If your cat lives indoors, you may wonder if it is getting enough sunlight. You probably have noticed that your cat will stretch out and sleep in the sun by the window, which indicates that they enjoy the sunlight, but do they need it? The truth is that cats do not require sunlight because they can get the Vitamin D they need through their diet. However, while the sunlight is not necessary for them, cats do enjoy it. Continue reading to learn all about cats and their sunlight needs.
Why Do Cats Sunbathe?
Most people know that cats love to lie in the sunlight while they sleep. You will often find your feline friend curled up in a spot near a window, and they will spend many hours this way each day. Cats naturally enjoy the warmth of the sun for several reasons. Cats spend around 15 hours a day sleeping, and the sun relaxes cats and encourages sleep. In addition, the sun helps to regulate your cat’s body temperature. The body temperature naturally drops during sleep, and the sun helps to keep cats warm.
Another reason that cats love the sun is genetic. Domestic cats evolved from a wild feline called Felis silvestris that comes from Africa, Asia, and Europe. These cats come from a wild cat that roamed the deserts of the Middle East in the modern countries of Israel, Cyprus, Egypt, Syria, and Iraq. They were desert dwellers, and even with fur, they could lose heat easily.
Cats today have a diet that is rich in protein and low in carbs, which doesn’t help with energy conservation. The cats are biologically designed to sleep for large parts of the day, and their nutritional needs don’t cover energy requirements for keeping their body temperatures warm. The sun helps cats to regulate their internal temperature to maintain 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit, which is their average ideal body temperature.
The bottom line is that cats enjoy sunbathing because the warmth of the sun’s rays feels good, and they are biologically designed to benefit from using the sun to regulate their internal body temperature. Cats will instinctively move away from the sun before they overheat, so there is nothing wrong with your cat sunbathing as long as it has the option of moving away to a cooler spot when it needs to.
Do Cats Need Vitamin D From the Sun?
Vitamin D is a known benefit of the sun, especially for people. However, cats do not absorb Vitamin D because their fur blocks it from the skin. As a result, cats rely on their diet to meet their Vitamin D needs.
However, when your cat lies in the sunny window, the sun’s rays leave Vitamin D trapped on its fur. Your cat will then groom itself later, and it can ingest the Vitamin D orally. Although this is not as effective as absorbing the vitamin through the skin, it does meet some of your cat’s Vitamin D needs.
It is important to make sure that your cat is eating a well-balanced diet that contains its daily recommended dose of Vitamin D. Vitamin D is important because it helps to maintain the calcium balance in your cat’s body. Calcium also plays a role in heart health and muscle and nerve function. The key is to make sure that you are feeding your cat a quality cat food with an appropriate amount of Vitamin D.
Can a Cat Get Too Much Sun?
As is the case with people and most animals, it can be dangerous for cats to spend too much time in the sun. In fact, it can lead to conditions such as heatstroke, skin cancer, and sunburn. There are other potential dangers, such as dehydration, but you can make sure that your cat is protected from these conditions.
Indoor cats will often find a sunny spot by a window and sleep for long periods of time. Cats do not create enough energy to regulate their body temperatures and stay warm while they are sleeping, which is why they love to sleep in the sun. The warm rays help the cat to stay warm during this time.
However, your cat can get sunburned through the window, especially if your cat has light colored skin. This risk is greater during the peak hours of the day if your cat is sleeping in direct sunlight. The cat is most likely to be sunburned on the tips of its ears and on its face where the hair is thinner.
If your car spends a lot of time in direct sunlight, it can also develop skin cancer. Cats with light colored hair and skin are more likely to develop skin cancer, and it is most common around the eyes, ears, and nose. If you notice a lump or lesion developing on your cat’s face, it is best to make an appointment with your veterinarian.
If your cat has a particular window where it spends a lot of time sleeping, you can actually get a UV blocking film for the window. Your cat will be able to lay in the warmth of the sun without suffering from the damage of its UV rays. This is a great solution for people who want to let their cat spend time in the sunny window.
Too much hot sun can lead to heatstroke in cats, so it is important to know the signs. Cats will pant, drool, have sweaty paws, and engage in excessive grooming. They are usually dehydrated as well. It is unlikely that your indoor cat will suffer a heat stroke while lying in its favorite window, but you should always make sure that your cat has free access to fresh water because a dehydrated cat can suffer heat stroke while sleeping in the sun.
Do Cats Need to Go Outdoors in the Sun?
Cats do not need to go outdoors, and they can live very happy lives in your home. Technically, cats don’t even need to be in the sunlight because they get their Vitamin D from their diet. Going outdoors may seem to be something your cat would enjoy, but the fact is that it is very dangerous. You can create an indoor environment that provides your cat with everything it needs.
Once you find your cat’s favorite sunbathing window, you can use a UV-blocking film and create a window bed. Your cat will be able to enjoy the sun without suffering harmful UV exposure. Make sure that your cat always has free access to clean water so that it will not become dehydrated.
Cats love to climb and scratch, and you can get a kitty tower or a kitty condo to fulfill these needs. They come in many different shapes and sizes, and you can provide your cat with all of the entertainment it needs. They often have cubbies where your cat will enjoy napping as well.
How to Transition an Outdoor Cat Into Your Home
If your cat is accustomed to living outdoors, you can transition it to indoor living. As your cat grows accustomed to living in your home, it will be content to stay there. The more you accommodate your cat’s natural needs, the happier it will be to stay inside.
You should always have fresh water available, and you should make sure that you are feeding your cat a well-balanced diet. If your cat enjoys sleeping in the window, make sure that you have a window available, and you can install a shelf or a window bed for the cat. Cover the glass with UV blocking film to protect your cat from sunburn and skin cancer.
You can have climbing trees or kitty condos in your home, which will allow your cat to get some exercise and climb. Cats enjoy this, and it will help them to stay occupied. If your cat has plenty to do in the home, it will enjoy staying there. Cats sleep for much of the day, and as long as your cat has a space where it feels safe and secure, it will be fine.
You can start out by letting it inside to eat its meals, and extending the amount of time you keep the cat indoors. If your cat can find everything it needs while it is inside, it will enjoy being there once it is used to it.
If your cat has exclusively lived outdoors, it will take some time to transition. You should make the change gradually. Once your cat is eating its meals indoors, you can introduce a litter box and a scratching post. You can also have some cat toys throughout the house. Let your cat become comfortable being inside.
If you are having trouble with the transition, it may be best to simply move the cat inside and let it adjust. Your cat might hide for a few days, but it will eventually become comfortable indoors. Make sure that you create a habitat that is friendly for your cat, and take comfort during the transition knowing that it will be happier, healthier, and safer indoors.