Can cats get sunburned?

Extensive sunbathing in summer is not only appreciated by people, but also by cats. In order not to get sunburned, bipeds usually apply lotion. In cats, however, it is often assumed that their fur protects them from the harmful UV rays of the sun. But is that true? White cats are particularly at risk for sunburn - Shutterstock / Coniferine

In fact, cats can also get sunburned. Especially the little hairy areas on the ears, nose and mouth are exposed to the dangerous UV radiation. The most protected need bright fur noses and room tigers without fur like the Sphynx cat.

Sunburn in cats: underestimated risk?

Oh, such a small sunburn is not that bad! Or does it? People get sunburnt after a few hours and usually heals with the help of cooling gels and special ointments after a few days. Velvet paws, on the other hand, show less clear symptoms. Warm, flaky, reddened skin, scratches on the ears or nose are the first signs of sunburn in cats.

Do not ignore or trivialize these warning signals, but cool the areas with cold envelopes and apply a soothing ointment. You can get these from the vet. The affected cat should choose cool, shady spots to rest in the following days and preferably not be outdoors. Otherwise, the condition worsens: the scratches get bigger, the skin redder, the hair falls out at the spot. In extreme cases, this can lead to skin cancer. In an emergency, you can only tackle this with an amputation. This may still be possible on the ears, but not on the nose. Only radiation treatment can be tried here. Cat sunburn is not to be trifled with. Prevent in time - this can save lives!

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White cats particularly at risk

The greatest risk of sunburn is for velvet paws with light fur on the ears, nose and mouth, as well as for Sphynx cats and other furless house tigers. The latter must be protected from the sun's rays all over, since they have no fur that at least largely protects them from sunburn. Light-colored fur noses usually also have light-colored skin, which is particularly sensitive to UV rays. In this case, use a special cat sunscreen, but make sure that it is not oil-based - that would be toxic to your kitty.