Expert reveals how to protect cats during hot weather and lessen risk of them developing cancer

22 July 2021, 13:51 | Updated: 23 July 2021, 16:35

Fluff, left, had to have his ears removed due to sun damage
Fluff, left, had to have his ears removed due to sun damage. Picture: Cats Protection Bridgend / Getty
Heart reporter

By Heart reporter

Pale-coloured cats, or cats that have unpigmented white noses or ears, are at particular risk from the sun’s rays which can cause sunburn and skin cancer.

Cats LOVE basking in the sun, which puts them at even greater risk during scorching hot weather.

Many pet owners are unaware that cats, particularly ones with light coloured fur, can develop skin cancer if they suffer repeated incidents of sun burn.

It can take a few years before the damage is visible, but once the early stages of cancer set in, cats require urgent veterinary treatment to prevent it spreading.

Some felines can suffer long term damage including, in severe cases, having to have their ear tips removed, or their entire ears.

Fluff is one example of a cat who had to have emergency surgery to save his life.

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Fluff's sun damaged ears tips had to be removed while he was in the care of the Cats Protection
Fluff's sun damaged ears tips had to be removed while he was in the care of the Cats Protection. Picture: Bridgend Cats Protection

He was in the care of the Cats Protection's Bridgend branch when he was operated on to remove the tips of his ears, which had turned cancerous. Left untreated he would have died an incredibly slow and painful death.

Once he had recovered, he was found a new loving home.

But things don't have to get as bad for your cat as they did for poor Fluff.

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This cat is enjoying the sun in a very sophisticated way!
This cat is enjoying the sun in a very sophisticated way! Picture: Getty

The experts at Cats Protection, who help rescue and rehome 200,000 cats in the UK every year, have shared five bits of key advice to keep pet cats safe in warm weather.

  • Keep pet cats indoors when the sun is at its hottest, typically between 10am and 3pm
  • Speak to a vet about a suitable sunscreen for pet cats
  • Provide plenty of shade for pet cats when they are outdoors, such as providing cat hides, large cardboard boxes or plant plots placed close together
  • Always provide an outdoor water bowl to minimise the risk of your cat becoming dehydrated
  • To stop cats feeling overheated, place a plastic bottle with frozen water inside a towel and place it in an area that the cat frequently visits

Photo shows Fluff, a cat with sun damaged ears who was brought to Cats Protection’s Bridgend Adoption Centre. His ear tips had to be removed while he was in care and he has since been rehomed. Please could you credit the photo as above if using it.   2. Cats Protection is the UK’s leading feline charity, founded in 1927

Cats Protection is a national network of around 210 volunteer-run branches and 37 centres, helping around 200,000 cats and kittens every year.