Veterinarian-written / veterinarian-approved articles for your cat.

Warning Signs of Cancer in Cats

Know the warning signs of feline cancer.

Cancer can strike without much warning, especially when we're talking about cats. Our feline friends are great at hiding illness, and it's often not recognized that a cat is sick until the disease process is quite advanced.

Still, the faster cancer is diagnosed, the better the chances of successful treatment being available. Know the signs to look for, and get your cat to the vet right away if you notice any of them.

Abnormal Discharge or Blood

If your cat is bleeding or has discharge from anywhere on her body, including the eyes, nose, ears, or within the urine or stool, visit the veterinarian. While there are certainly many other conditions that can cause these signs, cancer is on the list, so you'll want to get a diagnosis as soon as possible.

Non-Healing Sores

If your cat has a sore on her skin that has been there for a while with no signs of healing, skin cancer might be the culprit. Your veterinarian may wish to take a sample of the skin in the area or remove the lesion entirely for biopsy purposes.

Foul Odors

If your cat has a bad odor from the mouth or that seems to emanate from her body, it could indicate that cancer is present somewhere. You may find out that your cat has dental or skin problems that are causing the odor, but you'll want to know for sure as soon as possible.

Decreased or Absent Appetite

A cat that is eating less than she ever did or that is turning her nose up at the food bowl entirely most likely has a medical problem going on. Cancer is just one of the conditions that can cause inappetence in cats.

Unexplained Weight Loss

If your cat is losing weight when you haven't changed anything about her diet or exercise routine, you should be concerned. There are many conditions, especially in older cats, that can result in unexplained weight loss, and cancer needs to be considered.

Growing Lumps or Bumps

If you find a lump or bump anywhere on your cat, you should have it checked out at your next veterinary visit. If the lump is especially hard and doesn't move around freely when you try to manipulate it or if it grows fast, you should make an immediate veterinary appointment to have it evaluated.

Chewing or Swallowing Problems

If your cat seems to be having trouble chewing her food or swallowing it, her mouth should be examined by a veterinarian. Oral cancer is fairly common in cats and can be extremely aggressive. If your cat is drooling and holding her mouth in a strange manner, this may also indicate the presence of a mouth tumor.

Decreased Energy or Listlessness

If your cat is not playing like she used to or seems disinterested in the goings-on of the home, you should be concerned. Many times, such signs are dismissed as normal aging when they really indicate a serious medical condition such as cancer. You will need to use your knowledge of your cat's individual personality to evaluate whether she is hiding more than is normal for her since cats love to hang out in small spaces anyway.

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