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Do cats need sunlight, does sunshine make vitamin D in cats?

Do indoor cats need sunlight and sunshine?

Many people love cats and get them as pets. Cats are perfect for people who have smaller apts. or have no backyard. However because indoor cats stay inside all the time many people ask if cats need sunlight? Do cats need sunshine to produce vitamin D and be healthy?

The reason many people ask that is they have heard that many animals produce vitamin D from exposure to sunlight. That is true, many animals do indeed require a certain amount of sunlight on their skin to produce vitamin D.

Even humans make vitamin D through contact from the sunshine. However cats are one of the types of animals that do not make vitamin D through contact with sunshine, or at least very little. In fact felines require very little vitamin D, unlike other animals.

Cats enjoy sitting in the sunshine

Cats enjoy laying in the sunlight

Cats enjoy laying in the sunlight

Cats like sitting in windowsills

Cats like sitting in windowsills

Cats get vitamin D from their food

Wild cats get their amount of vitamin D through their prey. This makes sense, as felines are normally nocturnal and hunt at night, then sleep during the day. Domestic cats get their required amount of vitamin D from cat food, which is why it's important to feed your cat quality cat food.

So do cats need sunshine to be healthy? The answer is no they do not. Cats could be kept indoors with no sunlight at all and they would not be unhealthy from it. You may read articles saying cats do need sunlight, but that is false and not correct.

However we all can tell that cats do ENJOY being in the sun. Cats always seem to want to sit in the window or lay out on the floor where the sunlight is coming in. So while cats don't need sunlight to be healthy, you should try to have a window with open shades available for their happiness.

Letting in some sunlight makes a cat happy and seems to have a calming effect on them. I know my cat looks forward to when I open my shades in the morning and jumps in the window to look out. So a little sun is good to provide your cat if you can.

But don't worry about if your indoor cat is getting enough sunlight. Cats don't need sunlight to be healthy. Cats don't make vitamin D or anything else from exposure to sunshine. They get it from cat food, so just make sure your feeding your pet good cat food and your cat will be fine!


Andre on July 14, 2016:

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Wrong, that´s not true!

All animals do need sunligt/UVB light to keep healty.

Maya on October 26, 2015:

I was very concerned if my cats would not get enough sun. I feel better now, we animal lovers always want to do the best for them.

Busy Bee 23 on August 24, 2010:

I had never thought of this either.I have a cat who seems to try his best to find the sunlight when it is shining.

Even if this means breaking my $25 vase.

ZAS on August 19, 2010:

Interesting, I had not thought of this question, but now I know-the best kind of learning. Thanks for the info.

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