If you have a cat, you have observed what it likes to sunbathe. Cats outdoors are often in the sun for hours, as if they were lizards. When they are indoors they will try to look for the sun’s rays through the windows.
You may have asked yourself: Why do cats enjoy the sun?
You should know that cats need sun, since they get comfort from the heat and prefer a good body temperature at all times, which allows them not to get cold at night.
Sunlight also provides the cat with vitamin D and helps regulate the unsterilized feline’s reproductive cycle.
Although the sun is beneficial for your pet, it can also cause some dangers.
This article looks at how your cat can safely relax in the sun.
Why do cats need sunlight?
Cats do not need sunlight beyond what other living things do. They are animals adaptable to the environment, this is how stray and wild cats survive cold winters. However, if they can choose, they will always prefer warmer climates.
Among the benefits of the sun for cats are:
1. Regulation of its temperature
Cats do not enjoy the cold, it must be taken into account that they spend many hours sleeping. By sunbathing, they can increase your body temperature. A hot cat will be more relaxed and comfortable.
This form of retention will also be useful when evening comes. As the room temperature drops, a cat will have enough heat in reserve to stay warm and comfortable.
2. Energy management
Although cats spend many hours sleeping, they maintain a constant state of consciousness . This requires energy. Additionally, cats burn significant amounts of physical and mental energy in short, controlled bursts.
When they hunt, they use every muscle in their body and brain. By lying in the sun, the cat stays warm and regains that lost energy.
3. Vitamin D
The sun’s rays help cats get the vitamin D their bodies need, but since cat hair has been shown to block ultraviolet rays, the contribution of this vitamin D is negligible in cats.
What does provide the necessary amount of vitamin D to cats is a good balanced and age-appropriate diet.
4. Regulation of the reproductive cycle
Sunlight is of vital importance in your cat’s reproductive cycle. The more hours of daylight a day, the more likely you are to have a natural “heat”.
5. For pure pleasure
The last but not the least benefit of sunbathing for cats is the pleasure that this activity brings them.
But what cats really like is not the sun’s rays, but the source of heat it brings.
Did you know that these animals can withstand temperatures of up to 50 c and adapt to all kinds of climates, whether they are cold or hot?
Symptoms of Lack of Sunlight in Cats
If your cat doesn’t get enough sunlight, your pet is likely to become listless, lethargic, and downcast – all symptoms of seasonal affective disorder, or SAD . A sunny day provides many stimuli for your cat’s happiness and physical health.
Of course, the lack of sunlight could also cause a lack of energy in your cat. Remember that your cat depends on the sun’s rays to maintain its vigor and vitality.
Do cats get vitamin D from the sun?
Vitamin D is released from the sun’s rays and is trapped in the cat’s skin. When grooming, cats ingest all of these vitamins.
But cats differ – they don’t depend on the sun for vitamin D. If your cat receives a balanced diet of high-quality food, it will get everything it needs. Too much vitamin D can be dangerous and even harm your lungs and kidneys.
Therefore, a possible vitamin D deficiency, do not expect to solve it with your cat’s exposure to the sun.
How does the sun affect a cat in heat?
If you have a cat outdoors, you will notice that sunlight influences its reproductive cycle, this is due to your pet’s hormones, especially melatonin.
This hormone suppresses the reproductive cycle of a cat. Your cat’s body produces more melatonin in the winter, which prevents her from going into “heat.”
This is the natural way to prevent kittens from being born in winter when sources of food for cats in the wild are hard to find.
When the days are longer, your cat’s body will produce less melatonin. As a result, it will instinctively start its reproductive cycle. Generally, a cat will need around 12 hours of natural light to enter “heat.
Consequences of excessive sun in cats
The fact that cats enjoy time in the sun does not mean that it is totally beneficial, Possible consequences of excess sun exposure would be:
1. Sunburn in cats
Your cat will likely want to lie in the sun for hours if you let it. If you are awake all this time, there is nothing to worry about. However, if your cat falls asleep, it could end up in trouble.
Common symptoms of sunburn in cats include:
- Red and inflamed skin, which is painful to touch, on the nose, ears , belly or back.
- Dry, leathery and thick patches of skin.
- Hair loss and bald patches around the impacted areas.
2. Squamous cell carcinoma
It is a malignant tumor that spreads locally, destroying the surrounding tissue. Occasionally it can also spread to other parts of the body such as the lymph nodes or the lungs.
If the disease worsens, the skin becomes redder and ulcerated areas with hard, raised edges may appear on the ears, eyelids, nose, lips, and face. Carcinoma bleeding in the cat’s ears can be a real problem.
Older cats are more likely to develop skin cancer.
3. Heat stroke
It is another care that we have to take with cats that love sunlight.
Common symptoms of heat stroke in felines include:
- Difficulty breathing.
- Sweating a lot through the pads
- Clumsiness and disorientation.
If your cat suffers from heat stroke, he will need veterinary attention.
Also, sunlight can make the sidewalk too hot and burn your cat’s pads or stomach. Put your hand on the sidewalk. If you can’t hold it comfortably for three seconds, it will be too hot for your cat’s paws.
Sun care for some cat breeds?
The sun can affect cats of any breed equally, but white cats are at higher risk. Any cat with little or no fur at all will also need to be handled with care.
However, this does not mean that long-haired cats should not be cautious. If a cat has thick fur, it will heat up faster and have a hard time cooling down.
Older cats and those with pre-existing medical conditions are more likely to be harmed by sun exposure. The older a cat is, the longer it takes to recover from sun damage.
An older cat’s internal organs have also seen more wear and tear over time. This means that they will be more sensitive to damage from dehydration and other ailments.
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