Cats | Animals

Vets Are Warning Owners Of A Common Cat Behavior That Could Kill Your Pet

Summer is coming, and while we know all about how to stay safe in the sun our pets do not. This can be especially dangerous to notorious sunbathers like cats. Just ask Pearl.


She's a 16-year-old cat who was so severely sunburned that she needed to have both of her ears amputated.

She either ran away or was abandoned by her family in Derby, UK and her life on the streets was a hard one. While there are a number of potential hazards out there for a stray, the sun might number among the worst.


When Pearl was turned in to a vet her ears were red and blistered from the sun. The doctors tried to treat the burn, but the damage was too severe, forcing them to amputate.

Pearl came through the surgery okay, and seems happy and healthy now that her hurting ears are gone. She's living in an adoption center waiting for a forever home.

At Risk

It's not just strays that are at risk of burning their skin. Animals' skin is much like human skin in that too many UV rays will damage it. We often don't think about it because of their fur, but not all areas of a pets body is covered by fur.


Cats' ears are specifically at risk because of the thin tissue and little to no hair coverage on them. Vets urge the use of animal specific sunscreen if you have an animal that spends a lot of time outdoors during the summer.

Your feline is not going to help itself. Any cat owner will tell you that cats love sunbeams. Given the choice they may just lounge all day - which is dangerous.

Watch For Symptoms

Cats in warmer, sunnier, climates are particularly at risk. Pet owners should keep a look out for the following signs:

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  • Red skin
  • Hair loss
  • Scaly skin
  • excessive scratching of a certain area

While vets do recommend sunscreen it's important to choose the right one for your pet. They make animal specific sun protection, but what's good for dogs might be dangerous for cats and vice versa. Ask your vet and read labels carefully.


If you notice a sunburn on your animal it's important to visit a vet immediately. The irritated skin is prone to infection which can lead to amputation or even death.

If you have a cat that likes to wander outside it's suggested that you keep it inside during the hottest hours of the day (11 a.m. -2 p.m.) and provide plenty of shade in your yards.