How to Keep Your Hairless Cat Safe in the Sun? – Explained In Detail

I frequently get the question “Do you allow your hairless cats go outside?” because I am the owner of a couple of wonderful Sphynx cats. Since members of this breed shouldn’t spend a lot of time outside, it is extremely uncommon to see one hanging around in a back alley or hunting mice in a field.

My naked ladies spend the summer days at my home in France enjoying a few supervised hours of sunlight because I live in an apartment with a covered balcony. Even so, I wouldn’t let my Sphynx cats roam free in the yard if I did own a home with one without first making sure they weren’t in any danger.

Of course, Sphynx cats can enjoy bright, sunny weather just like any other breed, but the moment it becomes too chilly for you to be outside without a jacket on, it becomes chilly for them as well.

Any breed of cat that has a thin coat, lacks a coat, or has only a partial coat, such as the Sphynx, is more prone to developing skin cancer and becoming sunburned. Each Sphynx is uniquely sensitive to the sun, just like humans, with lighter-colored Sphynx cats burning more readily and fast than darker-colored ones.

In order to better protect furless felines from sun damage, they can be exposed to the sun for very short periods of time in order to build up a “tan,” though it is better to let them explore the outdoors when they are able to stay in a shaded area or during summer evenings when the sun has gone down. But keep in mind that a hairless cat, like a human, is at risk for sunburn even in the shade or on overcast days. Vigilance and limited exposure are key!

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Dr. Johnny Gobble, a practicing veterinarian and Sphynx owner in Sweetwater, TN, explains that the breed can develop pigmentation marks on the skin after repeated exposure to the sun, and that Sphynx cats should only be allowed outside under constant supervision. Popular Read:  Why Does My Cat Scratch The Sides Of The Litter Box? – Simple Explanation

1. Consider using a play tent

A play tent can make a great shaded place for Sphynx cats to hang out in while outside. Try putting some frozen marbles under their beds in a zippered pillowcase or bean bag case to keep them cool.

2. Provide ice cubes

Sphynx cats tend to love water so try putting a few ice cubes in their water dish for them to play with. As for any animal, be sure to have clean, fresh water accessible at all times. Dehydration is a risk, especially for kittens.

3. Put her on a leash

To keep your cat from running away or wandering too far, keep her on a long lead with a comfortable harness or collar. You can also put a light shirt on your Sphynx before putting on the harness to make sure her skin isn’t irritated by the friction (and to help protect her from the sun!).

4. Watch out for the heated concrete!

Make sure that your Sphynx does not walk across hot concrete or other surfaces that could burn her sensitive paws. And also be careful of what she may be able to brush up against. Any surface that heats up in the sun (car exteriors, outdoor furniture, metal tools, etc.) can burn a Sphynx’s skin upon contact. Similarly, a coated cat might be able to bump into a prickly plant or roll around in some pine needles without any problems, but a Sphynx could be left with nasty scratches on her skin, so also be sure to keep an eye on where your naked kitties are roaming around. Popular Read:  Why Does My Cat Scratch The Sides Of The Litter Box? – Simple Explanation

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5.Keep the chip in mind

Of course, make sure that any pet who goes outside is properly identified with a microchip or tags on the collar, and that all vaccines are up-to-date.

Signs of heatstroke

But despite a Sphynx owner’s best intentions, a hairless cat can overheat outside. It’s extremely important to be able to recognize the symptoms in order to stop your Sphynx from developing heatstroke, which can be fatal.

Dr. Gobble explains that a cat who is too hot will open-mouth breathe, and this, in combination with heaving sides and shallow or labored breathing, indicates that a cat could be overheated and at high risk of heatstroke. He goes on to note that any reddening of the ears (easy to notice thanks to the Sphynx’s large, hairless ears), gums, and conjunctiva of the eye can also mean that a cat is overheating.

Liliya Tapponnier, a Sphynx breeder since 2002, lives in south-central France and currently shares her home with eight four-legged nudists. I adopted both my Sphynx cats from her as adults, and I was quite surprised when she told me that they had already done a little skinny dipping in her swimming pool!

Liliya says that some of her Sphynx cats really enjoy a short, supervised swim in the pool, but that it’s important to rinse them with clean water afterwards. Dr. Gobble agrees that a quick dip shouldn’t pose any serious health concerns, although the chemicals in the water can strip the natural oils from a Sphynx’s skin and leave it dry and irritated.

“A Sphynx’s skin will usually balance itself back out in time, but dry skin can provoke excessive oil production in an effort to create moisture, leaving you with an oily Sphynx friend,” he says. Dr. Gobble also notes that chemicals in pool water may further irritate any eye issues a Sphynx has. If in doubt, keep your cat out of the pool. And in my experience, splashing around in the bathtub is just as enjoyable as the swimming pool for my furless felines (whose webbing between their toes makes them great little swimmers).Popular Read:  Why Does My Cat Scratch The Sides Of The Litter Box? – Simple Explanation

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The Sphynx is a great cat for those living in an apartment, as these avid snugglers are more than content to cozy up to a warm body on the couch and bask in the light from a window. If you do allow your hairless cat to spend some time outdoors — either in the yard or on the balcony — it’s important to make sure that exposure to sunlight is limited and that they are always supervised to prevent overheating and other potential dangers such as burns, bug bites, and scratches on their skin.