Your Cat Can Get a Sunburn From Lying by a Window

It’s common behavior for housecats to lie in a sunny window and go to sleep. Both dogs and cats get into the habit of finding a sunny place when it’s just starting to warm up for spring and summer, but is it safe for cats to fall asleep in the sunlight? Can cats get sunburned from lying in a window? According to the ASPCA, your cat is susceptible to sunburns if he spends too much time in direct sunlight. Yes, even the light that filters through a window can cause a sunburn.

Are some cats more susceptible?

Cats that suffer from allergies or Cushing’s disease who have thinning hair are more likely to sunburn than those that have a full thick coat of fur. Also, cats with light-colored coats tend to sunburn more quickly. If your cat has any bare spots at all, these areas may get a little crispy if he falls asleep in the sun.

How to know if your cat has a sunburn?

It’s hard to tell if your cat has a sunburn because of the thick covering of fur that hides his skin. When cats get sunburns, they experience the same symptoms that people do. The skin will have a red appearance for minor burns. In more extreme cases, blisters may form. When you pick up your kitty, he may wince in pain if you come into contact with the area that is sunburned. He may whimper and act like he is in pain and he may also bite, scratch, or lick the area that is burned. Your cat may also develop a fever if the sunburn is severe.

What causes cat sunburns indoors?

According to Family Pet, it’s not the heat of the sun shining through a window, but rather the ultraviolet rays. They can travel through the pane of window glass and cause damage to your cat’s skin. Even if there is no sign of sunburn, UV rays are just as unsafe for animals as they are for humans. Skin damage can lead to cancer at some point.

What precautions should be taken?

Most cats are smart enough to get out of the sunlight from a window when it is too hot. On cooler days, they may love the heat that radiates from the glass. This exposes them to dangerous UV rays. While some sunlight is good for them, overexposure is not. If your cat is making a habit of sunning at a window, you may want to consider closing the drapes. Offer him a warmer and comfortable place to nap. This may solve the problem. You can also purchase a special UV filter film for windows. The film is inexpensive and easy to apply. This will lessen the damage caused by UV rays and give your cat the freedom to sun himself under the window without the danger of sunburn or other damage to his skin.

Other precautions

When the sun is at its fullest during the day, it’s recommended that you keep your cat indoors. Afternoons are when the sunlight is at its strongest and the UV rays are their worst. You may also apply sunblock to the exposed skin on your cat’s body. Yes, there is a sunscreen formula that is made just for cats that are sensitive to the sunlight. The most important place to cover is the ears where there is little fur coverage. If your cat has other areas of thin fur, apply the sunscreen to these areas as well. Do not use sunscreen that is made for humans. Instead, make sure that it is cat sunscreen because there is a marked difference in the formulation.

Other conditions that can be caused by UV rays

According to the Healthy Pet Club, cats can develop a condition known as solar dermatitis. It’s usually seen on the nose and ears. In the early stages, these areas become scaly, dry, and may develop scabs. They itch and cause the cat to scratch them relentlessly. Bleeding ulcers and lesions may appear. This is a condition that requires medical intervention for diagnosis and treatment. This condition does not always turn into a cancerous condition but it should be treated as soon as symptoms appear. Skin cancer is another concern. If your cat develops skin lesions that do not heal, cancer can spread or move to other parts of the body. It’s best to have all suspicious lesions examined by your veterinarian. The usual treatment for skin cancer in cats is surgical removal sometimes accompanied by radiotherapy.

Final thoughts

Cats may seem like fiercely independent and wise creatures, but they depend on us to watch out for their well-being. It’s up to us to protect them from hidden dangers that they are not aware of. Even indoor cats can sustain damage from filtered sunlight that shines through regular panes of window glass on a sunny afternoon. They are as prone to sunburn from overexposure as humans. It isn’t the heat that causes the burns, but rather, the ultraviolet rays of the sun. We owe it to our beloved pets to take measures to protect them from this type of exposure to the best of our ability. The top recommendation is to keep indoor cats in the house during the afternoon hours when the sun’s rays are their strongest. Use sunscreen made just for cats on their exposed skin. Treat indoor windows with ultraviolet filtering film or close the drapes to prevent overexposure to these dangerous rays. Watch for signs of sunburn, or other conditions that may develop as a result of overexposure to sunlight. If you suspect that your cat has had too much sun or if he shows any signs of skin problems, take him in for a checkup because it’s better to be safe than sorry.

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