Sunscreen For Cats
by Elisa Black-Taylor
White cats need sunscreen
Sunscreen for cats is important during all seasons, not just in the summertime. Especially for cats who are thin haired, hairless, unpigmented, albino or will be in the sun for more than fifteen minutes a day.
Cats, like humans, are susceptible to skin cancer. Especially around the ears, on the nose and above the eyes. Usually the fur on the legs is thinner than elsewhere on the body and may also burn. Cats suffer from pain and burns the same way we do. They just don't let us know it. Because of this, the thought of using sunscreen for cats is a fairly new concept. So what should you look for in a sunscreen for cats?
It's just as much a case as what's NOT in a sunscreen as what is. Many suggest using baby sunscreen. Others argue that's not safe. One thing is for sure and that's not to use a product with zinc oxide as these can be toxic and cause tummy troubles if ingested. Look for something waterproof and fragrance free that blocks both UVA and UVB rays with an SPF of 15 or higher.
Virbac Pet Guard Gel with sunscreen for dogs and cats is one product recommended for use on cats. For those of you with dogs, Doggles Pet Sunscreen or Epi_Pet Sunscreen Protector Spray is recommended. One reference I checked cautioned not to use Doggles on a cat, but it's listed on www.amazon.com for $12 for 2 ounces for dog or cat use. So use your discretion on that one. Dermoscent SunFREE for cats is also listed for cats and sells for $15 for 30 ml. Goodness, this stuff is expensive! Can any of the readers suggest an effective cheaper product?
One other summertime regimen I'd like to caution the readers about is shaving your dog or cat. A lot of cats are given a "lions cut" in the shelter. Cats with flea dermatitis or severe flea infestations are often given this cut. Dogs are often shaved to treat mange or flea infestations. It makes the condition easier to see and to treat. It can also make a pet more susceptible to sunburn as the sun can penetrate the fur more easily. This is especially true for light colored pets.
Remember to reapply every 3-4 hours and discontinue use if your cat has an allergic reaction.
Always do some research online before purchasing a product. Consult with your vet for a recommendation. The clinic may even carry a sunscreen line. It's a money-generating product to protect a pet, so I wouldn't doubt your vet has it available. Ordering online may be cheaper in the long run.
Do any of the readers have any suggestions? Have any of you had to deal with a sunburned cat? What did you use to treat it? We have to be so careful not to use product that will harm our pets.
Associated page: Cat Skin Cancer