Cat owners are being urged to protect their pets from sun exposure during the current heatwave as they may be at risk of developing sunburn and skin cancer.
Cats Protection says cats with white or pale ears or noses are particularly susceptible to the sun’s harmful rays – with some needing drastic surgery to repair sun damaged skin.
The charity warns that white cats don’t have a pigment called melanin in their skin, which is what protects humans from sunlight.
This can leave them vulnerable to sun damage - usually around the ears.
While most cats will be perfectly safe in summer, there are other potential hazards to be aware of so the charity has compiled some tips to help cat owners:
Encourage your cat to drink more by placing water bowls away from food bowls, using glass, ceramic or metal bowls instead of plastic and making sure they are large with a big surface area. Keep the water topped up so your cat doesn’t have to put their head into the bowls and never leave your cat without any water at all. Some cats prefer running water so try offering them a water fountain. Place water bowls in different places around the house so they will always find somewhere to drink
Read the label on pest control products - slug pellets which contain metaldehyde can prove fatal to cats, so make sure any pest control products are safe for felines.
Take care with barbecues - ensure barbecue coals are properly cooled with water as your cat can suffer nasty burns if they jump onto them once you are finished.
Check your plants and flowers are feline friendly - certain ones can be toxic to cats, particularly lilies. Avoid buying lilies, both for outdoor and indoor arrangements and, if you think your cat has eaten or come into contact with any part of a lily, then get him to a vet as soon as possible.
Keep the doors of sheds and greenhouses shut – be careful not to accidentally trap cats inside outbuildings during hot weather.
Ensure your cat has appropriate flea treatment - fleas thrive in hot weather, so make sure your cat is protected against them. Your vet will be able to advise on what treatment is most suitable for your pet.
More information on how to look after cats in hot weather can be found on Cats Protection’s website.
Cats Protection is the UK’s leading feline welfare charity and helps around 200,000 cats each year through a national network of over 250 volunteer-run branches and 36 centres.
Cats Protection’s vision is a world where every cat is treated with kindness and an understanding of its needs.
Cats Protection’s registered charity number is 203644 (England and Wales) and SC037711 (Scotland). Founded as the Cats Protection League in 1927, the charity adopted the name Cats Protection in 1998.
More information about the work of Cats Protection can be found at www.cats.org.uk