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Do Your Cats Love the Sunshine?

ginger cat streching at sunset
Image Credit: Masarik, Shutterstock
Last Updated on November 22, 2023 by Catster Editorial Team

I’ve heard it said many times that there’s nothing better than a little fun in the sun. Of course I usually hear it from someone trying to sell me a new boat, motorcycle or a family vacation package.

However, for me, it’s definitely true. I love the sunshine and will come up with any excuse I can get to get outside and enjoy the sun. Well, anything except yard work or home repairs. Even with the extreme humidity we experience during the summer here in the South, I still prefer the heat of the sun over being inside at a desk.

My cats are the same way and perhaps more so when it comes to basking in the sun. They spend a lot of extra time outside when it is a sunny day. They often are up and about as soon as the sun rises and will come back for food and rest only when the sun has set.

Image Credit: Ilona Koeleman, Shutterstock

They will even take advantage of the warm summer evenings to lie outside, and try to use the outside house lights and streetlight that shines on the driveway to get a little extra light exposure. Even while resting on a nearby fence or under a tree or bush they will find the exact spot the sun is shining through to gather some rays. They make sure to get as much exposure to the sunshine as possible each day, as if they were hoarding it for the upcoming winter season when there aren’t as many sunny days.

On most days, you will find Momma Kitty alternating between various locations to sunbathe. She will lie under her favorite cherry tree, which allows the sunshine to creep through on the side that has fewer branches. After an hour or so in that location, she will retreat to the garage for a little food, water, shade and to rest in one of several cat beds. After a couple of hours of resting inside, she will proceed to the raised garage door. She will then stick only her head outside to observe the activities at the neighbor’s house and get some sun on her face. Little by little she will move forward to expose the next half of her body to some sunshine. Eventually, her entire body is back outside in the sun and she’s lounging without a care in the world.

We have all heard that it is good for the mind, body and spirit to spend some time in the sunshine each day. Collecting the vitamin D that the sun provides can make you feel good, more vibrant, alert and alive. As long as you don’t overexpose yourself, it’s all good. I figure that if it’s good for me then it very well should be beneficial for the cats. However, I’ll admit I’m not an expert in this field. I wanted to find out more about the health risks associated with my cats getting too much sunshine. So, I did a little research and asked an expert.

According to Catster contributing writer and emergency vet Dr. Eric Barchas, DVM, cats do not need to go outside to produce vitamin D. Sunlight is not involved in vitamin D synthesis in cats. It does, however, contribute to sunburn and skin cancer. For this reason, I always recommend that you check with your cat’s veterinarian for specific treatments and needs of your cat.

As I look out the window of my office at another wonderful sunny day, I have the overwhelming desire to get outside for a while and enjoy the sunshine. Perhaps I’ll walk over to the cherry tree and spend some time with Momma Kitty. As long as I don’t block her from sunbathing she would be happy to have some company. It’s always better to enjoy fun in the sun with friends and family. Kitty family included!

Do your cats love the sunshine? Share your stories in the comments!

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Featured Image Credit: Masarik, Shutterstock

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