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Why do cats sunbathe? [The Reasons Might Surprise You!]

It’s no secret that cats are the biggest fans of sunlight, despite being furry animals. Do you know why or how that works? Is it even safe? How does the sun affect them?

We are here to fill you in on all the cat trivia you can imagine.

Cats are always up to weird, funny, and cute things! Why do they sunbathe though? Could it be that they like getting a tan?

In addition to many other reasons, a major reason why cats are so fond of sunny days and warm places is that they were originally desert animals. In response to their rapid loss of body heat, cats require sunlight and heat.

Do cats need sunlight?

Yes, they certainly need it.

The main reason why cats need sunlight is to compensate for the drop in body temperature that occurs when they sleep.

Cats love to lay under the sun and sunbathe, especially right before going to sleep. They do this to regulate their body temperature.

Cats eat a lot of protein, which is why they need sunlight to keep warm. Protein and carbohydrates work differently when it comes to conserving energy.

For example, protein intake does not help much with heat conservation. As a result, they need to sunbathe despite having fur-coated skin.

Aside from these factors, warmth and sunlight also make them feel more comfortable and cozy.

Why do cats lay in the sun when it’s hot?

Since cats have a higher body temperature than humans, it is a question all cat owners wonder about. Even when it is already hot, cats prefer to cool off or sleep in the sunlit areas.

Long-haired cats can conserve heat for much longer than short hair ones. As a result, short-haired cats crave more warmth and sunlight.

According to research, a wild species, Felis Silvestris, evolved into our domestic cats. This species can be found in Africa, Asia, and Europe. But the genetic line goes way back, and dates back to about 10,000.

This species used to live in the Middle East, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Cyprus, and Israel. These are all desert areas, which tells us that our feline buddies are in fact genetically created to be able to survive in the deserts.

This is why their body temperature tends to drop easily. They can adapt to all kinds of climates and are capable of withstanding up to 50 degrees of heat.

This completely justifies why they would want to sit under the direct sunlight for comfort.

What Are The Benefits of cats sunbathing

Balances body temperature 

In the wild, cats sleep during the day and hunt and prey at night. Cats at home spend most of the day sleeping. When they sleep, their body temperature drops.

The reason is that their bodies are not burning energy. As a result, they prefer to sleep in warm places or under the sun to compensate for this loss of body heat.

Source of vitamin D

 As we all know the sun is a great source of Vitamin D, but unfortunately not enough for cats. It is one of the less significant causes of cats sunbathing. 

Vitamin D is infused into the skin of cats via UV rays, but their furs block the rays. As a result, cats cannot synthesize enough vitamin D from the sun alone. However, the sun does provide some vitamin D. 

Apart from these, pleasure is another important reason for cats sunbathing.

Is sunbathing healthy for cats? 

Yes, but in moderation. Too much or too little can cause problems.

Although they can live without the sun, cats must sunbathe. It helps them stay warm.

On the other hand, too much sunbathing, especially in the summer, can cause heatstroke and sunburn. Heat strokes and sunburns are more common in hairless cats or those with thin fur coats.

As a result, cat owners need to be cautious about how much sun they expose their pets too. Cats can’t tell when to stop sunbathing. Therefore, the cat owner must be aware of how long the pet spends in the hot sun. 

Sunscreen can also be used on your feline friend to prevent sunburn. Sun rays can sometimes penetrate fur coats, so they do not always provide complete protection. Thin-haired species, such as white boxers and white-faced cats, are more at risk.

A sunburn can occur on parts of the body that aren’t fully covered by hair, such as the ears, the abdomen, and the nose. 

You should apply sunscreen to those spots. Use perfume-free ones for kittens and avoid the eye area at all costs. 

To avoid this try to keep your pet indoors during midday when the sun is too harsh. 

Also keep an eye out for cats licking off the sunscreen, because that can be harmful. To be 100% safe from this, always go for the sunscreens that are labeled as made for cats. You must consider talking to your vet for more detailed precautions and advice regarding this.

Protection from the sun is especially crucial around the sea and mountains. Sunburn created around these places is more intense and may lead to infection.

Felines may also have to suffer from skin cancer due to excessive exposure to UV rays. White cats are in greater danger of this than darker breeds of cats.

This is because the sun reaches its sunning limit faster. Additionally, white cats have a lower level of melanin in their skin.

This makes it even more difficult for the skin to protect itself against harmful sun rays.

In a nutshell, cats sunbathe because of their genetics and how easily they lose body heat. 

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