It’s not just humans who need protection from the sun – did you know that cats can also get sunburn?
The most susceptible areas are the ears and nose, particularly in cats with white ears and/or noses, and Sphynx cats, as there is little hair or melanin to protect them.
Sunburned skin (solar dermatitis) in cats may appear hairless, thickened, red and sore, itchy, crusty and may even become ulcerated and bleed.
And just like us humans, with long-term exposure to the sun, there is a risk of squamous cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer, developing.
Prevention is always better than cure.
To help prevent sun damage, particularly in vulnerable cats, we advise you to follow our top tips:
- Apply sun cream to vulnerable areas such as the ears and nose. It is best to use specific pet-safe sun cream (usually titanium oxide-based). Avoid sun creams that contain zinc oxide. Please speak to the vets or nurses at your local Pennard Vets branch for more advice.
- Keep cats indoors out of the sun during the hottest times of the day (10am – 4pm), and make sure they have a few shady places in the house and garden to hide.
- Cats can also get sunburnt through windows, so keep the curtains or blinds closed on hot days.
If it is suspected that solar dermatitis has progressed to skin cancer, your vet will probably recommend a biopsy of the affected area, and can then advise on the best course of treatment.
If you have any queries about your cat’s skin and sun protection, please do not hesitate to contact your local Pennard Vets branch.