Can Kittens Get Sunburned?

Can kittens get sunburn?

As doting cat owners, we often focus on providing our kittens with the best nutrition, toys, and care. However, one aspect of their well-being that might be overlooked is the possibility of sunburn. Let’s dig into the various factors that can make them susceptible to this painful condition. Then we’ll discuss prevention and treatment methods to ensure your furry friend stays safe and healthy under the sun.

Can Kittens Get Sunburned?

Yes, kittens can indeed get sunburned. Although it may come as a surprise, these little furballs are not immune to the harmful effects of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays.

Several factors can contribute to a kitten’s vulnerability to sunburn, including:

  1. Light-colored fur: Kittens with light-colored fur, such as white or cream, are more prone to sunburn as their fur provides less protection against UV rays.
  2. Thin fur: Some kittens may have thinner fur due to their breed, age, or health conditions, leaving their skin more exposed to the sun.
  3. Hairless breeds: Kittens of hairless breeds, such as the Sphynx, are at a higher risk of sunburn due to the lack of fur coverage.
  4. Sun exposure duration: The longer a kitten spends in direct sunlight, the greater their risk of getting sunburned.

What Does Sunburn on Cats Look Like?

Sunburn (solar dermatitis) on cats can manifest through several signs and symptoms, which may vary depending on the severity of the sunburn. Here’s what sunburn on cats might look like:

  1. Redness: Sunburned skin may appear red, pink, or darker in color, depending on the cat’s fur and skin pigmentation. This redness is often more noticeable in areas with thinner fur or exposed skin, such as the tips of the ears, nose, and belly.
  2. Swelling: Sunburned areas may become swollen as a result of increased blood flow to the affected skin.
  3. Warmth: The sunburned area may feel warm or hot to the touch due to increased blood flow and inflammation.
  4. Dryness or peeling: Sunburned skin may become dry, flaky, or start to peel as the damaged skin cells are shed, and new skin forms underneath.
  5. Blisters: In severe cases, sunburn can cause fluid-filled blisters to form on the skin. It is crucial not to pop or pick at these blisters to avoid infection.
  6. Discomfort or pain: Cats with sunburn may exhibit signs of discomfort, such as excessive licking, grooming, or scratching the affected area. They might also show signs of pain when touched or avoid being petted.

Severe Sunburn

If you suspect that your cat has sunburn, it is essential to provide appropriate first aid measures and consult your veterinarian for guidance on further treatment or care. Remember that prevention is always better than treatment, so take the necessary steps to protect your cat from sunburn and ensure their well-being. If left untreated, sunburn in kittens can lead to serious long-term consequences, such as:

  1. Skin infections: Damaged skin is more susceptible to bacterial or fungal infections.
  2. Skin cancer: Prolonged and repeated exposure to UV rays can increase the risk of developing skin cancer.
  3. Permanent skin damage: Severe or repeated sunburns can lead to scarring or other permanent skin damage.

Can Indoor Cats Get Sunburned?

Yes, indoor cats can also get sunburned, especially if they spend a considerable amount of time near windows or glass doors with direct sunlight exposure. Although glass can block some of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays, it does not completely prevent them from reaching your cat’s skin. As a result, indoor cats, particularly those with light-colored fur, thin fur, or hairless breeds, are still susceptible to sunburn.

To protect your indoor cat from sunburn, consider taking the following precautions:

  1. Limit sunbathing time. Monitor your cat’s time spent near windows or glass doors with direct sunlight, especially during peak sunlight hours, which are typically between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  2. Provide shade. Offer shaded areas in your home, such as cat trees or beds placed away from windows, to encourage your cat to take breaks from sunbathing.
  3. Use window films or coverings. Install UV-blocking window films or blinds on windows and glass doors to reduce the amount of UV rays entering your home.
  4. Apply pet-safe sunscreen. If your cat spends a significant amount of time near windows with direct sunlight, consider applying a pet-safe sunscreen to exposed skin areas, such as the tips of the ears and nose. Reapply as per the manufacturer’s instructions.

Can Kittens Stay in the Sun? Preventing Sunburn in Kittens

Kittens can stay in the sun, but it is essential to monitor their exposure to sunlight and take precautions to minimize the risk of sunburn and overheating. Prolonged exposure to the sun can lead to sunburn, dehydration, and heatstroke, which can be harmful to kittens. Here are some tips to ensure your kitten stays safe in the sun:

  1. Limit outdoor time during peak sunlight hours. Restrict your kitten’s outdoor playtime to early mornings and late afternoons when the sun is less intense.
  2. Provide shaded areas. Ensure that your kitten has access to shaded spots, such as under trees or canopies, to escape the sun’s rays.
  3. Monitor playtime. Keep an eye on your kitten while they are in the sun to ensure they do not become overheated or sunburned.
  4. Hydration: Ensure your kitten has access to fresh water at all times to prevent dehydration.
  5. Use pet-safe sunscreens. Apply a pet-safe sunscreen, specifically designed for cats, to exposed skin areas, such as the tips of the ears and nose. Reapply as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
  6. Dress your kitten in protective gear. Consider UV protective clothing or sun hats for your kitten to provide additional coverage against the sun.
  7. Watch for signs of overheating. Keep an eye out for signs of overheating or heatstroke in your kitten, such as panting, drooling, lethargy, or increased heart rate. If you notice any of these symptoms, move your kitten to a cool, shaded area, and provide water. Consult your veterinarian if symptoms persist or worsen.
Winston in the sun

Oh, great, here we go again! I mean, come on, can’t a kitten just enjoy some rays without being smothered in goop? Besides, that stuff tastes terrible! And what’s the deal with those ridiculous outfits? Do you really think I’ll cooperate while you try to put one of those hats on me? Not. A. Chance. #NoSunNoFun #NoStupidHats #LetMeLiveMyNineLives #MyButtTastesBetterThanSunblock


What Is a Natural Sunblock for Cats?

A natural sunblock for cats can be made using ingredients that are safe for feline use and provide some degree of protection against the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. One such natural sunblock option is using coconut oil, which has a low sun protection factor (SPF) of around 4-6. While coconut oil does not provide complete protection against sunburn, it can offer mild coverage for cats with darker or thicker fur, who are at a lower risk of sunburn.

To use coconut oil as a natural sunblock for your cat, follow these steps:

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  1. Choose organic, cold-pressed, and unrefined coconut oil, as it retains more of its beneficial properties compared to refined versions.
  2. Rub a small amount of coconut oil between your fingers to liquefy it. The warmth of your hands will melt the solid oil into a liquid.
  3. Gently apply a thin layer of the liquefied coconut oil to the exposed areas of your cat’s skin, such as the tips of the ears and nose, taking care not to get any in their eyes or nostrils.
  4. Reapply the coconut oil every few hours or after your cat has groomed itself, as it may lick off the oil.

Keep in mind that coconut oil provides only minimal sun protection. It might not be sufficient for cats with light-colored or thin fur, who are at a higher risk of sunburn. In such cases, using a pet-safe sunscreen specifically designed for cats would be a more effective option.

Read also: Can Kittens Get Frostbite?

How Do You Prevent Sunburn on White Cats?

White cats, with their light-colored fur and often pink skin, are more susceptible to sunburn compared to cats with darker fur. To prevent sunburn in white cats, follow the same precautions as with other cats. However, you may also want to maintain a regular grooming routine to ensure your cat’s fur remains healthy and provides the best possible protection against the sun. Avoid shaving or trimming your cat’s fur too short, as this can make them more vulnerable to sunburn.

How Do I Treat My Kitten’s Sunburn?

If you suspect your kitten has sunburn, it is crucial to provide appropriate first aid measures. Here are some steps to treat your kitten’s sunburn:

  1. Move the kitten to a cool, shaded area. Remove your kitten from direct sunlight immediately and bring them indoors or to a shaded spot to prevent further damage.
  2. Cool compresses. Apply a cool, damp cloth or towel to the affected area for 5-10 minutes to soothe the skin and reduce inflammation. Repeat this process several times a day.
  3. Aloe vera gel. Gently apply a thin layer of pet-safe aloe vera gel to the sunburned area. Aloe vera has natural cooling and healing properties that can provide relief and promote skin recovery. Ensure the product does not contain any harmful additives, such as alcohol, which can worsen the burn.
  4. Hydrocortisone cream. Use a mild, over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream to alleviate itching and inflammation. Consult your veterinarian for the appropriate dosage, application frequency, and most importantly, that it’s safe for your kitten.
  5. Monitor for signs of infection. Keep an eye out for symptoms of infection, such as increased redness, swelling, pus, or foul odors. If you notice any of these signs, consult your veterinarian immediately.
  6. Encourage hydration. Provide your kitten with fresh water to help them stay hydrated and maintain overall health during the healing process.
  7. Consult your veterinarian. If your kitten’s sunburn is severe, shows no signs of improvement after a few days of at-home care, or if you suspect an infection, seek veterinary advice for further guidance and treatment.

In the future, take preventive measures to protect your kitten from sunburn, such as limiting sun exposure, providing shaded areas, and using pet-safe sunscreen.


Understanding and preventing sunburn in kittens is a crucial aspect of their well-being. By taking the necessary precautions, you can help protect your furry companion from the harmful effects of the sun. If you suspect that your kitten has been sunburned, do not hesitate to provide appropriate first aid measures and seek veterinary advice when necessary. With the proper care, your kitten can safely bask in the warmth of the sun, without the risk of sunburn and its potential long-term consequences.

Sunburnt Cat

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