderate hypothermia can coincide with the signs that our cat is cold, whose symptoms are:

  • Muscular stiffness.
  • Tremors.
  • Cramps.
  • Dry skin.
  • Dyspnoea.
  • Slow breathing.
  • Lethargy.
  • Decay.
  • Slow and clumsy movements.
  • Drowsiness.

To try to regulate its body temperature in this cold situation, our feline will begin to consume glucose, ending the reserves and hypoglycemia may appear, which can reach induce coma.

Yes hypothermia not treated quickly, will progress and weakening the feline, which will cause more serious damage with clinical signs such as the following:

  • Hypotension.
  • Bradycardia (low heart rate).
  • Anorexy.
  • Disorientation.
  • Lost stare, fixed
  • Depression.
  • Dilated pupils.
  • Collapse.
  • Fainting.
  • Death.

What to do if my cat has cold ears?

For all that we have been commenting on, when the temperature decreases, in addition to the drop in temperature in the feline ears, the heart rate and tension also decrease, which facilitates the appearance of cardiac, circulatory or arrhythmias. In addition, blood oxygen, metabolism decreases and a multi-organ dysfunction syndrome .

When our kitten has a low temperature, hypothermia or extreme cold and his ears are cold, we can perform these steps:

  • Maintain the environment at a suitable temperature to increase its body temperature gradually, with the help of heating or electrical devices that produce heat for our cat.
  • If the cat is damp or wet, dry it as soon as possible.
  • Hold him in your arms to transmit heat.
  • Shelter him with blankets or warm clothing.
  • If it is very cold outside and the cat is going out, this exit should be avoided.
  • Administration at the veterinary center of warm enemas or warm fluid therapy if hypothermia is severe.
  • To reverse or avoid hypoglycemia, glucose must be administered.

If we appreciate cold ears in our cat, along with obvious signs that it is having a hard time due to the cold or another condition, it is due go quickly to the vet so that he does not go to more, avoiding the serious consequences that can end his death in a short time.

For more information, you can consult this other AnimalWised article about ¿How to take care of your cat in winter?

This article is merely informative, at we do not have the power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the vet in the event that it presents any type of condition or discomfort.

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