What is solar dermatitis in cats?

In cats, solar dermatitis is a recurrent skin disease caused by exposure to sunlight leading to sunburn. It is most often seen in white cats or cats with white noses and white ears. It is a recurrent inflammation which may ultimately predispose the cat to squamous cell carcinoma in those areas. My reference work on cat health, written by four veterinarians, states that tattooing the white areas or applying sunscreen may help. I had never thought about tattooing a cat to darken the skin to protect it against sunlight. This apparently is what is being suggested. The best solution is to keep white cats out of the sunlight especially during the hottest part of the day i.e. between 10 AM to 2 PM. I’m sure that all responsible cat owners do this. I don’t have anymore to say. Please see a good vet if you suspect solar dermatitis.

Note: My reference book refers to ‘solar dermatosis’. I am presuming that it is the same condition but a different label. Wrong? Please tell me.

White cat with amputated ears
White cat with amputated ears. Was this due to solar dermatitis leading to cancer? Image in public domain.
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