Why do cats lay in the sun? – All about cat sunbathing.

Out of all the mysteriously funny things that cats do to leave you all perplexed, the thought of why do cats lay in the sun might have also bugged you many times. As unnatural it may seem from the surface as the scorching sun is generally avoided by everyone, even the animals, there are certain reasons behind it. It is to reveal those reasons to you that we are here with some interesting information on why do cats like the sun.


Some facts on the relation of cats and warmth

For the starters, you might like to know some facts about the physical and behavioral characteristics of cats that show a close relationship with heat. These will certainly clear a major part of your confusion as to why your cat loves to roll on the warm grass under the sun.

  • The body temperature of cats is around 102 degrees that clearly explains why they can easily feel cold in conditions where we humans won't.
  • Cats are believed to be natives of the extremely hot Middle Eastern desserts, thus, their body has a naturally high tolerance to heat.
  • The high metabolism of cats also generates the need for more heat intake.

These factors will get clearer to you as we will tell you why do cats sunbathe and what they do with the heat in the coming sections.

Interesting aspects of cat sunbathing

why do cats lay in the sun

The sun needs of all the cats are different, so is the love for warmth. The natural body built of the cats also explains this. The cats with long hair are better at heat conservation due to the thick fur and the opposite is the case with short hair cats that tend to love the sun more due to their thin fur.

Usually, cats prefer exposing their belly to the sun as the warmth gets absorbed faster this way. They take care of their other body parts too, like nose and ears, by getting them right heat too. Well, cats sometimes roll in the sun just due to happiness and comfort.

Ways in which cats utilize heat

Given the innate relationship with hot conditions, cats need heat to provide for many existential requirements, and what can be a better source for it if not the sun’s warmth. Let’s see why do cats sunbathe and what all they do with the heat.

Maintain body temperature

Warmth is simply loved by cats and this is visible in their behavior all along. Their natural body temperature is higher and tends to lose heat faster.

Provide for high metabolism

Cats are fast and active creatures but they also love lazing around. No matter what, every activity tires them out much and heat absorption helps to supply for the high metabolism.

Make Vitamin D for body

Sunlight helps Vitamin D synthesis in cats just like ours, only that the generated vitamin remains on the outer fur of the cat’s body. This is ingested by them during the self-grooming of the fur.

Synthesizing protein

Cats love protein-rich diets and protein is one such nutrient that needs to be synthesized well enough in their bodies and also not end up disturbing the energy conservation. All of their body’s nutrient needs are extracted from protein only and a lot of metabolic shares are spent in this, in turn, explains why do cats lay in the sun.

Maintain the hormonal cycle

Female cats maintain their hormones with warmth from the sun. They reproduce according to the seasonal cycle where the shining sun is very important for keeping the reproduction-related components in order. Their shedding cycle is also maintained with the sun’s cycle.

Store the energy

Cats can store energy generated from the heat intake. The metabolism of cats is always high usually and any drop in it can be made up of this stored energy.

Maintain the sleep-time comfort

Cats suffer a drop in the body temperature as well as metabolism when they sleep due to the shutting down of body processes. The energy stored compensates for this loss.

Burn lesser energy

Cats manage to stay toasty by soaking in the sun more, especially during the cold seasons. By absorbing more outer warmth, they don’t need to burn more calories for body heating and this is another answer to why do cats like the sun.

Preying style

Cats depend upon intelligent hunting since they can use the physical strength only for short periods. For all the other times, they need smart brains and this increases the load on metabolism plus more heat requirement.

Pain relief in aging cats

Problems of general discomfort like arthritis and bone pain in the aging cats get calmed down by the warmth of the sun.

Saving cats from too much sun

Though sun and cats share a close relation, it doesn’t mean that any level of cat sunbathing is safe. Here are some tips on protecting and treating them from too much heat.

  • Cats can suffer sunburns too with different degrees of damage as per their breed. You can use feline-safe sunscreens when leaving them out in the high sun.
  • Keep the burned cats indoors. You can use cool water, aloe vera gel, moisturizers, or professional help as per the need for treating them.
  • Sunstrokes are also a possibility in cats and that can get as bad as hyperthermia. Provide immediate hydration, electrolytes, cold towel wrap, or vet help as required.
  • Also, look for sun-damaged skin on your cat as that can turn into skin cancer.
  • Give lukewarm cat food and water to the cats that can help their heat needs indoors.
  • Make DIY spaces for the cats that are warm enough for them to sleep when there is no sun outside.


We believe that by now you would have understood why do cats lay in the sun. As much as sunbathing is simply enjoyed by cats, it is a very crucial thing for their survival too. Allow your cat to bask in the crispy sunlight but also make sure that they don’t over-do the intake.

Related posts:

Rate this post
Luna Tran

My name is Luna and I am a great cat lover and a cat owner of three lovely cats. I have owned many cats till now and have dedicated many years to nurturing and caring cats. Through this blog, I am here to share my knowledge and experience about cats.