Buying a pet-friendly sunblock
Q I've been using children's sunblock on my white moggy's ears to protect him from the sun. Can you suggest a pet-friendly alternative?
Vet Martha Cannon answers: Cats with thin, light-coloured or white fur on their ears or around their nose are susceptible to sun damage. As with humans, excessive sun exposure can lead to skin cancer in some cases.
The ear tips can sometimes be successfully amputated if a tumour grows but cases around the nose are very hard to deal with. The early stages of cancer usually involve the formation of little brown scabs which bleed when picked off.Later, a more solid mass may develop, which often bleeds easily.
Prevention involves trying to reduce the amount of time that your cat spends in bright sunlight. This can be difficult if he is a sun worshipper, but providing shade and possibly restricting access outside on very sunny days will help, in particular when the sun is at its hottest.
Human hypo-allergenic sunscreens can be used, but many cats will not appreciate a perfumed product and some of them are too sticky for comfort. Sunscreen sprays manufactured for use in pets are lighter in texture, making them nicer to use. They are widely available from pet shops and vets.