Why Do Cats Love the Sun?
In Syracuse, there is virtually no sun in the winter time and a limited summer season. My cats have always known the second the clouds part enough to give them one little ray of sunshine to bask in it. Guenivere used to lay in one spot in the sun for hours, then move a few inches away, only to return to the original spot moments later. It always puzzled me as to why she did this repeatedly throughout the day, but it’s a pretty simple answer.
How Does the Sun Help Cats?
Cats may seem to be the laziest creatures around. However, they don’t really have a choice in the matter. They require on average 15 hours of sleep per day, so they deserve a break on the lazy remark.
With a body temperature around 101 degrees (compared to our 98.6), cats tend to need more warmth to keep going. Being the smart animals they are, many cats will use solar power to store up energy by staying warmer while sleeping. This prevents their bodies from using unnecessary energy to keep their internal temperatures high.
Body temperatures drop during slumbertime and solar energy helps maintain that higher inner temperature. Saving up energy from basking in the sun can also contribute to a little less eating as they won’t need energy from food to fuel them.
Guinevere used to nap on a bed and move across it all day long chasing the direct sun rays.
Why Do Cats Get Greasy In the Sun?
If you have a sun puddle chasing cat, you’ll notice their fur gets greasy after prolonged sunbathing. Cats get vitamin D from their food. The warmth from the sun activates oil in the fur. Cats then lick off the oil to digest vitamin D!
Early cat ancestors from hot desert areas are wired to both love the heat and to tolerate it easier. However, not every breed can tolerate higher temperatures.
For example, the Maine Coon comes to mind. Maine Coon is our most popular breed to groom and the undercoat is incredible. I can see how they can easily overheat and love cooler temperatures. Knowing your breed type and their tolerances can save them and you from a potential medical veterinary emergency.
How Can I Help My Cat Get Light When I Live in a Cloudy Area?
If you live in a cloudy climate such as Upstate NY, how can your cat get more sun and warmth when we can go a month with no blue sky?
There are ways to keep a kitty warm and content even without direct sunlight. Here are some ideas to help:
Also, if you live in a cold climate and have outdoor cats in your neighborhood, please be aware of cats using your car engine as warmth. Tapping on the hood before you start the car to wake them up can avoid a horrible accident altogether.
Next time you see your cat all cozied up in the sun’s rays, smile and know they are happy, cozy and warm, which is what all kitties deserve.
Rock the Cat Spa owner Cari Thompson is a life-long cat lover. When she's not running the luxury cat spa & hotel, she's playing with her cat, Daphne. She writes weekly blogs on cat behavior, health, and care. To learn more about her, check out the About Me page!