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Can Cats Get a Sunburn?

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If you have a cat, then you may be familiar with how dedicated they are to lying out in the sun. Forget handmade toys and futuristic water bowls, sometimes it seems that the only thing that can satisfy our feline friends is a warm patch of sun for them to nap in for hours on end. But did you know that a cat taking a snooze drenched in sun rays can actually cause more harm than good? POPSUGAR connected with two vets who spoke more about whether or not cats can get a sunburn.

Can Cats Get a Sunburn?

Anthony Hall, DVM, MPH, expert veterinarian at Airvet, shared that cats can, in fact, get a sunburn. “Regardless if your cat spends its time indoors or outdoors, it can indeed get a sunburn the same way people can,” Dr. Hall told POPSUGAR. He said that while all cats can potentially experience adverse effects from the sun, white-haired cats and hairless cats, such as those belonging to the Sphynx breed, tend to have the highest risk.

Because of this, if you have a cat that loves to spend hours soaking up the sun, it is very important that you make sure to stay aware of any signs that could indicate sun damage. Dr. Hall shared that these red flags can include darkening pigment of the skin and burns around the cat’s nose and lips. Just like humans, cats also have the potential to develop skin cancer over time from sun damage.

How Can I Prevent My Cat From Getting a Sunburn?

Thankfully, there are some simple ways to help prevent your cat from getting a sunburn. Dr. Hall suggested that trying to keep your cat in the shade when it is sunny out and applying sunscreen to them is the best prevention owners can take. “A few attempts have been made for pet-friendly sunblock products, but as you can imagine, most are not feline friendly as cats tend to lick the product off their nose,” Dr. Hall cautioned.

Brian Bourquin, DVM, founder and chief medical officer at Boston Veterinary Clinic, also had some suggestions that can aid owners in helping their pet avoid sun damage. For instance, if your cat is an outdoor cat, be sure to set up a space with an umbrella for them to have quick access to shade. “If you have an indoor cat that loves to sit by the windows, which may not be UV protected, draw your blinds closed during the hours the sun is the strongest,” he added. He explained that this could motivate your cat to find another sun-free spot to lie in around the house.

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