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06th May 2021

Pet owners warned about sun as Irish cat has ears amputated

Sarah McKenna Barry

While cats love lounging in the hot weather, serious damage can be done.

Irish pet owners are being urged to keep their cats indoors and apply sunscreen during the hottest days of the year.

The warning from Cats Protection comes after a cat had to have her ears amputated and one eye removed due to sun damage.

Smurf was found on the streets of Belfast last year. Initially, veterinarians thought she had been hit by a car but they soon realised that the damage to her ears and eyes was from the sun.

She was eventually rehomed.

Her new owner, Kate Large, stressed the importance of sun protection.

“She wasn’t in Lisbon or Madrid,” Kate told the PA News Agency. “She was outside in Northern Ireland for less than a year, with the amount of sun we get in Ireland, and this was the damage it caused.”

Thankfully, Smurf is doing well today.

“Smurf is just a really easy cat,” Kate said. “She’s so grateful, she had to fight so hard for a basic, decent life. I look at her, and think, to me, she is perfect.”

Cat Protection’s central veterinary officer Sarah Elliot warned pet owners about sun damage.

“Cats are notorious for their love of lounging around in the sun but, just as with humans, this can be a very dangerous activity when the sun is at its hottest.

“Even on a cold day, when the sun is bright then there is still the potential for damage to occur.”

Elliot added that pale-coloured cats, like Smurf, are particularly at risk:

“It may take a few years before the damage is visible but, once the early stages of cancer set in, cats require urgent veterinary treatment to prevent it spreading.”

The organisation encourages cat owners to keep their pets indoors when the sun is at its hottest. Cats should be provided with shade when outdoors, and with plenty of water to drink.

Additionally, vets can recommend suitable cat sunscreen.

For more information on protecting your cat from sun damage, head to Cats Protection’s website.