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Why Are My Cats Ears Hot

↯ Key takeaway points

  • Cats naturally have warmer body temperatures compared to humans and other mammals.
  • Hot ears in cats can indicate thermoregulation in response to cold temperatures or discomfort in hot weather.
  • Allergies, ear infections, ear mites, fever, and heatstroke can also cause cats' ears to feel hot.
  • Cleaning your cat's ears regularly can prevent infections and discomfort.
A pet lover passionate about educating readers about animal health and care. Love reading studies and recent research.
Gold medalist veterinary student from UVAS Lahore writes captivating articles and is passionate about animal care.
Published on
Tuesday 11 July 2023
Last updated on
Tuesday 11 July 2023
Why Are My Cats Ears Hot
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Cats belong to the class Mammalia and like all creatures that are part of that group, they possess a common attribute, being warm-blooded. That said, it’s normal for cats to be warm all day long. However, if their body temperature exceeds 39° C, then something must be up. Hence, to find out the common causes of why cats’ ears are hot, continue reading. 

What Does It Mean When a Cat’s Ears Are Hot? 

According to a study in Brazil in 2020, cats ears are supposed to be warm since they have more temperature gradients than dogs. Also, researchers stated that a temperature change above 6° C is dangerous and is deadly if it exceeds 10° C. Yet, cats seem to be an exception to that, since they are naturally hotter than other mammals with at least a temperature gradient of 8° C

Well, what does it mean when cats’ ears are hot? To answer that question, cats do that because of thermoregulation. They started doing that when they were kittens, which became their body’s natural response to cold temperatures. Also, among other creatures in the animal kingdom, cats have a natural hot temperature of 38° C to 39° C, which is hotter than humans’ 37° C. 

Meanwhile, although felines do well in warm climates, they can still experience discomfort if the temperature exceeds 40°C. That said, if cats’ ears are warm, that could be a sign that the weather’s too hot for them. Cats’ hot ears could also be symptoms of other underlying issues.


As pet owners, if you’re wondering why your cats’ ears are hot, the first probable cause is allergies. According to recent research, 10 to 15% of cats have food allergies. Hence, besides gastrointestinal upsets, felines also experience warmth in their ears. 

Moreover, seasonal pollen allergies can also cause cats’ ears to feel warm, red, and itchy to the touch. To be precise, pollens or fine dust particles from flowers, trees, and grasses cause seasonal allergies in almost 11.5% of cats

Cat Ear Infection

Swollen, itchy, and hot cat’s ear are signs of ear infection. If not treated properly, it can progress to more serious ear-canal damage that may require surgery. According to vets, cats are prone to ear infections if they have the following symptoms. 

  • Overgrowth of bacteria in ears
  • Excessive earwax production
  • Too much ear hair
  • Small ear canal
  • Foreign objects in cat’s ears
  • Tumors and polyps

Moreover, infected cats’ ears are warm and painful to touch because sometimes they become clogged with pus. This kind of infection, typically knowns as Otitis Media, wears down within 1 to 2 weeks of medication. But, it can cause breakage of the eardrum and hearing loss.  

Ear Mites

If not treated early, these tiny creatures can pose more damage to cats’ ears. Although ear mites or Otodectes cynotis are common in cats and dogs, their effects are still life-changing. Specifically, these parasites feed from the wax and oils in felines’ ears. They cause extreme itchiness and discomfort, which is why your cats’ ears are hot.

Plus, ear mites can result in feline permanent hearing loss. Also, they cause swelling, which in return, gives way to more bacterial complications. But, on the brighter side, this disease is curable within 3 weeks of medication. 


Fever is also one of the reasons why your cat’s ears are hot. Well, felines normally have a warmer temperature of 38° to 39°C. However, if your cat is feeling lethargic, lacking appetite, and shivering with a temperature of more than 39°C, then fever is the perpetrator. Also, the worse part is that if the fever reaches more than 41°C, your feline friend is at risk of organ damage. 

On the other hand, fever in cats is treatable. Plus, recovery time will be fast with proper rest, water intake, and antibiotics. Yet, take note that cat fever must only be treated with strict veterinary medicine


Heatstroke is deadly to animals, tiny pets.  Common misleading information about heatstroke is that dogs are the only ones affected. Whereas in reality, even the most heat-tolerant cats suffer from it. 

If you’re wondering why your indoor cat’s ears are hot, then that could be due to your furry friend’s heat-seeking tendencies. For felines, warm spots provide comfort. Yet, little did they know that too much heat can clog their lungs and dehydrate their bodies. 

In addition, common symptoms of heat stroke involve weakness, vomiting, muscle tremors, and excessive panting. Furthermore, senior cats over 15 years old are the most prone to suffer heatstrokes. 

Natural Temperature

Your cats’ ears are supposed to be warm, and it’s no big deal. Cats have a different internal thermostat that’s naturally warmer than humans. Hence, that’s also why they’re heat tolerant in temperatures not exceeding 40°C.

On the other hand, if you’re in doubt, you can check your cat’s natural temperature using the following methods. 

  • Rectal: Vets consider this method the most specific way to determine a cat’s temperature. However, this is a messy way to do that since it involves inserting a thermometer inside a cat’s rectum, and only 53% of cats tolerate that discomfort. 
  • Ear or Tympanic: This is the common way of checking body temperature. However, this isn’t accurate since ear wax and hairs may hinder its precision. 
  • Axillary: Your cat’s temperature can also be checked using its armpits. Yet, this is the least reliable among all methods since the furs inhibit its correctness. 

Regulating Body Temperature

If you’re wondering why your cat’s ears are hot, that could be due to thermoregulation. During cold seasons, cats maintain their temperature. Hence they have the stamina to face harsh climates. Like dogs, cats are homeotherms, so their body temperature becomes regulated through panting, shivering, or sweating. 

Moreover, in the wild, cats are vicious hunters. With that said, their bodies learned to adapt to the harsh weather in terms of survival, and they learned to regulate their temperature to keep themselves warm.

How to Clean a Cat’s Ears 

Felines are masters of thermoregulation. Hence, that’s the reason why your cat’s ears are warm even in cold seasons. Well, since cats’ ears play an important part in their homeostasis, it’s crucial that pet owners clean them regularly. 

Cats are meticulous groomers. As pet owners, you may notice that cats groom each other’s heads, bodies, and even ears. Yet, feline grooming can’t really clean dirt or debris stuck in body parts, especially ears. 

Same as humans, cats need earwax too. However, in some cases, ear wax multiplies rapidly, resulting in illnesses. Thus, cats’ ears become hot, itchy, and infected when that happens. Here are some ways to clean your cat’s ears to prevent that. Just follow the simple steps outlined below.

  • Don’t overclean. According to vets, the ideal timeframe to clean your cat’s healthy ears is every two to three months
  • Choose a calm environment. To be precise, pick a place with minimal noise since this will make your pet feel safe and relaxed. 
  • Prep your feline. If your cat is still anxious, then wrap him in a soft blanket. This will support him and create a burrito effect, where his head only sticks out.  
  • Proceed to clean. Use cotton balls or pads and a cleanser specifically made for cats. Also, take note to avoid cotton swabs since they make poke your cat’s eardrums. 

Why Are My Cats Ears Hot: FAQ

Should I worry if only one of my cat’s ears feels hot?

If only one of your cat’s ears feels hot, it could indicate a localized issue such as an infection, inflammation, or injury. This is especially true if the hot ear is accompanied by other symptoms like redness, swelling, or discharge, or your cat appears in pain or constantly scratching the ear. However, it could also be due to harmless reasons, such as your cat lying on one side.

If the single hot ear persists, or if your cat exhibits discomfort or unusual behavior, it’s best to consult with a vet to rule out any health problems.

Should cats’ ears be hot?

Yes, it’s normal. Well, the main reason cats’ ears get hot is homeostasis. They regulate their body temperature as their survival instincts. Their natural body temperature ranges from 37° to 39°C, much higher than humans. 

How can you tell if your cat has a fever?

When a cat’s ears are hot, it doesn’t mean something is wrong with your feline. However, in some cases, it’s possible. Fever is a common illness that affects all creatures in the animal kingdom. Also, this illness gets easily detected due to its common signs; loss of appetite, weakness, and a temperature that exceeds 39°C

Do cats’ ears get hot when stressed?

According to scientists, another reason cats’ ears are hot is stress. Well, stress can mimic fever and hike up the temperature. Hence, to prevent your feline from being in a stressful situation, ensure that you provide for his needs while maintaining his personal space. 

Can a hot environment cause my cat’s ears to feel warm?

A hot environment can cause a cat’s ears to feel warm. Cats, like other mammals, regulate their body temperature through various methods, and one of them is through their ears, which have a rich supply of blood vessels close to the surface. In a hot environment, you might notice your cat’s ears becoming warmer as they try to dissipate excess body heat.

Is it normal for a cat’s ears to feel warm during or after playtime?

Yes, it is normal for a cat’s ears to feel warm during or after playtime. When cats are active, their body temperature naturally rises, and this heat can be detected in various parts of their body, including the ears. The increased blood flow helps regulate body temperature and supply nutrients to active muscles.

However, if the warmth in your cat’s ears persists long after playtime or is accompanied by other symptoms such as lethargy, loss of appetite, or unusual behavior, it may be advisable to consult a vet.

It’s normal that cats’ ears are hot because, let’s face it,  felines are warm-blooded. Yet, there are certain scenarios where their temperature exceeds the 39°C limit. That condition can be due to stress, fever, ear infections, or too much heat absorption. Hence, to be sure, it’s always best to consult a vet regarding your furry friend’s health. 

One comment on “Why Are My Cats Ears Hot”

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