Does my cat need sunscreen?

While our cats might enjoy lying out in the sun on those warmer days, this doesn’t come without its dangers. Our feline friends need to be protected from the sun and its potentially harmful rays.

Here’s everything you need to know about helping keep your cat safe with sunscreen.

Do cats get sunburnt?

Just like us humans, our cats can suffer from sunburn due to the nature of their skin, with some breeds more susceptible than others.

This includes cats:

  • With light or white-coloured fur
  • That suffer from hair loss
  • Who have been shaved (following surgery etc.)
  • With pink noses
  • Who go outside during the day
  • With thin or no hair

While our pet’s fur provides some protection from sunlight, it’s important to remember that they still have some vulnerable areas where there is thinner, less or no fur at all. The most common areas to be damaged by the sun in cats include the:

  • Ears
  • Nose
  • Belly
  • Back
  • Tip of the tail

Is sunscreen safe for cats?

To help protect your cat, you should always apply sunscreen to their most vulnerable areas. Only use cream or wipes that are specifically made for cats to prevent an adverse reaction in your pet, especially as they love to groom themselves.

Your chosen sunscreen should be:

  • Fragrance-free to avoid irritation
  • Waterproof to provide longer protection
  • Providing UVA and UVB protection
  • Free from zinc oxide
  • Made to be used on cats

These can be found at pet shops or if you have any questions or concerns, it might be worth speaking with your vet.

Cat with white fur

How to apply sunscreen to cats

We know it might seem like an impossible task trying to apply sunscreen to a cat that would much rather claw at you to get free, so here are some top tips to help keep your feline friend protected.

  • Test it first! Always test the cream you plan on using by applying a small patch to your cat’s skin to make sure they won’t have an adverse skin reaction to the product.
  • Rub it in! Making sure that the cream is properly absorbed by your cat’s skin will offer maximum protection.
  • All the spots! Pay attention to their most vulnerable areas or exposed patches and cover them with sunscreen.
  • Top up! As the day goes on make sure to reapply sunscreen even if they’re still indoors.
  • Treats! Be sure to reward your cat for letting you slather sunscreen on their skin.
  • Back up plan! Cats can be feisty! If things do not go as planned, keep them indoors and stop them from sleeping on windowsills or in the sun.

Signs of sunburn in cats

If your cat is suffering from sunburn it will display similar signs to humans, such as:

  • Redness
  • Irritation
  • Hair loss
  • Dry skin
  • Crusting
  • Blisters
  • Pain
  • Sensitivity

How to treat sunburns at home
If your cat has suffered from mild sunburn, this might be possible to treat at home. If you have any concerns, find any new bumps or scabs or you’re unsure of the seriousness of your cat’s injury, call your vet for advice.

  • Keep your cat out of the sun until their skin has healed as this can help prevent making the wound worse or developing even more burns.
  • Using a cold compress against your cat’s skin can help keep it cool but stop if your cat shows any signs of discomfort.
  • Keep your cat indoors, draw the curtains and keep them out of the sunlight if they’re eager to bask in its warmth.

Why it’s important to protect your cat from the sun

While sunburn is uncomfortable, it’s not the only risk of too much sun exposure. It can lead to several potential life-threatening health conditions including:

  • Skin cancer
  • Heatstroke
  • Dehydration

If you have any concerns about your cat, the vets at Joii Pet Care are always on hand to help. Otherwise, always speak to your local veterinary clinic for advice.

Looking for more cat advice?

We’ve written some handy cat advice guides, to help you unlock the secrets of your mysterious moggy.


Need cat insurance?

Cat insurance can help cover the cost of veterinary treatment if your cat gets injured or falls ill.


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As one of the UK’s largest pet insurance providers, Animal Friends works with vets, veterinary professionals, and partners pioneering the latest veterinary technology & healthcare advancements to achieve our vision.
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