Any human who lives with a cat or two has probably noticed a connection between cats and sunlight. Even as I type this, my own handsome boy is stretched out in a lovely beam of sunshine. My cat adores the sun! It’s really fun to see him stretched out in a sunny spot. You could say he’s living his best life. But why do cats like to sleep in the sunlight? Read on for some answers to this common question about cats.
Did you know that cats’ overall temperatures are higher than ours? Even without a thermometer, you can feel it. Cats enjoy the sun because it’s so warm. And that warmth feels differently to them because of the higher temp. That sunbeam might feel too hot to you. But to your cat, it’s heavenly. It’s one reason why cats like to sleep in the sunlight.
Cats Don’t Have as Many Heat Receptors
On a similar note, Purina says that cats do not have the same number of heat receptors we do. So that same sunbeam which feels scorching hot to you feels comfortable for kitty. This could also mean that your cat doesn’t feel pain as quickly as humans do. You probably don’t have to worry so much about this with a sunbeam streaming indoors. But you might want to keep a close eye on cats around hot stoves or hair tools. With fewer receptors that sense heat, cats might be at risk of a burn. The same goes for a kitty spending time in direct sunshine outdoors.
Your cat’s love of the sun correlates with his higher body temp. But it also means that he won’t have to produce so much energy. The sun will keep him warm when he sleeps. This is important because your cat’s temp will get lower when he sleeps. If your cat sleeps in the sunlight, it helps give him a little boost.
Sunlight is Just Relaxing
Finally, sometimes soaking in the sun is just plain relaxing. Have you ever taken a moment to sit in the sunshine? You’ve probably felt yourself relax a bit. That warmth and Vitamin D can work wonders when you’ve had a stressful day. Your cat probably didn’t have too much stress in his life. However, cats just plain enjoy the sunlight. It’s a pretty natural instinct for many cats. The same could be said of us humans as well!
Is Sunlight Good for Cats?
Sunshine is a healthy thing for living beings. However, you will want to keep an eye on your cat. Indoor cats could still get a sunburn, though it’s a little less likely. Outdoors cats in direct sunshine are more likely to experience a bit of a sunburn. Solar dermatitis is something that could occur if cats are exposed to too much sunlight over time. It’s not something to be overly concerned about. However, as your cat’s guardian, it’s good to be aware of it. Let your cat enjoy his sunlight, but be sure to pay attention to any changes in him and call in the vet if needed.