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Cats and Sunburn

Cats and Sunburn
by Dr Grant Hampson

Read time: 2 min

Like us, cats can’t resist the call of Vitamin D. In summer, you know where your cat will be based on which slither of carpet is bathed in sunlight.

But unlike us, cats don't know how to protect themselves from the sun. They can't whack on the SPF 50. But they can get burned. So as hardcore cat parents who care about every aspect of their health, it's our job to protect them.

Which cats are at risk of sunburn?

Even though most cats have fur, they can all still get sunburn. White and hairless cats are most susceptible, but all cats need protection. Their ears, noses, eyelids and mouths have the least fur and are most at risk.

What health risks does sunburn pose for cats?

It's not just a little red skin we're talking about. In humans, continuous sun exposure can lead to conditions like melanoma – and the danger for cats is no less serious. Cats who have continuous sun exposure are at risk of a condition called feline solar dermatitis, or FSD. What starts as redness can progress to crusty, scaly and painful skin, or even become cancerous.

How can I protect my cat from sunburn?

  1. Keep your cat indoors and in the shade. The best solution is always prevention. In warm weather, keep your cat inside when the sun is at its strongest, between 10am - 4pm. Even during cooler hours, check your garden has some shady spots. A leafy tree, garden table or cat tent can provide a cooling sanctuary.

  2. Use cat-safe sunblock. We know trying to stop your cat sunbathing can be an impossible mission. So make a habit of applying sunblock to the at-risk areas of your cat every day. Cats will try their best to lick it off, so use cat-safe sunblock you’ll find in pet shops. This Filtabac Antibacterial Sunblock is recommended by our veterinary team. To allow the sunblock time to dry and stop them from grooming, bring out your cat’s favourite toy and play with them.

  3. Cool snacks as a distraction. On the hottest days, try mixing some KatKin Sprinkles with water to make flavoursome ice cubes. Portioning their favourite fresh KatKin recipe into an ice cube tray and freezing will do the same trick. It’ll keep your cat cool, and stop them from licking off their sunblock while it dries.

  4. Patch test your sunblock. Remember, it’s recommended to do a small patch test of sunblock before applying it more thoroughly. Start with a very small amount of product on a hard-to-scratch spot, like the outer tip of their ear and wait at least 24 hours to check for a reaction.

Short term, your cat may be grumpy that you’re denying them delicious sun rays. But you don’t mess around when it comes to cat care. You know you’re ultimately giving your cat a happier and healthier life.

Need more advice?

Our in-house team of cat-loving vets, nurses and customer champions are on hand to help. If you have any questions, we’re here seven days a week on 020 4538 4144 and at

Can’t get enough cat photos? Looking for like-minded cat parents? Join us over at the KatKin Club House on Facebook.

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