Can white cats get skin cancer on their ears?

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We all recognise the relaxing feeling of the warmth from the sun, and us cat owners can almost tell the time by our cats moving around the garden or near the window as they try to remain in the sun’s rays across the lawn or carpet!

But like humans, increased time in the sun can damage the skin and in cats, ones with white ears in particular, sun burn can increase the risk of tumours and cancer.

Our blog tells you why it’s more likely that white cats get skin cancer on their ears, what the signs to look out for are, and also how to protect their ears from burning in the first place.

Tumours on cat’s ears

Whilst cats can develop several different types of skin tumours, one that can affect the ears is called a squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). This is a malignant form and particularly invasive tumour which can often return and take hold in other organs and locations on the body.

An auricular (ear) squamous cell carcinoma may be caused by excess sun exposure over a long period and is more common in white cats and in cats that have white ears.

Hairless areas of the body have less protection from the sun and white skin has less melanin in, therefore making exposed, white skinned animals more susceptible to burning.

Signs to look out for

You need to keep an eye out for:

  • redness which may come and go
  • red, crusty-looking areas on the tips of the ears
  • sores or ulcers on the ears which slowly grow larger
  • malformed ear tips as the sores become bigger
  • occasionally, sores on the face too

This type of cancer can be treated successfully if it is caught early. If you notice any sores or lumps on your cat’s ears, seek advice from your vet as soon as possible.

Preventative measures

If you want to give your cat extra protection from sun burn on more exposed areas of skin, (or any fair skinned dogs either), you can keep your pet indoors during peak sunlight hours.  You can also consider specialist skin care and sun cream ranges. See below for a range of options from Animed Direct – check with your vet prior to use to ensure these are suitable for your pet.

Don’t forget, we also sell a wide range of regular cat flea and worm treatments, foods and other accessories, all delivered directly to your door, as well as any pet medicines prescribed by your vet at great prices.