What Does It Mean When Cats' Ears Are Hot?

When a cat's ears get hot, it can be a sign that something is amiss. A cat's behavior and bodily reactions can all be examined to help determine if a problem is present that needs to be further investigated. While hot ears may be nothing to worry about, you must pay close attention to other possible symptoms. A complete set of symptoms will be more informative about possible problems with your cat's health.

Cats' Ears

A cat's ears are just one part of the body that helps to regulate temperature. The pads on the bottom of the feet are another area that can be checked for heat, if a fever is suspected. When a cat's ears are very hot to the touch, this can, but not always, indicate a fever. It may be simply that the cat has been lying in the sun, or has become overheated in some way and the body is attempting to cool down. One of the best ways to determine your next step is to observe for other symptoms.

Other Symptoms

If a cat's ears are hot and no other symptoms are present, it likely means that the cat's body is simply doing its job correctly. Notice the cat's behavior, however. If there are any changes, the cat seems listless, sluggish, sleeps excessively or isn't acting in a usual way, this may be cause for concern. Cats have a very high tolerance for pain and illness and will not usually show outward signs until the problem has exacerbated. If you notice any other symptoms, even subtle changes, it's recommended to research possible causes.

Check for a Cat Fever

When a cat's ears are hot and a fever is suspected, there are other signs that you can look for to determine if this is the case. Checking for a warm and dry nose is not always the most telling approach, but this can also help to indicate a fever. The most reliable way to check is by taking your cat's temperature. Use a regular thermometer or pediatric rectal glass. You'll need some lubricating jelly, and it's likely a second person will be required to complete the job. You may want to wrap the cat in a towel to prevent injury, and be careful to keep the cat very still when performing this procedure. Insert the thermometer into the rectum and wait for two minutes.

Cat Fever Results

The normal range for a cat's temperature falls between 100.5 and 102.5 degrees. Even if the cat's behavior is unusual and the cat's ears are hot, when the temperature falls in this range, a fever is not present. A high fever is indicated for anything above 102.5 degrees, but when the temperature reaches 104 and above, this should be cause for immediate concern. Fever is actually a beneficial process, as it works to kill off bacteria, but very high temperatures for longer than a day or two can lead to dehydration, seizures or brain damage.