“I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but your cat has cancer” has to be some of the scariest words a cat owner can ever hear. Although feline cancer research has come so far, approximately half of all feline deaths 10 years old and older are caused by cancer. Thus, it is important pet owners know the signs of cancer. As they say “early detection really is the best protection.”
Cancer, of any type, is an abnormal growth of cells within or on the body. Cancer can occur anywhere on or within the body including the skin, urinary tract, mammary glands, or in the blood.
These warning signs may help you alert your veterinarian to a potential feline cancer mass, increasing the chances your cat can be treated early for the condition. Vomiting, diarrhea, and/or lethargy may indicate lymphoma, one type of cancer.
Lumps or bumps in the breast tissue may indicate breast cancer, which is the third most common feline cancer. It is more commonly found in female cats; however, male cats can and do get this condition as well. As a cat owner, you can reduce the chance your feline may get breast cancer by spaying your feline before her first heat cycle. However, even spayed cats get breast cancer occasionally, so it is important that you continue to check for lumps and bumps in the tissue.
Abnormal bumps or lumps on the skin may indicate feline skin cancer, the most common type of feline cancer.
Finally, abdominal cancer is more difficult to detect early. Pet owners should contact their veterinarian if they see abdominal enlargement, continuous diarrhea, and/or vomiting.
You should also alert your veterinarian if your cat exhibits any of the following: changes in urinary or bowel behaviors, wounds that do not heal, weight loss, bleeding that cannot be accounted for, persistent difficulty moving, eating disturbances, breathing difficulties, loss of appetite, or any lump that appears to be increasing in size. These symptoms could indicate a cancerous mass in your feline.
Your veterinarian will be able to test any mass your feline has to determine if it is cancerous or benign. However, 85% of all masses found in or on felines are cancerous. Thus, it is extremely important you take your cat to your vet as soon as you notice something abnormal.
There are different treatment options your vet will be able to discuss with you. Additionally, you may visit my other articles on feline cancer to learn more information about cancer and treatments for different types of cat cancer.
Watching for the signs and symptoms in this article may help you alert your vet to cancerous masses in your feline early, which generally leads to a better prognosis for your furry friend.