Preventing Cat Sunburns

Seeing a kitty soaking up a puddle of sunshine is one of the pleasures of being a cat owner. However, that sunshine can actually harm your cat if they're exposed to it too often or for too long. Read this guide to learn whether your cat is at risk of sun damage and for tips on what you can do to prevent it.

Cats and Sunburns

Believe it or not, cats can actually develop sunburns if they stay outdoors in the sunlight for too long. Although a cat's fur can help to shield some of the light and radiation away from their skin, UV rays can still potentially penetrate through in the same way that humans can get sunburns on their scalps. Unfortunately, since cats are very good at hiding it when they're actually in pain, many pet owners might not realize that their cat even has a sunburn.

Risk Factors

Cats are more susceptible to getting sunburns if they're light-skinned, just like with people. Typically, if your cat has light-colored fur in the colors of white, orange, or yellow, they'll have pale, pinkish skin. Cats with black or brown fur tend to have darker skin that contains more melanin, increasing their protection from harmful UV rays.

However, just because your cat has dark fur doesn't mean they're safe. Dark skin can still burn, and cats' eyes are also susceptible to sun damage, which can lead to a sunburn called photokeratitis, or even blindness.


While the risk of your cat being harmed by the sun might be alarming, there are a few easy ways you can protect your cat from developing sunburns or other forms of sun damage:

  • Keep Them Indoors - Without direct exposure to sunlight, your cat will be less likely to be harmed by UV rays.

  • Close Blinds From 10am to 4pm - During these hours, UV radiation is at its strongest and can even penetrate through windows.

  • Provide Shade - If your cat does go outdoors, make sure that shade is available for them to lounge in. Simply setting up an umbrella can allow your cat to have a place to avoid excess sunlight.

If you notice that your cat's skin is peeling, chapping, or red, go to a veterinarian immediately, as your cat might have a sunburn. Preventing future sunburns can help to protect your cat from developing skin cancer, so keep this guide's tips in mind.