Photo taken in Tulcea, Romania
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Sunburn In Cats: Symptoms, Causes, & Treatments

Sunburn in cats is a condition where the sun’s rays cause burns and damage to the skin. This happens when a cat is exposed to the sun for unhealthy periods of time.

Just like with humans, it can result in a reddening of the skin and subsequent blisters and scaly areas. Hairless cats and cats with lighter colored hair are more prone to sunburns than other cats.

If you see symptoms in your cat, then you must get to your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment. Here’s what you should know about the symptoms, causes, and treatments for sunburn in cats.

Symptoms Of Sunburn In Cats

Symptoms of sunburn in cats present themselves as similar to symptoms in humans.

Some of the most common signs are as follows:

  • Skin turning red, especially sensitive areas like the belly, nose, and ears
  • Skin turning scaly
  • Scratching and itching around sunburned areas
  • Loss of hair around the ears

Causes Of Sunburn In Cats

cat sleeping in the house
(Picture Credit: MamiGibbs/Getty Images)

The main cause of sunburn in cats is spending too much time in direct sunlight. This is especially so during the hottest parts of the day.

Of course, cats love to snooze in sunbeams, so it’s important to make sure they’re also surrounded by plenty of shaded areas.

Hairless cats or cats with lighter colored fur such as white cats are usually more at risk.

Treatments For Sunburn In Cats

Your veterinarian will give your cat a full physical examination to determine the extent of any sunburn.

In general, vets grade sunburn in cats based on severity as:

  • Superficial burns
  • Deep burns
  • Full thickness burns

Treatment will depend on the seriousness of the burn. In some cases, vets will prescribe a course of antibiotics, especially if there’s been any infection. As always, if your vet prescribes a course of antibiotics for your cat, then you must administer the full amount of medicine as directed.

Vets may also recommend cortisone creams or ointments for a cats.

In cases of a full thickness burn, a skin graft might be necessary.

When attempting to prevent cases of sunburn, cat-specific sunscreens are available and should be used in accordance with your vet’s instruction. You should also keep blinds and shades closed during the hottest parts of the late morning and afternoon, especially in summer months with long daylight hours.

Has your cat ever gotten a sunburn? What treatment did your vet prescribe? Let us know in the comments section below.

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