Basking in the sun for too long can be dangerous for humans and too much exposure risks causing melanoma. Sunbathing for cats is just as risky, and over exposure to ultra violet rays may cause feline skin cancer.
White cats are more prone to the harmful rays of the sun and tend to reach their sunning limit quicker compared to the darker breeds.
The most vulnerable areas on their body include ears, noses, and abdomen. Effects are more explicit in these areas as the protective hair covering is missing. This allows direct exposure to the harmful ultra violet rays causing burns and skin problems.
Why Do Cats Like The Sun?
Furry pets are believed to have a special fondness for basking in the sun with their bellies up. Kitties are sunbathers by design. With a fur coat wrapped around their bodies, kitties have a body temperature of 102 degrees F. Nature has made their bodies capable to withstand solar heat to some extent. When they are asleep their body temperature drops, and hot rays keep them warm.
Dangers of Sunbathing for Cats
Cats are extremely sensitive to solar rays. Exposure to solar radiation may cause sunburn and heatstroke in kitties. Over-exposure begins with mild redness on delicate ear margins or lightly furred areas of the skin. The vulnerability of these areas stems from the fact that these lack protective skin pigment or melanin. This may soon turn in to more red with skin lesions and hair loss along the ear margins.
Gradually lesions may become more severe, resulting in redness, skin peeling, and crusts on ears. Not only this, ears may become itchy, and the kitty may experience severe pain and curling on ear margins. This may gradually result in actinic keratosisor squamous cell carcinoma.
Scaly spots, itching, and skin thickening are some of the signs of sun damage. If you spot any of these signs, your tabby needs immediate medical assistance. Consult a vet and start treatment before the situation gets worse and assumes the form of skin cancer.
Undoubtedly, prevention is the best medicine. No doubt, kitties love to bask in the sun, but they are unaware of the dangers of too much sunbathing for cats.
Keep your furry friends indoors when the sun is shining brightly and do not let doors and windows open to allow them to sunbathe. However, adding a reflective film on your windows can help filter out UV rays. This will ensure that the sunlight she loves to bathe in is diffused.
It is a grave mistake to give her a full-body shave or crew cut to provide her some relief from summer heat. By doing so, you are only exposing her to excessive heat and dangerous radiation of the sun.
Do Cats Need Sunscreen?
You may want to apply sunscreen on the lightly pigmented or thinly furred areas on your tabby who loves to bathe in the sun and cannot be kept away from sunbathing.
A sunblock labeled for use on felines can be applied on the areas not covered by hair to prevent their skin from direct exposure. Avoid using your own sunscreen on your furry family member, as certain chemicals in human products may pose a choking hazard for felines.
Although kitties have ultimate fun in the sun, they can suffer from the skin damaging effects of solar rays. While ultra violet A rays cause sun-induced aging and melanoma, UVB rays may cause sunburns in cats.
When it comes to choosing a sunscreen for kitty, pick one that promises to act as a lifeguard against UVA and UVB and can prevent sunburn, premature aging of the skin, and melanoma.
Remember, ingesting or absorbing hard to metabolize substances is a recipe for disaster for the kitty and requires immediate medical help.
You may want to avoid all products with zinc oxide and octyl salicylate, which are toxic to your furry friends. The danger increases greatly, as cats tend to lick themselves more than other pets, which raises the risk of ingestion of any topical cream applied on them.
How To Treat Sunburn in Cats
Now you must be wondering about the dangers of sunbathing for cats, since they know where to absorb maximum heat without overheating themselves.
Well, although the warmth of the sun may feel relaxing and comforting to your furry friend, they do have some physical characteristics that make them vulnerable to sunburns. Especially kitties with thin or sparse hair are at a high risk of sunburn compared to some of their furry friends.
A vet is the best person to medically treat your cat’s sunburn. Depending on the severity of sunburn, your tabby may need an antibiotic therapy to treat any infection symptoms. The vet may suggest a topical or oral steroid.
Your kitty may need to undergo biopsy to determine if the area has developed cancerous cells. She may require surgical intervention to amputate the affected area.
Making yourself aware of the dangers of sunbathing for cats is the best way to keep your furry friends safe from the skin-damaging dangers of ultra violet rays of the sun. Perhaps prevention is better than cure!