Pets and the Eclipse: Is there a Danger?


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Q: Should I keep my cat indoors on Monday (August 21) to protect her against the eclipse? —S.G, Charlotte, North Carolina

Q:  Are there special glasses so pets can see the eclipse and to protect their eyes? —S. H., Lexington, Kentucky

A: According to NASA, animals are equally as susceptible to permanent retinal damage as we are if they look at the sun during the eclipse.

There is no approved special eye protection wear made for pets. However, animals aren’t likely to stare at the sun in the first place. They know better.

Furthermore, sun goggles made for dogs do not make it any safer for dogs (or humans) to view the eclipse.

Interesting experiment: Try staring at the sky when there is no eclipse. Your dog is unlikely to follow your general gaze to stare at the sky, and your bored cat will most certainly wander away. But, if you point at the sky and ask your dog to watch as you also stare, especially in an excited way, and your dog might now look up. 

So, don’t do that during the eclipse.

To directly answer your questions: Your cat is far more likely to be hit by a car, chased down by a coyote, or get into a serious spat with another cat being outdoors, than injured staring at the sun. So, for those reasons, and because it makes you a better neighbor (so the cat doesn’t use a neighbor’s garden as a litter box), transitioning your cat to life indoors is a good plan, but it has nothing to do with the eclipse.

If you are concerned, keep your pets indoors and close the shades for the approximately 7 minutes the eclipse is expected to last.