Today Kitties Blue are supporting another very important event: Don’t Fry Day.
When our mom was a young girl she had several very bad sunburns. She was not a sun worshiper. She found lying and baking in the sun boring. In the 50s and 60s, parents didn’t understand the damage the sun was wreaking on their children’s skin or that they would pay for it later in life.
Since high school, Mom has tried to be very protective of her skin by staying in the shade and wearing sun block/screen. Even though she does this now, the damage was done. She’s had basel cell carcinoma. Additionally, in 1997, she lost her two best friends to malignant melanoma.
But, as we stated in yesterday’s teaser, skin cancer is not only a disease affecting humans. Animals are susceptible as well, especially those with white fur and pink noses as well as hairless breeds. Mom and Dad learned about this first hand with our angel brother, Madison.
When our humans adopted Madison as a stray, they’d never had an all-white kitty and had no idea that their sun lover was at danger. Then one summer, they noticed that the tips of Madison’s ears were crusty. Being good kitty parents, Madison was whisked off to the vet. That is when they learned about feline solar dermatitis.
As Madison’s ears were covered with fur, Mom and Dad never even considered that Madison could get a sunburn. But that’s exactly what was happening every summer. Madison had solar dermatitis caused by long-term exposure to sunlight and UV rays. This often clears up over the summer, as it did with Madison. Continued exposure, however, can lead to cancer of the outer layer of the epidermis (skin). This outer layer is made up of cells called squamous epithelium.
A squamous cell carcinoma is a type of cancer that originates in the squamous epithelium. It may appear to be a white plaque or a raised bump on the skin. Often the raised area will become necrotic in the center and develop an ulcer, which may bleed. This cancer is fast growing, invasive and usually malignant. Early diagnosis and treatment are critical as this cancer can easily metastasize to your cat’s organs.
Older cats with white or light-colored fur and living at high altitudes are most susceptible. The most common locations for tumors are the front of the nose, eyelids, lips, and ear tips, but lesions or growths can be found anywhere on your cat’s body.
The course of treatment will depend on the size and number of tumor(s). When lesions are diagnosed early before turning to cancer, it is possible to treat with topical medications. If only a small tumor is found and it has not spread to your cat’s organs, three methods exist for removing it:
- Cryosurgery (freezing)
- Light (photodynamic) therapy
Larger tumors will need to be removed surgically and skin grafting may be required. Some tumors may require amputation of ear tips, part of the nose or other body parts depending on the location of the tumor(s). Chemotherapy and radiation also may be required if the tumor cannot be removed completely.
Recurrence is possible making regular veterinarian exams critically important. A full recovery is dependent on size and location of the tumor(s).
To prevent development of solar dermatitis and squamous cell carcinoma, limit your cat’s exposure to direct sunlight between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. If you do allow your cat outside during daylight hours, a waterproof sunscreen should be applied to the cat’s ears and nose.
For additional information regarding diagnosis and treatment, visit Vetstream.com and/or PetMD.com, the sources for this post.
For Don’t Fry Day, Mom will donate 50 cents to the Animal Cancer Foundation (with no maximum) for each comment on this post received prior to 12:01 a.m. EDT Monday. So please spread the word among your friends. The more comments, the greater the donation.
Also, please don’t forget to comment on yesterday’s post: Red Nose Day Commentathon. Mom will donate 50 cents per comment (no maximum) made prior to 12:01 a.m. EDT Sunday to the Red Nose Day campaign.
Thanks for helping us Pay It Forward!
Purrs and paw-pats, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Jo
What kind of sunscreen is safe for kitties?
Sunscreen for humans and kitties and puppies too! Noone wants the pain of sunburn or possibly cancer! Be careful out there!
Wonderful, informative post! Thank you for sharing.
This is a very important public service announcement!
I’m happy that everyone is understanding the outcome of excessive sun. Animals foo need protection. Thank you for this article!
Great post about an important subject. We’re tackling cancer clues this week wirh a video from Cole and Marmalade.
Mama puts sunscreen on our doggie’s noses! She has had too many pre-cancerous moles and understands how damaging the sun can be. Especially here in Texas where we get UV index 10. Great reminder to pet owners that pets need protection too.
I tried commenting before the cutoff, but the internet burped. That said, thank you for bringing attention to this very important topic for animals and humans.
Very important information for sure, great for you to do a Comment-a-thon in honor of this.
That’s very valuable information – had no idea animals could get that! Sending Harvey very best wishes for a full recovery – bet he can’t wait to get rid of that cone! 🙂
Goodness we had no idea about people frying and I asked Dad and he said he had a bad burn once when he was sitting on the beach with his feet in a hole full of cool sand and… well he got really burned so watches his skin and never goes out without sun screen today.
We are supporting dear Harvey who has his cone on in todays selfie
Timmy and Family
Mom’s sister had a white cat that developed skin cancer, so we are familiar with this. And within our family, several people have developed basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma, including my Dad. He had to have HIS ear top surgically excised and a part of his nose operated on and skin grafted!! We are very glad to see parents of young ones nowadays being more careful about sun exposure with rash guards and so forth. Yet the beach is still the most fun place to go on vacation with children.
It is wonderful that you are having this commentathon!
What an excellent post. Horses with white faces are especially susceptible to this too. Wonderful of you to be doing the comment-a-thons. Sorry I missed yesterday’s in time.
This is for Harvey – I hope you get better soon!
I also had a few bad burns as a child, but have been very careful as an adult. It’s very, very scary. I had no idea that cats could also get skin cancer. Thanks for this most informative post.
Thanks for the reminder! Starla is the only white cat among us, and we all love our sun puddles but stay inside (except for Tigress and Little Nissy). Thanks for the important information, and for doing a commentathon for both this and Red Nose Day. We shared this post on Mommy’s Pinterest site as well as FB.
Thank you for such an informative article. Mom Paula had a squamous cell place removed from abdomen two years ago. She was one of those in the 60s and 70s who worshiped the sun and she’s very fair complexion. She tries to be careful now, but the damage is already done. We don’t go outside, so we should be pretty safe.
ok, Mom L and I just decided; in honor of Harvey Button, in New Zealand, we will MATCH Miss Janet’s 50 cents per comment. So there you go…find some more peeps to comment
*leaky eyes for Madison* we never knew this about white cats and dogs for a very long time. We purr that cat guardians will listen and learn and take care of their indoor/outdoor feline family. Fabulous post
Thanks for the information. We never thought about cats getting skin cancer.
Pawsum posty. Gweat infurmation here. Sowry yous had to llearn da hawd way, but dat’s what happens to offen wiff us kitties. Mommy was a bit of a sun worshiper too fur a bit but not anymore.
Dezi and Lexi
We know a few peeps with various skin cancers…meowmy had some mples removed, but they were not cancer:)
Grandpawppy had skin cancer on his eyelids, that was horrible.
This is likely a problem for pups as well…
That’s an impawtant information ! We learned a lot, thank you ! Purrs
I am sorry you are so familiar with skin cancer and lost 2 friends to it. I have 3 white kitties, indoor only, but I worry about the one I found on the street who had lived outdoors for years. It is very nice of you to be having a commentathon for this in addition to red nose day.
Our Dad has had a ton of basal cells and one squamous cell growth removed. He is checked twice a year for it.
None of us go out but Mom learned about skin cancer in pets when she had her American Eskimo woofie Katie. Being pure white she was susceptible to skin cancer. Fortunately, she never had it.
The Florida Furkids with special love and smoochies to Mau from Allie
That is a very generous thing to do and also this is a very important message!
What a wonderful and generous thing you’re doing!
Thank you for sharing such valuable information about this terrible disease. We didn’t realize how this can affect our kitties.
What a wonderful thing you’re doing! Thank you for the great information.
We are here! We will add your commentathon to the blog!
My mom & dad avoid the sun and use special sunscreen (the zinc kind, not the chemically kind). I guess it’s a good thing I’m an indoor kitty. Even though I like to bask in sunpuddles, I don’t think I’ll ever get a sunburn. It’s very important for people to know that they have to protect their kitty’s skin just like they protect their own skin.
Thanks for sharing this all too important information. And paws up to your mom for doing a commentathon!
Mom is a melanoma survivor.
So this is near and dear to her heart.
She is careful in the sun. A little is good but not too much, and we live in FL.
My Mom has a white cat and has to keep an eye on her so she doesn’t get sun burnt. Mom’s also had her fair share of skin cancer, fair skinned and red haired, is a curse. Thanks for the information so others don’t have to go through the pain of cancer and the burns.
This is very important information, and a very generous commentathon.
Mee-you we are sorry you lost Madison to such an icky illness!!
An now mee knowss why LadyMum keepss mee covered or inn thee shade when mee iss outside in Condo!! Clevurr Mumma!
Wee hopess youss’ raisess lotss of green papurrss Lady Janet an Kittiess Blue!
****paw kissess**** an ~~head rubss~~
Siddhartha Henry an LadyMum xxxxxxxxxx
Whoa! Harvey from Dash Kitten just had skin cancer surgery. It’s scary but I’ve been an advocate for keeping cats indoors. I know you guys enjoy your catio. Just be careful. BTW, Gramma used to get bad sun poisoning where her face would be unrecognizable.
Thank you for this really important message, dear friends. We learned lots from your post today! Critical stuff to know, especially as we head into the long days of summer.
That is very generous of you to have this commentathon. We hope you get lots of comments.
A very important message for sure. Thanks for sharing that. I don’t have a white cat but I do have a white dog and I worry about it. And even though my cats are mostly dark (except for my two gingers), I still worry about it.
Madison was a very handsome mancat and very lucky to have your parents taking care of his best interests. I like sun puddles inside but when it heats up here I dive for the shade. Well done on informing evfurryone about this issue. Again I’m so purroud of all of you. Bisous, Bailey
That’s such good and timely information on too much sun exposure for animals. Thank you!
Thank you for spreading the word about this important topic. Thankfully this isn’t something that any of us have to worry about, as we don’t go outside. But we will know to be careful if we ever do! This information is so important, thanks again for sharing and for hosting this commentathon.
Thank you for this important information and for helping with the commenthon! We’ll be sure to limit our sun exposure.
thank you furbuddies I have some white fur and mom will watch out. Mom can’t go out in the summer because her disease (MS) don’t like the sun. She broke her rule of no going out after 11am last year and got a really bad burn within 15 minutes of being outside. So we know how dangerouse it is to be outside thanks for the article
thank you for this most impawtant info. Your Mom is one generous lady. Love, Cody
Bless your generosity
That is a wonderful thing to do!
A super important message indeed..and yes us 60’s babes were out there roasting..shudders…we have always been extra careful with the animals as i saw many many white cats and dogs especially cancer from being outside animals when i did shelter work…so many and i have always had sunblock for the furries here..plus i make them get out of the sun..Doc in particular would lie all day in the sun!! much loves Fozziemum xx
Thank you for dreading the word that even cats can get cancer from too much sun exposure.
Happy Friday Kitties Blue and smooches to my beautiful girlfriend….. Ms Lisbeth.
What a wonderful and informative post……everybody should be aware of the dangers of too much sun exposure – humans and ALL animals……Mom prefers being in the shade but when she’s got to be in the sun she has protection AND I’ve NEVER enjoyed being in the sun myself – just brief moments in sun puddles. If I’m outside I’ll ALWAYS seek a shady spot. Skin cancer is DANGEROUS……..it’s important to be careful.
Hugs, Sammy and Mom Pam
Thanks for letting us know about this! My human is a creature of the night so even before she started wearing sunscreen religiously, she avoided the sun (she is also allergic to too much sunlight). Maybe I should wear sunscreen when I go out for walks?
When I saw it on a dolphin years ago, I asked what was wrong. I was told it was caused by being in shallow water too long.
So if a dolphin can get it, anyone can. But unlike the dolphin, we humans have learned so much and articles like yours help spread the news. Thank you!
Thanks for the info! I wonder, if the same things can happen with dogs?
thats a scary disease,thanks for telling us about it and for doing the commentthon,xx Speedy