Cats being the hedonistic creatures they are, just love lying in the sun. If your cat is fortunate enough to have access to the great outdoors, then there is nothing more wonderful than to see him stretched out enjoying the warmth of the sun. He may be stretched out on a shed roof, or along a pathway, or even in a plant trough – as my Ricky does.

But, just as humans need to take care in the sun, so do cats. White cats have very poor protection from the sun’s rays and may, as a result from too much sunbathing, develop a type of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma on their noses and tips of their ears.

If your cat likes to regularly sunbathe then you can apply a sun block suitable for babies which won’t cause any problems if your cat licks it off. There is one product made specifically for pets called Petscreen SPF23. It has been tested on human skin and contains three different sunscreen agents to give animals a good level of protection from both UVA and UVB components of sunlight.

‘Petscreen’ is a clear non-toxic spray and the manufacturers say one application should last the whole day. It dries rapidly and is ‘lick-resistant’. You can order this on-line at www.petremedies.co.uk.  I’m not sure if there is a product available in the US. I am still researching but if any readers know of a product, please email the dailymews and this article will be updated with any further information that comes to light. 

If your cat has white ears and nose, then regular checks are essential.  Early signs of skin cancer are a reddening of the skin, which is similar to sunburn. There might also be a slight swelling or ‘crustiness’ on the affected area.  If you do notice crusty sores on your cat’s ears, take it to the vet immediately. The tips of the ears and nose can be treated the sooner it is seen than if left to ‘see what happens.’

There are a number of options open to a vet in terms of treatment. In an extreme case of skin cancer on the ears, the cat may have to have the tips, or even the entire earflap, amputated. Cats can cope pretty well without earflaps, even if they look a little odd.

Just as we humans are advised to stay out of the sun between the hours of 12.00 and 3.00pm, so it is best if we can keep our cats indoors at those times too. It is also a good idea to have shady areas in your garden where your cat can cool down. I have a rosemary bush that Ricky often retires to – and its scent is also pleasant to cats. 

A little forethought will ensure that your feline friend will live a long and happy life if these few guidelines are followed.

Both pictures showed Ricky enjoying the sunshine!

 

Five Good Reasons for Having Your Cat Neutered

  • Reduces fighting, injury and noise
  • Reduces spraying and smelling
  • Much less likely to wander and get lost
  • Safer from diseases like feline AIDS, mammary tumours and feline leukaemia
  • Reduces the number of unwanted kittens

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