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White Cats and Skin Cancer

Before you let Snowball outside, consider this: White and light colored cats lack the protective pigments in their skin that other colored cats have, and are therefore more susceptible to skin cancer. Skin cancer (typically squamous cell carcinoma) is found most often on the tips of the ears, thinning hair areas (around the ear base and eyelids) and the tip of the nose. Squamous cell carcinomas are seen more in cats that live at high altitudes and in cats that spend a lot of time in the sun. Initially, the lesions can appear as small scabby or crusty areas resembling a scratch or pimple. The only preventative measure is to keep your cat out of direct sunlight, particularly during the peak sun hours (10am-2pm). Sun block is not effective due to cat’s meticulous groom habits.

If you see sores on your cat, plan a visit to your vet right away for proper diagnosis.