What Thumbelina’s story can teach us about pet sun safety

For people like you and me, sun safety is second nature. We know that if we don’t slip, slop, slap on hot days, we could get a sunburn. Or worse, develop harmful skin cancers.

But did you know that our pets experience the same risks?

Cats and dogs with white hair have a higher risk of skin cancer and as such, need to be protected from UV rays just like us.

Thumbelina’s story is a great example of what can happen if a white cat doesn’t get the proper protection she needs.

Thumbelina the cat

Thumbelina for blog

When a fragile cat named Thumbelina arrived at RSPCA NSW, she was suffering from numerous health issues. She was exposed to the sun and elements for too long, causing painful sores to develop on her ears.

Veterinarians discovered she was especially sensitive to the sun’s UV rays. They made the difficult but necessary decision to have the tips of her ears surgically removed due to the detection of pre-cancerous cells.

Thumbelina was also diagnosed with a chronic disease that caused inflammation and swelling around her gums. It was very painful for her to even eat or drink.

Sadly, there is no permanent cure for her disease. The veterinarians decided that the best course of action to alleviate her pain, and to reduce the risk of further inflammation, would be to surgically remove her teeth.

While she is still delicate, Thumbelina is now pain-free and enjoys a much higher quality of life. She has been adopted into her new forever home, where she stays cosy indoors and receives the extra care and attention that she requires.

Pet sun safety

If we’ve learned anything from Thumbelina’s story, it’s that pet sun safety should be a top priority.

To keep your white-haired pet away from UV-related harm, follow these basic guidelines:

  • Provide shade
  • Apply zinc to their nose and ears
  • Limit walks to morning and afternoons
  • Keep them inside where appropriate