How to put sunscreen on your cat

isolated cat


  • You can protect your cat's light and white patches of skin with pet-safe sunscreen.
  • Apply a thin layer of sunscreen to both sides of your cat’s ears and above their nose as necessary.
  • Distract your cat afterwards with cat treats or a game to stop them from trying to lick off the sunscreen.
  • Be patient with your cat and get them used to the process gradually.

Putting sunscreen on your cat

Step 1 – Preparation

Use a pet-safe, long-lasting sunscreen, at least factor 30.

Step 2 – Apply the sunscreen

  • Apply a thin layer to the front and back of your cat’s ears.
  • Be gentle when touching your cat’s ears, as they are sensitive.
  • If your cat has light-coloured skin above their nose, apply some sunscreen there too.

Step 3 – Distraction

  • Play with your cat or use treats to distract them from trying to lick off the sunscreen.

Getting your cat used to the process gradually is a good idea. Start by showing them the sunscreen container and giving them treats at the same time. You can also gently touch their ears and give them treats simultaneously. Then slowly build up to applying the sunscreen. Always be very patient with your cat.

If you are struggling, then contact your vet for their advice.


Why do I need to put sunscreen on my cat?

A skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma is much more common in cats with white or light-coloured skin. This is because their skin is more vulnerable to UV light. A pet-safe, long-acting sunscreen will help protect your cat from the sun.

Can cats wear human sunscreen?

You shouldn’t use human sunscreen on your cat, in case the ingredients aren’t safe and your cat licks it off. You should always use a pet-safe sunscreen.

Published: September 2022

Written by vets and vet nurses. This advice is for UK pets only. Illustrations by Samantha Elmhurst.