Why Do Cats Lay in the Sun? 8 Benefits for Sun Worshipping Felines
Why do Cats Lay in the Sun? Do they just like to feel the warmth of the sun’s rays on their fur, or are there other reasons? Let’s find out!
It’s clear that cats have a particular affinity for getting some sun on their fur. There are a few reasons why cats may lay in the sun. One possibility is that they are trying to warm up. This goes back to their wild ancestors who lived in the Middle Eastern desert. Heat and warmth make cats feel content and improve their mood, helping them to relax and sleep. The sun’s rays also help to kill insects and bacteria on the cats fur. In this article, we’ll dive deep into the reasons cats like to lay in the sun.
Why do cats lay in the sun?
There are many reasons cats like to lay in the sun, and the suns UV rays are beneficial to a cat’s health and wellbeing. Outdoor cats will find a sunny spot to take a cat nap, while those that spend much of their time indoors will often be found cat napping on a warm sunny windowsill. Here are the main reasons that cats like to lay in the sun.
1. To increase their body temperature
Most breeds of cats originate from countries with warm climates. Domesticated cats will seek out the warmth of the sun to help them feel better. The sun will also help a cat to increase and maintain his ideal body temperature.
According to the Peoples Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA), a cat’s normal body temperature should be 38 to 39°C (100 to 102F). The ideal temperature for a cat is hotter than the average home, which is why cats will seek out the warmest spot in the house.
2. Improve their mood
Another possibility is that the sun may help improve their mood. Sun exposure can increase serotonin levels in the body, and serotonin is known to have mood-boosting effects.
3. Kill harmful parasites and bacteria
Cats may simply enjoy lying in the sun and getting some exposure to ultraviolet radiation. UV radiation can help kill off harmful bacteria and parasites on the skin and fur.
4. Pain relief and recovery
Some cats may also like to rest in the sun because it helps them deal with chronic pain, injury, arthritis, and muscle soreness. While there is no way to be certain whether or not this is why your cat enjoys lying in the sun, it certainly makes sense when you consider that warmth and heat can help ease these types of ailments.
5. Induces sleep
Many cats are drawn to the warmth of the sun because they find it soothing, and it can help them fall asleep. By curling up in a sunny spot, your cat can quickly drift off into a peaceful slumber. The sun and sleep will help a cat conserve energy. UV rays also help with the production of a hormone called melatonin which is essential for the sleep-wake cycle of cats.
6. Regulates the shedding of fur
As the seasons change and the weather hots up, your cat will begin to shed his fur. Cats have a thicker winter coat and will start to shed in the spring when the weather gets warmer. When a cat starts to lay in the sun regularly, the warm weather will trigger shedding.
7. Beneficial for hormones
Sunlight also activates breeding hormones in unneutered female cats, and the breeding cycles will revolve around the seasons. Most cats will naturally have kittens in the spring through the summer to early fall. The increased warmth and more hours of daily sunlight will mean that cats come into heat in the spring.
Cats have an estrous cycle which is most commonly referred to by vets as the heat cycle. This is mother nature’s way to ensure the species’ survival as it means that kittens won’t be born in the harsh winters. However, with modern central heating, cats’ estrous cycles can be affected, and kittens can be born year-round in domesticated cats.
8. Dries out wounds
The sun also helps to dry out wounds and kills bacteria, helping cats that have been injured to heal faster.
Is it safe for my cat to lay in the sun?
The best way to keep your cat is to ensure she doesn’t overheat. Cats are like any other animal and will likely enjoy lying in the sun so long as the temperature isn’t too hot for them.
If you think your cat is too hot, you’ll need to move her to a cooler spot. It would help if you also kept an eye on your cat for signs of getting too much sun, such as excessive panting, drooling or red skin. If you see any of these symptoms, it’s best to get your cat out of the sun and into the shade.
While laying in the sun may feel good, it can be dangerous for white cats or cats with white fur on their ears. The skin on white cats is especially sensitive and can burn easily. You’ll want to be extra cautious with your white cat because he could get seriously hurt from the sun’s rays.
Are there any breeds of cats that don't like the sun?
All cats like the sun to some degree, but a few breeds seem to enjoy it more than others. Siamese cats, for example, are often found sleeping in sunny spots.
Cats that originate from colder climates will spend less time sleeping in the sun. Breeds such as Persians, Maine Coons, Siberians, and Norwegian Forest cats have thick fur and are more likely to overheat if they spend hours laying in the sun.
Why do cats lay in the sun? It seems that there are several benefits to getting some sun exposure for cats. Sunlight helps cats regulate their circadian rhythm (also called the “biological clock”), the 24-hour cycle of biological processes that influences sleeping and waking, hormone release, body temperature, metabolism, hunger levels, and other bodily functions.
If you have cats, be sure to let them outside on a sunny day for between 20 and 40 minutes so they can enjoy all the benefits the sun brings. Sleeping in a bright spot indoors may not provide your cat with as many benefits as the glass of windows block the sun’s UV rays.