It's not just humans who need protection from the sun – cats can get sunburned too

White or light coloured cats and breeds with a lack of fur, such as Sphynx cats, are more susceptible to sun damage due to a lack of melanin and protective hair. Cats who spend a lot of time outside are also at an increased risk and whilst any part of a cat can burn, areas with little hair cover, such as the ears, are most susceptible. 

Unfortunately, prolonged sun exposure can lead to thickened areas of skin that may become crusty, cracked and even bleed. These areas can eventually develop into skin cancer. Fortunately, the cancer rarely spreads around the body and removal of the affected area normally cures the problem.

The end result may not be a pretty sight, but it’s important to remove the lesion.
Cats with lesions removed

Prevention is always better than cure. To help prevent sun damage, especially if you have a cat which falls in to one of the more susceptible categories, follow these tips:

Apply sun cream to vulnerable areas on sunny days. Ideally creams should be based on titanium dioxide, the one readily-available product suitable for cats being Aniwell Filta Clear. As specific pet products are few and far between, hypoallergenic or baby human products may be suitable - avoid using sunscreens containing zinc oxide and always speak to your veterinarian if you are unsure which brands are safe to use on cats. Bear in mind that just like humans, cats can also burn on cloudy days.

Keep them inside and out of the sun during the hottest parts of the day when the sun is strongest and ensure your cat has a few cool and shady spots to retreat to dotted around the house and garden. 

Indoor cats who like to bask in the sun can also be at risk so close curtains and pull down shades on hot days.

If you think your cat’s skin has been affected by the sun, or you notice any skin changes please seek veterinary attention. Treatment will depend on the severity of the skin damage.

For further advice on sunburn in cats, visit: http://www.cat-world.com.au/sunburn-solar-dermatitis-in-cats.html#sthash.yJsetb0y.dpuf

For advice on keeping your cat cool, healthy and safe during hot weather, visit: https://icatcare.org/advice/weather-hazards

news date: 

21.06.2017