Why Do Cats Lay in the Sun?

Cats love the sun. Some cats love to bask in the sun’s warmth. And some cats love the feeling of the sun on their fur. 

Regardless of a cat’s individual preferences, all cats benefit from exposure to sunlight. Sunlight is essential for keeping a cat healthy and active.

Why Do Cats Lay in the Sun?

Cats actually lay in the sun because it is a way to regulate their body temperature. Cats’ fur helps them to regulate their body temperature. Still, when the weather becomes hot, they will lay down and sunbathe to stay comfortable.

Cats will go inside and cool down when the air temperature gets too high. However, when the air temperature gets too low, they will lay in the sun to warm up again.

Cats are naturally drawn to the warmth of the sun. This behavior is likely a means of conserving energy and staying warm during colder weather. 

Cats who lay in the sun may be doing so for pleasure or health reasons, but it’s an adorable habit to watch!

The Benefits of Cat Sunbathing

Anyone who’s ever sat in a sunny spot with their cat knows that the animals love it. Cat sunbathing can provide many benefits for both cats and humans. Here are six of the most notable:

  1. Cats get more than just a good tan. Sun exposure has increased activity levels, better moods, stronger immune systems, and even reduced anxiety in cats. These benefits are especially important for seniors or those with health conditions.
  2. Sunlight helps keep cats healthy by providing Vitamin D. Studies have shown that Vitamin D is important for the brain, heart, bones and other organs.
  3. When cats sunbathe, they lower their body temperature, which is great for a cat living in colder climates. The heat emitted from their bodies also helps the cat feel cooler during hot weather!
  4. Cats who spend time in the sun have lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  5. The UV light in sunlight can help to stop cat skin cancer from growing.
  6. Sunlight can also help improve moods and energy levels in cats.

Cats spend around two-thirds of their time sleeping and lounging, so spending some time soaking up the sun is natural for them.

The Risks of Cat Sunbathing

Walking around your house with a cat sunbathing on your head is tempting, but there are some risks you should be aware of., including:

  1. Cats can get heatstroke if they stay in the sun for too long.
  2. They might catch sunburn or other skin conditions.
  3. They might become distracted by the bright light and unable to watch out for predators.
  4. They may be attracted to the light and walk into traffic or other dangerous situations.
  5. Cats may be targets for theft or harm if people think they are unprotected or vulnerable.

How to Keep Your Cat Safe While They Lay in the Sun

Keeping your cat safe while they lay in the sun is important for their health, but it also means keeping them out of the reach of predators. Here are a few tips to help keep your cat safe while they sunbathe:

  1. Keep a close eye on your cat at all times, and make sure they don’t wander away from you or the area where you’re lying down. If they do, call them back immediately and try to recapture them with food or a toy.
  2. If you can’t keep an eye on them, put up some barriers around yourself and your cat to keep predators at bay. This could include setting up some baby gates or using a large towel or blanket as a barrier between you and the outside world.
  3. Choose a shady spot for your cat to lay down in. If possible, find a well-shaded spot, or cover them with a towel if there isn’t any shade available.
  4. Keep them hydrated. Make sure they have plenty of fresh water and snacks to keep them energized and healthy during their time in the sun.
  5. Protect their eyes. Cats often focus on what they see close to them, so make sure to put something between them and the sun when they’re lying down. This could be a piece of foil, a piece of paper, or even sunglasses!
  6. If you notice any signs of heat exhaustion, such as panting heavily or vomiting, take your cat inside immediately and cool them down with cold water and wet towels.


Cats may lay in the sun for several reasons, including 

  • Some cats may enjoy the warmth and feel of the sun on their fur
  • others may be seeking out a sense of security or comfort from the sun’s rays, 
  • others may be trying to communicate with other cats in a way that is difficult to do indoors. 

Either way, it is important to keep your cat safe by limiting exposure to the sun and providing them with plenty of shade and shelter when needed.

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