Do cats need sunlight? Benefits of vitamin D to Cats

Do cats need sunlight

You may notice that your cat loves sleeping in the sun and enjoy the sunshine. Why do the cats do that? Do cats need sunlight? Do they get vitamin D from sunlight? There are so many questions that may arise in your mind. 

Do cats need sunlight?

Everybody likes to relax in the sun. Why don’t the cats? The sunlight gives them warmth and pleasure. 

The cats need sunlight as long as they relax moderately. There are the following advantages:

1. For relaxation:

The cats feel comfortable and get warmth from the sunlight, which makes them relax. They require the heat of the sun. Cats can tolerate up to 122 degrees F in temperature. It is good news that cats can tolerate both cold and hot.

2. To balance the body temperature:

Like many other mammals, the cat’s body temperature decreases during their relaxation or sleep time. It is because the body remains calm and does not consume energy at that time.

Cats compensate for this temperature drop by lying in a warm place or sleeping at a place where it gets sun heat. That is the main reason for finding our furry friend sleeping on the balcony or beside a window. 

3. For vitamin D:

Sunlight is an important source of vitamin D. Sunlight is also necessary for cats as a source of vitamin D as it is for humans. Vitamin D is helpful for the bones and beneficial against rheumatism, which is a widespread disease in cats.

Cats prefer to sleep under sunlight, but this is the cat and many other breeds. Most animal enjoys the sun’s warmth on their skin. 

Benefits of vitamin D to the cat:

Vitamin D is a crucial necessity for cats. We can call it a sunshine vitamin, as sun exposer allows the body to its natural produce. 

Vitamin D controls the body’s calcium level and thus indirectly affects the growth and maintenance of bone. It regulates calcium absorption from the intestine, calcium movement in bone, and the kidney’s calcium excretion. Not only this but also nerves and muscles need it to function properly.

Inadequate vitamin D can result in the cat’s congestive heart failure. It is also proved that The lack of this vitamin increases the heart disease complications risk and disorders in bone-like osteomalacia and rickets. It has also shown in research that low vitamin D levels are associated with increased cancer risk.

Thus, Like other animals, all cats need an appropriate proportion of vitamin D to maintain health. Vitamin D also has main functions in cats; the most important are the following:

  • It is required for the development of bone and skeleton.
  • It plays an essential function in the metabolism of calcium and phosphorus. 
  • This vitamin helps to absorb calcium from the intestine and kidneys.
  • It influences the body’s development, reproduction, and immune system. 
  • Vitamin D performs an important role in the cats’ nerve and muscle management.

Cats, however, produce very low vitamin D in sunlight. They get dietary vitamin D. It comes from high-quality, vitamin D-fortified pet foods.

Lack of sunlight in cats – what are the consequences?

As a sun lover, cats always love taking a nap in a sunny place. This is necessary for monitoring their base metabolic rates and regulate their body temperature.

It is not necessary for the cat to get sunlight. But to make them happy, give warmth, and maintain their body temperature, the sun’s heat is necessary.

Cats can live without sunlight in an apartment. In that case, you have to ensure quality cat food for it.

But it is good to take your cat outside sometimes to get sunlight or allow it to lie near the window or on the balcony so that it can sleep happily under the sun’s heat. 

What are other sources of vitamin D that you can provide to cats?

Unlike a human, cats do not respond to sunlight by synthesizing vitamin D in their skin. Thus, cats depend on their food to receive vitamin D, which is often added to pet foods.  

Vitamin D is present in food as cholecalciferol and ergocalciferol. 

Fish and egg yolks are the most popular forms of vitamin D food for cats, although they can also be available in beef and milk. 

The cat food provides a good amount of vitamin D for the cat. If you give your cat homemade food, you need to consult a veterinarian who has a veterinary food certification to ensure that the cat gets all of the nutrients required for optimal health.

You need to provide your cat with premium dry cat food that ensures the required amount of all the nutrients and vitamin D. 

If your cat does not get enough vitamin D from diet alone, a multivitamin supplement designed for cats is ideal for better providing nutrition at a sufficiently balanced amount.

The final thoughts:

When the question arises, is there any necessity for sunlight for cats? The answer is, of course, they need. But this is only for their comfort and well being. The heat of the sun provides relaxation, warmth to the cats.

The human body can synthesize sunlight vitamin D, and we, the people, greatly depend on sun heat as the source of vitamin D. But it is totally different in cats. This is because of their coat; they can not acquire it fully. That is why cats actually require a high-quality and healthy diet; this gives them the nutrients and vitamins they need.

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