By Helen Le Caplain
A ‘furious’ white cat who had to have her ears lopped off after contracting skin cancer has transformed into an affectionate feline who looks just like a teddy bear – and now needs to wear sunblock.
Pinna, described as being ‘livid to the core’ in her admission notes, was brought into the rescue centre last month [April 8] hissing and growling due to the pain in her ears caused by the cancer.
The seven-year-old stray, who’s largely white with black patches, had large dark cancerous patches on her ears caused by years of sunburn which had turned the flesh necrotic.
The poor puss, who is more at risk from the sun because of her white fur, had to undergo a four-hour op to slice off an inch and a half of each ear to remove all the diseased tissue caused by squamous cell carcinoma.
Now after surgery Pinna has transformed into a loveable bundle of fluff looking for her forever home – and will require factor 50 on her scorched ears and eyebrows every time she steps outside.
Care Co-ordinator at Bradford Cat Watch Rescue Kittens (BCWRK) Katie Lloyd said: “She was a right narky knickers when she came in because she was in pain.
“In her entry notes I just wrote ‘livid to the core’ and other volunteers mentioned they couldn’t get near her without her hissing and growling.
“Now she’s the most affectionate, loving cat you could ever wish for – it’s such a transformation.
“She went from being in horrendous pain to it being managed and turned into this adorable cat. She now looks like a teddy bear.”
Katie from Bradford, West Yorks, said as soon as they took Pinna in they realised she needed to undergo the £900 surgery.
Katie said: “After seeing her ears we knew she needed the operation.
“You could see the cancerous, necrotic tissue – it was terrible. One of the pieces was quite pointed and almost snapped off.
“Having such long surgery is risky as the anaesthetic puts a massive strain on the heart.
“It took about ten days for her to heal but she’s feeling really good now and loving life at the rescue.
“Now she’s always seeking attention. She does head bumps, purrs and rolls around on her back wanting her belly rubbed.
“I think she’s this gorgeous-looking teddy bear but there’s been no interest in her at all, it makes me really sad.”
Katie said Pinna will need to have factor 50 sunblock slathered on her ears and ‘eyebrows’ where the fur is a bit thinner whenever she goes outside.
Katie said: “Ideally she’ll find a new home here in West Yorkshire.
“She’d suit any family as she’s ok with cats and needs a loving home with people who will love her for the rest of her life.
“Ideally she’ll be an indoors cat, but if she does go outside she’ll require factor 50 sunblock on her ears and ‘eyebrows’.
“Sadly it’s very common for animals with white fur to develop this as they’re prone to sunburn.
“Pinna’s adorable and deserves a loving home.”
FACT BOX: SUN SAFETY FOR PETS
WHEN DO PETS NEED PROTECTION FROM THE SUN?
If it’s hot enough for you to feel the need for sun cream, your pet will probably need protection too. While their fur provides a little protection, they can still get sunburn, especially in areas where their fur is thinner.
The areas that are more prone to sun burn are the tips of the ears, the nose and anywhere where your pet’s fur is thin. Just like people, pets can even get sunburn on a cloudy day.
Some pets need more protection than others:
• Pets with white or pale fur
• Pets with thin or patchy fur
• Pets that have pink skin exposed on their ears, nose or belly.
HOW CAN I PROTECT MY PET FROM THE SUN?
The best way to protect your pet is to keep them out of the worst of the sun:
• Avoid walking dogs in the middle of the day when the sun is at its strongest.
• Make sure your pets have access to shade. Trees and shrubs make great shade for garden-loving dogs and cats. A blanket or tarpaulin draped over the corner of their run can offer up shade to small pets like rabbits and guinea pigs.
• Use a pet safe sun cream on sun sensitive areas, like your pet’s ears and nose. Remember to reapply it throughout the day.
• Speak to your vet if you’re worried about your pet’s skin.
SIGNS OF SKIN CANCER IN PETS
The sun’s harmful UV rays can make damaging changes to our skin cells. Over time, these changes can lead to skin cancer. The same thing can happen in our pets.
There are different types of skin cancer and not all of them are caused by the sun. However, sun damage can lead to some pets developing a type of cancer called squamous cell carcinoma. It is not common but it is important to get treatment quickly as it is quite an aggressive tumour.
It’s a good idea to know the warning signs of skin cancer:
• Look out for any changes to your pet’s skin such as wounds that don’t heal on the tips of the nose or ears.
• Pay attention to any new lumps and always get them checked out by your vet.