Many cats love soaking up the sunshine, choosing the warmest spots in the garden to enjoy. Make sure you take precautions to avoid your cat getting dehydrated or sunburnt. Overexposure can lead to skin cancer.
Provide plenty of shade both inside and out. From sheltered plant pots to cardboard boxes, these items offer makeshift sunshades for outdoor-loving moggies.
Think about planting shrubs or using cat hides and boxes in the garden. These help your cat hide away from the sun’s potentially harmful rays.
If your cat has white fur, try keeping them inside between 10am and 3pm, when the sun is at its hottest. Speak to a vet about suitable sunscreen for cats, to ensure they don’t suffer from sunburn.
Keeping your cat cool inside your home is important too. Place fans around the house to keep the air circulating, remembering not to point the fan directly at your cat.
Another handy tip is to freeze a bottle of water, wrap it in a towel or pillowcase and place it somewhere your cat goes regularly. This stops them from feeling overheated during hotter spells. Remember to ensure that your cat can get away from the bottle if they chose to, and make sure the bottle does not leak!
For cats most at risk, such as white cats or cats with thin or no hair, the answer is yes. Applying sun cream to vulnerable areas will offer protection and help prevent sun damage.
When choosing a sunscreen for your cat, use one specifically for pets and, if in doubt, speak to your vet for a recommendation. When applying, focus on your cat’s nose, tips of the ears, belly and groin areas as well as anywhere that has thin to no fur.
It is important when choosing a sun cream to avoid ingredients like zinc oxide and a group of chemicals that are referred to as salicylates. Repeated exposure to zinc oxide on the skin could lead to zinc toxicity, which can damage red blood cells, and it could also cause a stomach upset or allergic reaction if ingested. If eaten in large amounts, it could even cause stomach ulcers or liver problems, although this is rare.
Salicylates are products in the same category as aspirin, and cats are particularly susceptible to salicylate toxicity. Don’t forget to keep an eye on your own skincare products – keep them far out of paws’ reach!
Signs of toxicity include:
If you’d prefer not to use sun cream on your cat, try to limit their time in the sun and make sure they are taking breaks from the sunshine, especially during peak afternoon hours.
When your cat does not take in enough fluid through drinking or eating a wet (canned) diet, your cat can become dehydrated. During the summer months, this is more likely to happen. Normal hydration is important for cats as it helps maintain a normal body temperature, removes wasteproducts and maintains proper circulation.
To assess whether your cat is dehydrated, look at our top tips:
To prevent your cat from getting dehydrated, encouraging them to drink water is key. Here are some ways to get your cat to drink more water: