Like pale-skinned humans, white cats or cats with white ears and/or noses are very susceptible to sun damage and skin cancers. Sunburn of the ears looks much the same as it does on us – red and flaky skin. After several years of sun exposure the ears curl and bleeding sores develop.
Pale pink noses ulcerate and scab in the sun. If the ulcer penetrates the cartilage under the skin layers the skin cancer is very hard to eradicate.
Prevention is far better than cure. Keep your white cat indoors out of the sun, especially in summer between 9am and 4pm when the most intense UV rays beat down.
If sun exposure is unavoidable apply a waterproof, high SPF sunscreen labelled as safe for babies to the ears and hairless areas. It should be applied at least 10-15 minutes before your cat goes outside. The nose is difficult to protect but don’t be tempted to apply a zinc based sunblock product as the zinc could poison your cat.
Tattooing does not work because the ink is deposited in the dermis, the layer below the one affected by the sun.
If you notice any ulceration or scabbing of your cats’ nose or ears bring them in early to see us to prevent the cancer spreading to the cartilage under the skin.