Cat’s ears have far less fur on them than the rest of a cat’s body. This is to help them regulate their body temperatures by giving off excess heat.
Cats can’t sweat through their skin like people or horses do, so extra body heat is given off by panting, by sweating through the pads of their paws and through the ears.
However, there are times when hot ears are the sign of a sick cat.
Why Are My Cats Ears Hot?
Cat’s ears get hot mainly due to being exposed to a heat source like strong sunlight. They will often cool off after a few hours. Sometimes, hot ears are a sign of illness such as fever, ear infections, allergies, or illnesses that can cause a fever. Cats that are sick show other symptoms than just hot ears.
Cats Regulating Body Temperature
Bishop Veterinary Center and Urgent Care explain that ears are a crucial part of how a cat regulates his or her body temperature.
Felines need to remove the extra heat off their bodies for them to stay healthy. People and horses do this by sweating.
For cats, it’s more complicated.
Cats use three ways to regulate their body temperatures. First, they pant. Secondly, they perspire through their paw pads.
Most often, they use their ears to stay cool.
How is this done? The fur is thinner on the ears than any other areas in their bodies.
Blood vessels in the ears dilate to speed hot blood into the ears, usually a cooler part of the body.
The blood in those vessels cools off and travels to other parts of the body, helping to cool the entire body off.
The blood vessels constrict when the body needs to warm back up.
Signs Your Cat Has a Fever
It’s important to know what your cat normally feels like and how he or she normally acts. Any deviation from these norms may mean that the cat is sick.
Petting your cat every day helps you know how warm your cat’s ears normally are.
The only accurate way to tell if a feline runs a fever is through temperature taking. This has to be done rectally.
And, the safest way to take your kitty pal’s temperature is through a pediatric digital thermometer.
Any temperature above 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit is a fever. Any fever of 106 degrees Fahrenheit or over is a medical emergency.
Other signs of fever in cats include:
- Loss of appetite
- Becoming a lot less active
- Cat will often stop grooming his or herself.
- Cat seems depressed
- Other parts of the cat’s body are warmer than usual.
- Rapid breathing, even when in a cool place.
Cat Ear Infections
Another main reason why your cat’s ears are hot could be due to an ear infection.
Cats are prone to ear infections, especially if they have been in contact with cats that have ear infections.
Since ear infections are contagious, as well as painful, it’s important to get your cat treated by a vet right away.
Other than hot ears, other signs of ear infections in cats include:
- Shaking the head more than usual
- Putting out a yellow or black discharge
- Black ear discharge that resembles old coffee grounds
- Titling the head to one side
- Walking like a drunken sailor or showing other signs of having balance problems
- Ears that smell bad, often with a sweet, fruity odor
- Swollen ear flaps’
- Ears look much redder than usual
- Cat may paw the ears often or drag the ears on the floor.
Cats can have ear infections for several reasons. The cause could be mites, a fungal infection or a foreign object could be lodged in the ear canal.
It’s important to take the feline to a veterinarian for proper diagnosing. It’s in this way that effective treatment can be given.
Cat Allergies and Their Ears
Hot ears are just one sign that your cat is allergic to something such as flea bites, something in their food, pollen, or something else.
The cat’s body heats up to try and fight whatever it is that it’s allergic to. But, hot ears aren’t the only symptoms of allergy they have.
When cats have allergies, they have symptoms other than hot ears. These include:
- Scratching their ears or other parts of their bodies more often than usual
- Bald patches or hair loss from scratching or rubbing
- Swollen ears or other skin areas
- Reddening of the ears or other itchy areas
- Scratching so badly that it causes wounds.
- Cat may suddenly wake up from a sound sleep to furiously scratch.
Any cat showing these symptoms should be brought to a vet at once. Tests can be given to find out just what the feline’s allergic to.
Medication and trying to eliminate the allergen are often successful at treating the cat’s allergies.
Read about why a cat’s ears can be cold.
Frequently Asked Questions about Why My Cats Ears Are Hot
Does Hot Ears Mean My Cat Is Sick?
Hot ears are sometimes the sign of a sick cat. However, most of the time, the cat has been merely lying in a hot place. In a few hours, after the cat leaves a hot place, the ears should return to feeling normal.
Are Hot Ears a Sign That My Cat Has a Fever?
Sometimes hot ears are a sign of a fever in cats. Take a look at other symptoms like appetite loss, unusual shivering, or panting rapidly before calling the vet. The best way to determine if a cat’s running a fever is through temperature taking.
Are White Cats More Prone to Hot Ears?
White cats or cats with white ears may be more prone to having hot ears due to sunburn than those cats with darker-colored fur. Hairless cats are also prone to sunburned ears. Talk to your vet about any sunscreen products safe enough for your cat.
The Least You Need to Know
The main reason a cat has hot ears is that he or she has been resting in a warm place and the ears shed off excess body heat.
Cats have many blood vessels in their ears, so if the blood in the ears cools off, that cooled blood circulates through the rest of the body.
However, hot ears can be a sign of fever, an ear infection, or other illnesses.
Cats with hot ears that are sick show other symptoms like loss of appetite, sudden shivering, or have smelly ears.