We never know if or when our cat might get cancer. It’s important to monitor their health and behaviour to catch any problems early.
Cancer in our cats can take many forms, from lumps and bumps you can see to things internally.
There are different forms of cancer and lumps, including:
There are different types of cancer affecting different body systems in cats, just like in humans. Some of the most common include:
Your cat’s symptoms will vary depending on the type of cancer they have, but some more common signs and symptoms of cancer in cats can include:
A lot of the potential symptoms of cancer in cats could easily be caused by other conditions, so it’s important to get them checked out with the vet as soon as you notice something is wrong.
Remember not all lumps and bumps are tumours. Find out more about lumps and bumps on your cat on our free advice page.
We don’t always know what causes cancer to develop in cats, however certain cats are more at risk of getting cancer. These include:
Your vet will usually need to do some tests to determine whether your cat has cancer and what type they have. Tests will depend on where the cancer is suspected, and what type of cancer it is likely to be.
These can include:
Options for cancer treatment will depend on the type of cancer your cat has, how aggressive it is and what stage their cancer is at. Different cancers will require different treatments and ongoing care, so ask your vet for guidance and advice.
Some common cancer treatments can include:
Saying goodbye to your cat is a very difficult decision to have to make. Not all cancer will mean needing to say goodbye to your cat. Some cats will have a cure or long-lasting treatment, allowing them to express all their natural behaviours free from pain or suffering.
Other cancers may not respond to therapy, or be very aggressive to the point that at diagnosis a cat is already suffering, with little option to ease this. Some cancer treatment can be costly or invasive, and won’t be right for every cat or carer. Quality of life is an important consideration in all decisions in cats with cancer, and sometimes the kindest decision will be euthanasia.
Putting your cat to sleep is a very hard decision. If you are upset and need someone to talk to, our free Paws to Listen grief support service can provide you with a sympathetic ear at this difficult time. Find out more about our Paws to Listen service.
Sadly, most cancers are not preventable and the best thing you can do is keep an eye on their health, take them for regular check-ups and contact your vet if you notice anything wrong with them.
The chance of some cancers developing can be reduced by protecting your cat against feline leukaemia virus by vaccination, neutering female cats from four months of age, and using sun protection, especially if your cat has a white nose or ears.
This will depend on the type of cancer they have, how far it has progressed and the type of treatment used. Your vet will be able to give you advice on your cat’s individual condition, so speak to them if you have any worries or concerns about your cat’s prognosis.