Saturday, May 28, 2011

Protecting Your Cat Against the Sun

This Memorial Day weekend marks the start of summer, unofficially. Thus, it's time to remind all cat owners of the dangers the sun poses to your cat.

Many cats are at risk of developing sunburns, even those who remain strictly indoors. White cats and cats who have thin fur are especially at risk for developing sunburns. However, certain parts on every feline's body where the skin is thinner can easily be burned. These areas include a cat's ears, tummies, and noses, especially pink noses.

If your cat spends time outside during the summer, he or she needs to have access to shade at all times. In addition, you should apply sunscreen to your cat's entire body if he or she is light-pigmented and to thin-skinned areas if your cat is not.

Even cats who spend time indoors sunbathing or looking outside the window can get sunburned. Similar to cats who spend time outside during the summer months, you should apply sunscreen to your feline's entire body if he or she is light in color and to thin-skinned areas if he or she is not light colored.

Dr. Alison Diesel, who is a lecturer of small animal dermatology at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences asserts that sunscreens with SPFs of 50+ and that are safe to use on infants are also safe to use on felines. However, it is always best to ask your veterinarian for his or her suggestions about what is safe to use on your cat. Though they are hard to find, there are sunscreens on the market made specifically for cats.

Similar to humans, you will need to reapply sunscreen to your cat every two hours, regardless of whether he or she is spending time outside in the sun or inside sunbathing or spending time perched in the windowsill.

Darker colored cats are also prone to the dangers of the sun. These felines are more prone to heat stress because their coats do not reflect as much light as lighter coated felines do. Thus, darker coated cats may be more prone to developing heat stroke or heat exhaustion.

Keeping your cat out of the sun at the sun's peak hours will also help you protect your feline from developing sunburns, heat stroke, and heat exhaustion. The sun's peak hours typically span from early afternoon to evening.

Source: CatChannel: Sun Danger for Cats

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