SPF, SPF, SPF - whenever summer is close and staying outside becomes much more fun than lounging on the couch with the newest Netflix series, we hear a lot about having to protect ourselves from the sun with SPF. Recently we started to wonder if cats who, after all, love to bask in the sunshine, should also be somehow protected from the UV rays? Is their fur enough of a protective layer? Today on the blog we’ll be looking for answers and checking how to properly care for cats’ skin and fur in the summer. Will you join us, fabCats?
Sunny days are cat paradise
Visible happiness on the face of a cat basking in the first rays of sunshine is a sight you can’t not love. No wonder they will be the first to get out and find the best spot for lounging as soon as you open the doors to your balcony or patio and they won’t be going back home until the sun sets. That’s just the cat nature and there’s no point in fighting it. But as cat Carers, we can think about what to do to make their outdoor relaxation as safe as possible.
If your cats like sunbathing, remember, dear fabCats, to always:
- give them the opportunity to hide in the shade it gets too warm;
- give them constant access to fresh water they can drink to quench their thirst or use to cool themselves down (some cats drink by putting their paw in the water, which also helps them to cool down their bodies after sunbathing);
- as much as it is possible, limit their access to the balcony/patio when the temperatures are the highest (early mornings and late evenings are much safer);
- give them access to a room with good air circulation. When the air is still, the temperatures can get unbearable and cats, whose bodies are not as resilient as ours, will feel the effects of that much quicker.
- provide them with cool surface to move around on. Whether they’re walking or getting cozy for a nap, give your cat a chance to get to their destination without having to step on a hot floor that’s burning their paws or lay on it. A cat bed or a scratcher will get warm, but never as hot as a tiled floor or a metal window sill.
Both scratchers and myKotty cat beds will do fantastic as summer furnishings for a balcony or a patio - the cotton covers of the cat bed stay nicely warm, but never hot, even if we put them in direct sun, while the corrugated cardboard of the myKotty scratchers stays neutral and doesn’t get so hot it could burn cats’ delicate paws.
Do cats need sun protection?
Cat fur is their best protective barrier their skin could ever need. It does not only keep cats’ body temperature at the right level, come spring and summer, but it also protects the skin from different external factors, UV being one of them. We have to watch out for UV not only in the summer, on the hottest and sunniest days, but throughout the entire year. Cats’ fur does protect the skin from harmful effects of the UV rays, preventing burns, dry skin and even skin cancer that could happen from excessive exposition to the sun. Looking at the cat as a whole we could assume they don’t need SPF - their fluffy coats will do just fine. But there’s one thing we can’t forget…
Ears and noses - the unprotected areas of a cat’s body. Cats’ ears and noses are often pale pink, covered with just a little fuzz or nothing at all. Exposing them to direct sunlight over a long period of time can be really harmful and lead to skin cancers. Special attention should be paid to white cats whose skin is often very pale and sensitive and their noses and ears are very light pink. For cats with a darker coat, the risk of skin cancers is lower, but almost all cats who spend a lot of time in direct sunlight have a risk of health issues.
What can we do? Use SPF! Since our skin requires such protection, why wouldn’t we provide it to our cats as well. A cream that is to be put on a cat's skin should be designed specifically for cats - safe for the times when the cat decides to lick it off and gentle enough for their sensitive skin. Cats are maniacs when it comes to hygiene so whenever you use any topical creams and ointments, you have to expect them to lick or rub it off quickly. You can find information on that in a recent Instagram post by Agnieszka Cholewiak-Góralczyk (@surowe_kotki).
The importance of sun protection should also be a priority for cat Carers whose pets have really short or no hair, like the sphinx cat. Their skin requires very specific care, hygiene and protection all year round and it’s definitely good to consult your breeder, vet, dermatologist and hairless cat experts to give your cats the best living conditions.
Direct protection is not everything
Cats of team myKotty are not in the high risk group when it comes to sun exposure, especially with our scottish folds who not only have darker fur, but also folded ears which are kind of self protecting the inner ear from sun exposure. Regardless, when we stumbled upon the topic of SPF for cats and the need to use it, we were intrigued enough to explore the topic much closer. Getting ready for the summer and long evenings spent outside, we definitely chose to diversify the measures used to protect us and our cats from the sun, making sure our furs can always hide from the sun in a safe, shaded hide. The MIA cat house does great in this scenario as it provides shade, but also gives the cats a great view of their surroundings and thanks to two separate entrances, it’s always airy and fresh inside. Ready for lounging!
Have you, fabCats, ever thought about the need to protect your cats from the sun and using SPF on their exposed body parts? Drop your ideas, suggestions and tips in the comments and remember to take care not just of your cats, but yourselves as well - we only have one skin and it has to be with us for our whole lives :)