I am always amazed by my fluffball’s love for summer, heat, and sunny days. I love it too, but the way her whole mood changes when it’s beautiful outside is truly fascinating. So it got me thinking about something and I decided to find out do cats need sunlight or if they just love the heat.
Soon after I asked myself this question, I found all the answers I needed. Don’t worry, I know you’re here because you want to get them too. I talked to professionals because I wanted to make sure I know everything about this topic.
So let’s not wait any longer, and let’s cut to the chase instead.
Do cats need sunlight?
Let’s start with humans. Sunlight is actually very important to us and it helps us live our lives normally. That’s because we absorb vitamin D through our skin while we’re outside on a sunny day. Many experts say it’s crucial to spend some time outdoors because of this.
However, cats can’t absorb that vitamin directly through their skin because they are always wearing warm coats. Therefore, cats don’t really need sunlight. However, even though they can’t absorb it directly, it’s still good for them to spend some time outside. But, I will explain that better a bit later.
Even though it’s not that important for felines, they still love the heat very much. And on top of that, they truly enjoy spending their days sitting at the window when it’s hot outside or finding a warm spot on the floor.
However, no matter how cute their love for warmth is, you should still be very careful about her spending lots of time like that. Why? Because just like us, cats can get heatstrokes or even more serious issues like skin cancer. So make sure you always know how much time she’s spending in the sunlight.
Why is sunlight good for them?
But don’t worry! If you pay attention to how much time she’s spending in the sunlight, you won’t have to worry about any serious problems it might cause. Instead, you can focus on all the benefits a bit of sunlight can bring to your cat.
Even though I’ve said it’s not crucial for them to go outside and enjoy the beautiful weather, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any positive sides to them spending their time like that. Therefore, I want to share with you why are the sun and its warmth actually good for your fluffball. Let’s check it out!
1) It gives them energy
Ever since I was a kid, I was lucky enough to live with multiple kitties. And my favorite thing about them was always how much they love certain things. In my case, one of them adores one of the meals my mom makes for her, and the other one loves the sun more than anything else in the world.
Of course, it’s not only about the sun, but about the heat that she feels when it’s warm and outside. She always finds the hottest spot in the garden and spends lots of time there. I always thought that it would make her more sleepy, but it actually always makes her more energized.
But how does that happen? It happens because cats are very active animals and they spend most of their days playing and exploring their surroundings. However, that’s not the only thing their body does that makes them feel tired. They also use energy to heat themselves!
So if they’re enjoying the sun, they feel warm enough already and there is no need for their bodies to use the energy for heating.
2) It’s relaxing
Most of us think that the sun will drain our energy, but that’s not really true. What it can do is relax us and that’s why we might feel a bit more tired or ready to fall asleep. Sometimes humans and felines are similar, and this is one of those situations.
Cats get scared easily because they are aware of the fact that there are predators and prey in this world. And even though they are mostly predators, they can sometimes still become prey to some other, stronger animal. So, they get anxious whenever something changes.
Let’s say the season of the year changed, you moved to a new place, someone started living with you, their food changed, or there was simply a minor change in decorations. If your kitty is anxious, then the answer to “Do cats need sunlight?” is definitely yes.
The sunlight will help them relax and their anxiety will slowly fade away. That’s because cats enjoy the heat, and it makes them feel safe.
3) Sun is the source of the vitamin D
We all know that vitamin D is very important to all of us humans. But did you know that it’s also beneficial to your cat? Well, now you know it is! However, we absorb that vitamin when we’re spending time outside, but it’s a bit different when it comes to our kitties.
Since they mostly have thick fur, sun rays can’t go through it, so it’s difficult for vitamin D to enter their bodies via the skin. Felines mostly absorb it through food. However, if your cat spends some time outside, playing in the garden when it’s sunny outside, she will absorb that vitamin when she grooms herself.
4) It’s good for their hormones
Do cats need sunlight? This part is very important to all the owners of unspayed cats. If you’re one of them then you need to know these important things. Feline hormones are ruled by her surroundings and sunlight. That’s why their hormones are different during different seasons of the year.
Since your kitty can’t really use the phone or a calendar to see which season of the year it is at the moment, she will try to conclude that with the help of the sun. If it’s very bright and warm outside their bodies tend to make less melatonin.
Cats are very smart so they know that it would be very difficult to keep their kittens warm enough during winter. So if you want your cat to give birth one day, you will need to let her spend lots of time outside when it’s warm and sunny.
5) It helps them balance their body temperature
Cats adore warmth. It makes them feel safe, relaxed, and like all their problems are gone. It’s truly amazing how something that simple can make our fluffballs happy. But what does that have to do with balancing their body temperature?
When a cat is asleep, her body temperature drops and her body needs the energy to keep it warmer. Then your kitty either sleeps for a longer period of time or wakes up feeling not well-rested. However, if there are sun rays on her to keep her warm, her body won’t need to use much energy for heating.
That’s exactly why you’ll often catch your kitty sleeping in front of the window or on the hottest part of the floor. Always keep in mind their love for heat when you’re deciding where to put her bed. Never put it somewhere where it’s too cold and dark. Your fluffball will hate it and she will always feel anxious!
Can cats get sunburned?
Unfortunately, just like us, cats can get sunburned if they spend lots of time in the sun. Do you remember your last sunburn? It probably hurt a lot and it lead to annoying peeling and blistering on your skin.
If that happened to you, and you remember how awful it feels, then you should know that the same thing can happen to your feline if she spends too much time in the sun. Some cats are at more risk than others as it depends on their fur.
Those kitties that have longer and thicker fur are less likely to get sunburned. That’s because their warm coat actually protects them from the harmful part of sun rays. However, it won’t last forever, so if a fluffy kitty is out for a few hours when the sun is really strong, she might still get a bit sunburned.
With that in mind, it’s safe to say that hairless cats and the ones with thin fur are at the biggest risk of dealing with this problem. Since there is no thick fur to protect them, sunlight will easily reach their skin, resulting in sunburns. That is if they don’t go back inside on time.
But how do you let your kitty enjoy the sun and still protect her? You can actually put sunscreen on your kitty to save her. But don’t use yours as most human sunscreens can be harmful to kitties because of their toxic ingredients.
However, there are feline-friendly products that can be used instead. If you find it, remember that you should always put it on her lips, belly, ears, and nose because those parts of her body aren’t protected by any hair.
Let’s revise it once again before you leave. Do cats need sunlight? Technically, no. But they really enjoy the warmth, so you should always let your fluffball spend some time in the sunlight. As you could see, there are also many benefits of that!
However, don’t forget to be careful about the time she spends like that. Always keep in mind the possible issues I’ve mentioned. And remember that the sun is always the strongest between 10 AM and 3 PM, so you can protect your kitty by keeping her inside when it’s that hot!