Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Types, Treatment, and Prevention of Sunburns in Cats

As I noted in an earlier post, cats can get sunburned just like humans. Sunburns raise the risk of your cat developing skin cancer in the future. Thus, it is important to know how to prevent sunburn. It's also important to be able to spot the signs and symptoms of sunburn in your cat so that he or she can get prompt treatment for it if it occurs.

While white cats are especially prone to sunburns, any place where a cat has thin fur is also prone to getting burned. These places include a feline's ears, stomach, and nose.


Prevention is always best when it comes to sunburns in pets. There are several ways in which you may prevent your furry friend from getting a burn in the warmer months. First, make sure your cat stays out of the sun during the sun's peak hours - between 10am to 4pm.

Next, if your kitty goes outside, lays in sunbeams, or sits in the window while the sun is out, you can put sunscreen on him or her to protect your kitty from burns. Some veterinarians recommend using a sunscreen with an SPF of 50 or higher that is safe to use on infants. Ask your veterinarian for his or her recommendations for your furry friend. Be sure to apply the sunscreen to your cat's thin-skinned areas if he or she is not white or light-colored. If your furry friend is white or light colored, it is best to apply sunscreen all over his or her body to protect against sunburn. You should reapply sunscreen every two hours for best protection.

Finally, make sure your cat always has access to shade, whether he or she is spending time indoors or out. If your kitty likes spending time sunbathing or looking out the window, you can buy UV window film from your local home improvement store. The film is easy to apply and remove. The film is also available for sliding glass doors. As an added bonus, the film also helps keep your home cooler during the summer.

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of sunburn in your cat will help you know when your pet needs medical attention.

Types of Sunburns:

First degree burns: When your cat has a first-degree sunburn, the top layer of his or her skin is affected. The burn will be red or pink in appearance.

Second degree burns: When your feline is suffering from a second degree sunburn, not only is the top layer of skin burned, but so is the layer of skin underneath the top layer. The burned skin will be red in appearance. There may also be blisters present.

Third degree burns: A third degree sunburn affects all the layers of a feline's skin. The affected area may appear white and dry or crusty.

Cats who are suffering from any degree of sunburn may begin to experience itchiness and/or pain. If your furry friend itches a sunburn a lot, it may also lead to bleeding and/or infection.


If you notice your cat has ANY degree of sunburn, it is important to get him or her veterinary care as soon as possible.

Treatment for sunburns in cats depends on what type of burn your furry friend has. Cleaning the burn, shaving the hair around the burn, antibiotics, and topical creams may be needed for first and second degree sunburns. Treatment of third degree sunburns requires hospitalization with intravenous fluids, daily bandage changes and wound care, topical creams, and possibly skin grafts.

Please take care of your cat's skin this summer to prevent your kitty from getting burned.

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