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12 Warning Signs of Cat Cancer Every Owner Should Know

Darlene Norris is a long-time pet lover. She has worked as a vet assistant and draws on this experience when she writes her articles.

Let's face it—the thought of your sweet kitty friend ever developing cancer is terrible. Cancer in cats used to be a death sentence, but with recent advances in veterinary medicine, it may be possible for your cat to be with you for several more years.

The best way to protect your friend from this disease is to be knowledgeable about feline cancer symptoms so you can catch it early.

12 Warning Signs of Cancer in Cats

  1. Weight loss, even if your kitty seems to be eating the same amount as ever.
  2. Unusual lumps or swellings anywhere on your cat's body, especially if they're getting larger or changing shape.
  3. Swollen lymph nodes are a symptom of lymphoma. The lymph nodes behind the knees and under the jaws are easiest to find.
  4. Difficulty eating, swallowing, or digesting. The clue might be a loss of appetite.
  5. Discharge or unexplained bleeding from the gums, mouth, nose, penis, vagina, or any other place. Sores that don't heal are a cause for concern.
  6. Chronic digestive problems, including vomiting or diarrhea.
  7. Coughing or trouble breathing. A persistent, dry, non-productive cough can be a symptom of lung cancer.
  8. Bad breath may indicate oral cancer, although it's also a symptom of a sinus infection.
  9. Straining to urinate or defecate. If your cat's litter box habits change, it may be a sign.
  10. Loss of stamina and general tiredness. Does your cat seem stiff or lethargic? Some owners mistakenly assume their cat is just getting older.
  11. A sudden change in temperament, especially if your kitty suddenly gets grouchy and wants to be left alone. He may be in pain.
  12. Reclusiveness. If your formerly friendly companion suddenly hides herself away, this may be a survival mechanism. A sick cat will hide from predators until it recovers.

What Kinds of Cancer Do Cats Get?

  1. Lymphoma: Blood cancer, most often affecting the intestines, lymph nodes, nasal cavity, kidneys, or liver.
  2. Soft tissue sarcoma: an aggressive malignant tumor that develops in fibrous connective tissue anywhere on the body, sometimes at the site of an injection.
  3. Squamous cell carcinoma: a kind of skin cancer that most often affects exposed (hairless) skin, i.e., on the nose, ears, and eyelids.

These are the three most common types, although cats also get leukemia, mammary cancer, and other types.

Symptoms of Common Cat Cancers

Type of CancerWhat to Look for


Lethargy, progressive loss of appetite, weight loss. Other signs depend on which organ is affected, but you may notice diarrhea, vomiting, and difficulty breathing.

Soft Tissue Sarcoma

Detected as a firm lump or mass. Symptoms depend on the location and degree of the tumor. If in the mouth: Bad breath, loss of appetite, weight loss. If in the gastrointestinal tract: Diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Suspicious sore(s) on a hairless area of the body (and often inside the mouth); excessive salivation (drooling), bad breath, appetite loss, weight loss, swelling of the jaw.

How to Check Your Cat for Lumps

We all enjoy petting and stroking our feline companions. While you're at it, take the time to check for suspicious lumps on his back, legs, mouth, and under his neck. If you have a female cat, watch for lumps on her belly, which could be a symptom of feline breast cancer.

If you should find a lump, make note of the following:

  • If it's soft or hard
  • Where it's located (make a drawing if you need to)
  • If your cat exhibits discomfort when you touch it
  • How it looks and smells. Does it have a bad odor? It is ulcerated, oozing, or bleeding?

Any lump should be examined by your vet. Benign tumors in cats usually grow slowly and have well-defined edges, while malignant ones grow faster and may cause bleeding or pain.

Nobody likes the thought of their kitty ever getting cancer, but ignoring the situation won't help. The best way you can protect your feline companion from this disease is by knowing the symptoms. Treatment is more effective when cancer is caught early.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.


Amy on August 20, 2020:

My cat has a tender lump on her tail and won’t let me look at it. Is that cancer?

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Read More From Pethelpful

Simon on June 11, 2020:

My cat has a large oblong lump under net arm pit ,now limping and a bit of a cough she is 19 years old,thoughts

FlourishAnyway from USA on July 28, 2019:

I've always had several cats, and over the years I, unfortunately, have had multiple cats pass away from cancer. Currently, I have a lovely polydactyl cat who at one time was a neighborhood stray. He had a fast-growing cancerous lump removed a year ago, but it quickly regrew within 4-5 months. We had it removed again on the vet's advice but will not do it again because the surgery was too hard on him. Sadly, after the second surgery, another lump elsewhere on his body popped up and then another in a lymph node in his jaw area. We are choosing palliative care and will not wait until the very end to euthanise him because his comfort and happiness is my concern. I love him enough to let him go.

Dixey on May 29, 2019:

My cat is losing her fur what should i do. on May 19, 2019:

My kitty is around 13 .She has a golf ball or smaller hard round lump between her hind legs.The vet stuck a needle in it to attempt to aspirate it and there was nothing .I cant afford and MRI and Im afraid to give her surgery .She walks a little slower these days but she is still a sweet cat .She sleeps on a rocker during the day and she comes in too. I let her do what ever she wants .She is tortoise shell .She used to never cry but I have noticed that in the last year or so she does cry after eating .It seems more in the winter and I chalked it up to artheritis .Im afraid to heve people poking around on her but the thought of losing her from something that could potentially be taken care of is heart wrenching too.Please advise.

Faith71 on February 27, 2019:

My 18-year-old cat has developed a lump in her stomach she’s not eating or drinking or going to the bathroom at all. She cries when touched or she’s picked up. I took her to the vet two weeks ago they did an x-ray and said there was nothing wrong but the other night I went to give her a bath and found a mass in her stomach. I’m scared she’s got cancer.

Carol Quattrone on December 23, 2018:

My cat is 19 he is very skinny and frail and now has developed a swelling on the left side of his face, he will not go into a crate, and I will not force him he is too frail, I was just wondering if I can give him Tylenol for the swelling!!

Heather on December 17, 2018:

I found a homeless sweet kitty I’ve been feeding for months and notice she has a lump under her belly close to her back legs I can’t affor a vet and don’t want shelter to put her down could it be cancer or pregnant? What should I do it’s cold outside and she won’t stay in the shelter I made for her.... on September 23, 2018:

My 16 year old male Siamese cat has a bump under the fur on the back of his head. It's about the size of a large pea. It does not seem to hurt him when I try to see it. I looked online and read that cats his age may develop that type of bump?

Susan Elerrina on September 16, 2018:

Last night I found a nipple shaped painful lesion on my 17-year-old cat's leg. On arising today, the first thing I did was make an appointment with my cat's vet. I am disabled and I live in poverty, but I have always done the best I can do for my cat. She is like my baby. I want to advise all the people who have written here and who will write here that as vet's are all animal lovers at heart, they appreciate seeing all people try to do the best for their animals and even if you cannot afford it, they will do the best they can within your budget to help you out. If you are really in a bind, go to the SPCA. They have an animal clinic there and they will charge you according to your income. You simply take your previous year's income tax form with you to your appointment. You must make an appointment. They will even see you free of charge in some cases. They are very very compassionate and will not turn you away. If you find an animal that is abandoned and needs help, take them to the SPCA or to a 24-hour animal emergency hospital. They will not be turned away and you will not be charged. But please understand, you are not going to get any answers about what is wrong with your cat and how to treat it by looking at a comments section on this site. It is inappropriate to think that you will. Please take my advice and do as I advise. It is the best possible thing for your cats. I wish you all the best for your sweet little family members. Meow meow. :3

Brianna on August 30, 2018:

;-; when I first got my cat I didn't notice this but she has these weird white things in the corner of her eyes , I don't really know what it means..

crystal on August 25, 2018:

What home remedy can I use to have help my cat stop drooling and having a sore mouth

simeen on August 07, 2018:

can it be cauht early canthere live alonger life

Dee my cat is charlie on July 01, 2018:

I found a lump on left side of her lower neck by the breast area shes had no kitens .... it doesnt hurt to touch its the size of a golf ball im scared to death for her please help

Karasoula on July 01, 2018:

Hi, I had a neighbor that recently moved away and left one of her animals, a cat. This cat was an inside/outside cat to her and mostly stayed outside. Since she has left (about 2 weeks) I noticed that the cat was still hanging around. I didn't think much of it because cats can usually fend for themselves. Im rarely home but a couple of days ago I saw the cat and it was meowing, almost crying out it seemed. When I tried to approach, it would run. Then I came home then next day and it was really 'crying' at her door continuously almost like it was in pain. When I got close, I noticed how thin it was. My first thought was to get it food. All I had was a hotdog and the cat ate it all. Then proceeded to want attention, rubbing, meowing, wanting to be petted. When I pet it, I noticed that it is literally bones. I also noticed a large mass on its right side at the bottom if the ribs. I am not sure if I should take it somewhere like to a shelter, or to the vet to be seen. I can not keep it because where I live, no pets are allowed. This is why my neighbor left. I have no money for a vet, but if I did and I could have pets, I would get it healthy and find a home. A shelter may put it down, not sure. I am asking for any advice as to what I should do. I hate to see it suffer and it's giving a false sense of home if I continue to feed it. Any advice is appreciated, thanks! *The cat appears to be maybe a year old. It may not be drinking as it has nit touched the water I left, but there are other places around it could have possibly got water, although it might not be that clean.

Carl on June 28, 2018:

My 17 year old cat has a lump on her neck & she struggles with her food & milk. She sneezes a lot. A lot of snot & salvia comes out. Her breath is bad. She's lost weight, she coughs a lot too her neck doesn't hurt when I tough it. But she eats a very little amout.

Carrie on June 24, 2018:

Thank you so much for the clear and not fear-based video!! The explanations were great and the humor greatly appreciated.

juile on May 19, 2018:

I my cat goldie has a large lump growning on her paw and I took her to the pet hospital and they did test on her paw and i'm waitng word. they think it might be cancer and ui hope she doesn't have cancer and I don't want to have her paw taken off.

Megan on May 18, 2018:

my cat has many lumps many on her chest and head and in other place they have been there for 1 yr and more have appeared over this time its started with a couple and then more have come up over time they are hard and more under the skin, to me they resemble itchy bite consistency.

fayleen on May 04, 2018:

my 8 year old cat, has bump inside her skin near the back of her neck. could it be cancer? she is over weight around 20 lbs it as grow the last few mouths too

Belinda on April 27, 2018:

My cat is only about 1 and a half to 2 years old and he has this long oval shaped bump on his back, just below the scruff. It feels a little tense there and it is definitely not soft or easy to manipulate, and the length is around the size of a 12 year old's middle finger, the width being the average USB.

Sydney on April 13, 2018:

I worried that my kitten has breast canser because she's got two small lumps on her belly

Reyna Gallegos on March 20, 2018:

My cat has a lump by her neck I just noticed it please help her get better soon

Ben on November 29, 2017:

Low cost clinics are everywhere. Do your pet a solid and find one nearby. Don't let your cats outside 24/7. Every now and then at the most or teach them to leash......If you care about them you should keep them safe especially if you can't afford to fix them up everytime they get hurt.

Faye Garrett on November 18, 2017:

Thursday afternoon I noticed a lump on my cat back left leg. It hadn't been there before or I would have seen it. I got her into the vet Friday. he said it didn't look good. He took an ultrasound, chest x-ray & blood work. Her x-ray was clear & blood work good. He said she has a mass & it is in her limpnodes. He suggested to have her leg removed to get it all if it turns out to be cancer. Which he believes it is. She will be 12 years old next month. My question is will she get stressed out if the leg is removed & will it help her to live a longer time. I want to do the right thing for her for I love her very much. I have been so upset over this. The vet said once he gets in there & if he doesn't have to remove the leg he won't. Which I hope for the best. I am so concerned on how she is going to handle all this. He said he could just remove the mass & leave the leg but if he does it would spread & she might live 55 days. I could take her to a specialist but that will cost lots of money & they could diagnose her a little better & give her Kimo which might help. Those are my options. I just don't know what to do. I want to make the right decision for her & hoping she will forgive me for the surgery. Please any answers will be appreciated. Whjat would you do?

jackie tucker on November 07, 2017:

ive just checked our male cat & just found a biggish mass or fatty lump tissue on one side of his chest,could someone plz advize me as to what this could be as im fearing the worst now,many thanks,jackie

Tricia Barron on October 16, 2017:

My Caesar is 15 years old. I adopted him from the pound at 3. He is active, playful, and generally in a good mood. I noticed in the past few days his stomach seems a little bulbous. He has feces around his anus and when I try and clean him off, he acts as if he is in extreme the point of trying to bite me (which he has never done) or use his paws to claw me (which he has never done). this tells me he is in pain. Another thing I noticed, He has always pooped in his litter box (he has 2, they are cleaned AM & PM); -for the past few days, he has been pooping on the carpet all around his litter box. I really can't afford a vet visit right now, I love my boy so much....has anyone experienced this?

NEIL MILLER on October 09, 2017:

Our female wild cat had a tumour and we had her ex rayed I was going to have her put to sleep but needed to check. She had cancer in her lungs as well. I feel better knowing this when she went today. I think this is a good idea having your cat x rayed first

Peterpan on July 07, 2017:

This doc is hilarious.........and informative. Thanks for this.

Nora on April 19, 2017:

My cat is quite old (around 12 to 13 years) and her eye was full of blood after she was attacked by a stray cat. After that her eye went milky, and now has a large lump/ball like thing in the top of her eye, and it looks like her third eyelid is swollen. The half of her face around that eye socket is very round and swollen. She doesn't seem like she is in pain, and it doesn't inhibit her at all. There is clear discharge, and sometimes a bit of blood. I would like to take her to the vet, but a) I can't afford it and b) the vet in my area is not reliable and has been known to put animals down without a proper examination (he put my dog down without asking us because he apparently wasn't going to survive anyways. We took him in because he had fleas and was allergic to them). The next nearest vet is 2.5 hours away (we are very remote). Could someone tell me what this could be so I have an idea of how severe it is?

I don't want to take her to my local vet unless it is absolutely necessary.

Arleen on April 03, 2017:

This weekend I found a large mass on the side of my kitty's face. I don't understand how I cam miss this. I am constantly petting him. Took him immediately to vet and he tells me it doesn't look good meaning it's a tumor. Took x- rays blood Etc sending it off to radiologist to see if he can operate. Going to do a biopsy this week BUT this morning I noticed he is in so much pain. Going now to get again to see what he says. Oh god I don't know how I missed it. It wasn't there? I don't understand? Can this just pop up from one day?

Shae on September 20, 2016:

I'm posting this so it can act as a warning to other cat owners.

If your vet diagnoses your cat with asthma, MAKE SURE they xray them to confirm it.

Our vet is very considerate of our financial situation. When we bought our cat in with a cough he said he was almost certain it was asthma, and xraying would just be a waste of money. So we didn't get an xray.

As the months went on our cat lost more and more weight and began looking very frail. He was also very lethargic, just sitting in front of the heater all day (this started in winter). We had multiple trips to the vet to sort out his asthma medication and most recently constipation. And each time I mentioned these things with concern. Because I've never heard of asthma making you lose 1/6th or 1/3rd of your weight.

Each time I was told no, it's just the asthma, or his breed is just thin (disregarding that their record showed his concerning weight loss, this cat was nicely stocky at his healthy weight). Several times my thoughts circled back to that lack of an xray, wondering if something might have been missed. I was even told that the vet didn't want to see me until another month was up when my cats next asthma injection was due. That's how they treated my concerns.

Then last night he started coughing really bad. White foam at his mouth, long strands of drool just dripping from his mouth. He did these types of coughs on three different occasions during the night but managed to make it through to morning so we could take him to the vet.

Finally, finally the vet noticed how frail and thin he was, how much weight he'd lost. Finally he PAID ATTENTION to the signs my cat was actually showing. It looks bad he said. We should do an xray.

They did an xray. It showed that he was riddled with cancer, all through. The vet thinks it probably didn't start in the lungs and was likely there when he was first diagnosed with asthma 6 months ago. He never had asthma. It was the cancer all along.

They wanted to put him to sleep right there, I insisted we wanted to take him home to say goodbye to all of us first. He is extremely frail and thin, every breath is labored and visible with his lack of weight. When he coughs he cranes his head back and forth. He won't eat, I can only get him to eat soaked cat biscuits by putting them in front of him one at a time. He's so weak that he just lays down after coughing.

I wanted to take him home and spoil him with everything he loved and make his last days as happy as possible. When I tried to give him a treat he started coughing. I can't give him any nice food to experience before he goes. All I can do is turn the heater on full and leave it on for him until he passes or we reach the day we'll be returning to the vet to get him put to sleep. The warmth seems to help him cough less. He's only 7 years old. He is the most sweet and lovely cat.

His brother will miss him terribly and has been incredibly confused by everything.

So this is your warning. Get that xray. Accept that it may cost a little. At least it's better than having your cat suffer for months only for you to find out that the diagnosis was completely wrong and now it's too late to do anything and you're going to lose one of your most beloved pets.

Moggs on September 09, 2016:

I'm taking my Munchkin to the vet this afternoon, hoping it isn't what I suspect. He was at the vet 2 weeks ago, with a cough, now his cough is gone but a lump appeared on his lower right ribs on Monday, today (Fri) it is too large to ignore. He's eating and drinking as normal, but a lot less active. (I'm even missing the scratches) He is my whole life, and kept me going this last few months since losing my Dad. Even the thought of taking him is killing me, but I need to know if he can get better, before he gets worse if I ignored it.

Mary Clarke on August 29, 2016:

My cat was diagnosed with IBS quite some time ago. The steroid injections worked reasonably well but for the past month, she has lost a lot of weight and is eating little. I think this might be some undetectable cancer as her normal tests for liver, kidney, etc. were negative. She now won't eat the vet food and even very little of anything else I add. Is it worth going in for a biopsy as I think this could be the only way to detect any cancer in the body?

Catherine Foote. on July 24, 2016:

My cat had a lump removed her ear because it kept bleeding every now and then she scratches the same area which causes it to bleed quite a bit I am not sure what to do about it.

GCO on April 27, 2016:

I really miss my cat Wyatt, he was healthy then in few weeks lost so much weight, did not want to eat or drink water. All his test, bloodwork were fine and showed no problem. Except for the x ray showed nodules on his lungs. I don't understand how this can be, he is indoor cat and smoke free environment. I truly miss him. Does anyone else have a similar situation, I would like to have more information.

Dedee77 on April 08, 2016:

I took my cat, Sheena, a 16 1/2 y.o. Maine Coon, to a vet because she was suddenly peeing all over the house and licking herself. She has NEVER been sick on me in her entire life so I was surprised at her behavior. After examining her by touching her body, the vet informed me coldly, "She has cancer". Wow, just like that. I said, "How do you know that by just touching her?" He answered vaguely, "I feel it". He also said she had a heart murmur and probably has heart disease. I immediately started to cry. He continued with a bunch of other information like taking a urine sample and gave me a list of FEES for a complete exam $1,700. He also said cancer treatment with chemo would be around $10,000. I let him take the urine sample and I left with a prescription for Steroids to be administered 2x daily hoping to relieve the peeing. . I want to get a 2nd opinion. Sheena still has an appetite and is very frisky and does not show any sign of pain; however, the vet said she WAS in pain and hiding it as cats will do. In retrospect, I did not feel at all confident in this doctor. His demeanor was entirely too cavalier. I asked him how long he had been a vet; he said 7 years. Any advice or comment would be welcomed.

christine on April 07, 2016:

My male cat 15 yrs old 68 lbs a great Hunter died 1 yr after my husband of cancer. He lost his appetite I easnt fully aware since he was an outdoor cat. I finally took him to the doc when he stated dripping bl9d from his mouth. Doc told me tigers jaw line is deteriorated do to gum cancer! I was devastated never in my dreams would I have guessed. Now I have 3 others that have died subsequently from tumors. Its absolutely heartbraking when they can't tell you whats wrong till its to late! Shadow. Buddy. Ava, peanut, lucky, tiger!! Miss them all 28th o n 2 yrs of each other all cancer Comment...

Mariam on February 20, 2016:

IN DESPERATE NEEDS OF ANSWERS, My cat is 2 1/2 yrs old. he plays outside a lot well today I noticed he kept sleeping and sleeping I go to pet him and he starts growling at me which is very uncommon I had to take a drive to Louisville so I didn't get to see him much today but when I came home I went to pet him and he snapped at me and started crying again well I finally caught him sleeping again under my daughters bed and he wouldn't come out he finally came out and I started stroking him and I found a hard won't right above his weight on his left side and it is very sore to touch he's barely moving and he usually jumps on the bathroom sink to drink his water and he can no longer jump up there he has to climb on the toilet and then climb onto the sink and he has trouble jumping back down and this all happened within one day and just came out of nowhere he was acting perfectly fine last night I am very concerned and very worried can someone please tell me what this may be I hope and pray he didn't just get cancer all of the sudden

Elsa on January 05, 2016:

I took my cat to the vet because her side of the chin is hard and swollen and the doctor told me that most likely is cancer in her bone and she only has a couple of months not happy with the results. so I'm looking for a second opinion. Please help!

Cindy on August 07, 2015:

I just found a hard big lump on my cats face by his bottom jaw.i cant afford a vet. Any affordable help out there?

Lisa on March 25, 2015:

Our sweet cat Kallie, went into the cat clinic on Monday morning to have a tumor removed, when they operated they found the large tumor to be in her colon, consequently they could not remove it. She seemed to go through the procedure well and

Lwe expected to take her home on Tuesday , but, it was not meant to be, they called us on Tuesday morning and told she passed away during the night. We are devastated we had her for 9 and 1/2 years, she brought us so much joy, she was the sweetest and most darling cat, God put on this earth, we will miss her forever, and, we are so grateful and privileged to have been able to give her a good home. Now if only I could stop crying.

angela on May 13, 2014:

My little summer has to go to be put to sleep on 20/5/ incapacity benefit doesn't come in until then,vet won't put her to sleep until it is paid for.she is 14 now, and deeply deeply loved,SHe has lost vast weight in the last month,drools from mouth and lots of blood,her cancer has ate through her top left jaw, she is very tired and sleeps most of the time, she lives on my bed and will not be parted from me.she cannot bare her face or head touched,she is in great pain.the only form of painkiller I have is paroxicam gel that my go gave me for the osteoarthritis in my hands....I. use it on her external jaw,and it does help her..she will still purr as she knows she is my best girl,I love her as I would my child.please say a prayer for us both.She has a brother and two sisters who KNOW by instinct what is happening to her,and are very loving towards her,and sit with her when she is very very sick. I have a good christian faith, and know God will look after her in his kingdom,and she will be happy and free from pain and will enjoy his beautiful garden and now and remembered friends..I want her not to be suffering, I am in anguish with I live alone.

Debbie Carlson on March 18, 2014:

My cat has a black lump on the side of her mouth.every one told me to take her to the vet I can't she is mean to them

Cheryl Wyllie on November 01, 2013:

My Toukie was 15 years old a Grey Persian Male, many years ago I took him to the vet as he was poorly, lethargic and lying around, not like him at all. I was told he had a kidney problem then and the years ahead could be difficult. Just recently he wouldn't come in, ignored me when I called and wouldn't eat his food. He laid around the yard looking tired and worn out. I noticed a lump but thought he had been in a fight. I knew then something was wrong as his condition worsened overnight, he couldn't even take his water or eat. I took him to the Vet and was told he has a tumour and renal failure, this has been the saddest day of my life as I took him away to say goodbye to the family. The next Day he was put down, I stroked his head and talked with him as he quickly slipped away. Tears just flooded down my face but I am so glad I was there to see him slip away so humanly with dignity....Did I do the right thing...He was a good age and though he didn't make a sound I know he was suffering. WE will make a place for him in the basket and favourite pillow he loved and place him under the Mulberry tree in the backyard. Broken hearted.

CatladyK on October 04, 2013:

I understand being in denial. My first cat, my love, started projectile vomiting, so I fed him canned cat food "pate". He started missing the litter box, so I covered the floor with newspapers. Fleas multiplied and sucked his poor weak body that could no longer fight them off. He withered away to just bones and fur in front of my very eyes and still I thought he could recover. He started sleeping under the bed and still I thought he'd be okay. In the end he spent most of his time on a pool table I had covered with a comforter and lined with many newspapers. I fed him there, kept a litter box there, and watched him vomit even soupy cat food, and have diarrhea. By the time I let the vet cut him open, his numerous cancerous tumors had choked off his digestive tract and was completely inoperable. Losing him tore a gaping hole in my heart and when I think about how much he must have been suffering, guilt intensifies that loss. His illness was only apparent to me in the final months but by then it was too late. Cats won't tell you that they are starting to feel sick, or that maybe I should see the vet, or hey I might have cancer and you can save me if you treat it right now. By the time you know something is wrong, it is likely deadly wrong. Take your cat in for regular check ups, have baseline testing done. Take him in twice yearly once he's a senior. Cats can't talk and diagnoses are half guesswork because of that. If the prescribed treatment does not work, get a second opinion, and or go see a specialist. Don't put a price on your love, or spend money on a "cute" accessory while overlooking his plaque covered teeth. I know I won't.

abbey on June 10, 2013:

my kitten was 12 week old n he just died from cancer i didn't know cats can get cancer he fitted he cudent breathe he pooed everywhere... costedme 60 pound to have him buried... so distraught he looked so healthy eating n then out of the blue he was just ill n died when he got to the vet soo young tho... got his sister wondred if shed be okay too

jeff on May 01, 2013:

Jenn, if it is cancer, it will get worse for your cat. Not saying to put it down yet, but you should watch for signs. I would then get a second opinion on him.

JENN on April 28, 2013:

We took my 14 yr. old cat to thevet because he had a foul odor coming from his mouth. He was also had saliva and blood dripping from his mouth. We had thought it was a bad tooth. To our surprise..,he sad ."'he had some form of mouth cancer". Not sure what kind but a bad one. He said we should put him to sleep , right then and there. WHAT--cannot process info---this cat is active and plays with his brother???!! ARE YOU NUTS ?? I asked is therewere pain meds out there ?? NO---gave him $60- and walked out. Is there someone out there that knows of any thing to make the pain less. We just can't find it in our hearts to put him down yet, Thanks

Cheryn on July 01, 2012:

We had to have our beloved Miss Kitty put to sleep due to misdiagnosed cancer. If this post can save anyone elses pet, her loss won't be in vain. One evening a group of friends were over and one of them asked me if I knew our cat's tail had been broken, I had no clue. I had not felt any lumps or seen any evidence of a break but did feel a small pea sized lump that the friend pointed out. I thought it was probably just an insect bite and didn't concern myself with it at the time but noticed a couple of weeks later that it had gotten larger so we took her to the vet and was told it was broken probably by another cat or a dog. That seemed odd because there were never any bite marks, bleeding etc. The vet said the break was such that her tail would need to be amputated. We were shocked but went ahead with the amputation. We took her home in a cone and treated her with oral antibiotics until time to have her sutures removed a week or so later. Everything seemed fine but a couple of weeks after the sutures were removed we noticed her tail was swelling again so we took her back to the same vet and was told it was infected and they put drain tubes in and put her on more antibiotics and sent her home. A week or so later the drain tubes were removed and she was sent home on an antibiotic. A few more weeks went past and we noticed the tail had started to swell again so we called the vet and they called in more antibiotics believing it was a stubborn infection. We kept the tail clean and administered the antibiotic as directed but it continued to swell and drain, my husband said we are taking her to another vet and we did and the minute the new vet examined her tail she told us it was a cancerous tumor. She had lost so much weight by this time and was barely even drinking water. The vet said she could put her on steroids to possibly shrink the tumor temporarily to give us time to say good bye to her, but I felt like we were only buying her a few weeks at best and she was so sick at this point. We did not want our beautiful baby to suffer anymore so we made the painful decision to uthanize her while we were there with her and could hold her as she slipped into eternal sleep. That was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make and I pray I never have to do it again. My hope is that this post will help someone else. If a wound doesn't heal and you are making repeated trips to the vet with no results do not be afraid to get a second opinion. Our kitty was 13 years old but was in excellent health up until the time our friend found the lump on her tail. We miss her every day.

Kitty on June 23, 2012:

My sweet Jinx has mammary cancer, but has been playful for over a year after the diagnosis. She has surgery , but it is back now. I plan to have it surgically removed again. I am a breast cancer survivor and I just cannot see giving her chemo . I plan to enjoy her as long as she is happy, playful, and content, I love my Jinx.

moira on June 21, 2012:

My mom can't afford to take bumphead to the vet and Im not sure if she does have cancer but i would like to know. I am starting to think she might have breast cancer because in the beginning a very long time ago maybe a year she got the lump it was in her stomach area. She Didn't mind it one bit and eat like usual. She has never shown that she is in pain. She is very strong. The lump became a tiny cyst i suppose you would call it it has grown massively bigger this past year or so. It smells really bad. My moms entire room smells like blood. It bleeds from time too time. It has gotten everywhere. She has gotten a lot skinner i can feel her ribs. She is about 11 years old. Im 15 now but our cat had her when i was like 2. Its hard to think that she might die because she is a lifetime friend. If anybody could confirm that she does or more than likely does have breast cancer. I love bumphead to death and hope my other cat who is just over 2 stays healthy. I wish everybody a healthy pet.

JUDI on June 13, 2012:

I relate to all the stories on this web page because I too just had to put down my beloved cat Spooky. He was only seven and he was quite the love. I have 3 other cats as well but Spooky was always the one that just loved to play with his toys in his toy box, loved to just lay on top of one of the scratching posts and just gaze out the window at the birds and the squirrels in the yard and make his crazy sounds when they came close,and at the end of the day would always come up on the bed to be close. Even the night I had to rush him to emergency,his last effort was to try to jump on the bed and be with me. I had just had him at the vets earlier in the day and the vet sent him home with me, waiting for some test results to come in the next day. I am so glad I took him home and did not leave him at the vets that day because at least he was home. The emergency vet that took care of him in the late night Er was probably the most compassionate and caring vet I've ever met. He made me feel he loved and cared for Spooky as much as I did especially in Spooky's final moments. I just received a sympathy card in the mail today from them and there on the front of the card was an ink print of Spooky's paw. Thank-you Carl (vet) for handling Spooky with such kindness and compassion, I will always be greatfull. Bye baby Spooky, I love you and will see you at the rainbow bridge. Sophie,Jack and Nala miss you too.

Brandy on June 11, 2012:

I will be having my beloved Princess put to sleep tomorrow. She has been deteriorating over the last couple years but I to was in denial.

It started with her fur falling out. She would scratch so much she would bleed and her wounds would ooze. At one point all the fur on her front legs were gone as was half her tail and face. It was all flesh. She looked like a burn victim and the smell was awful. I took her to the vet and he said it was most likely a food allergy of sorts. He gave her an antibiotic allergy shot and within days she improved.

We repeated the process about three times...each time her recovery lasted less and less and I tried countless types of cat foods.

Then one miraculous day last spring she cleared up and seemed fine! Although she went from about 11lbs to 7lbs, she was alert and back to her normal loving self.

Unfortunately she's now degraded rather quickly.

Over the past two-three weeks the odor of rotting has set in, she's lost about 2lbs, she's not walking right and two days ago she started bleeding from the mouth. She looks like she is suffering and due to her physical state I'm sure she is :(. All she's done tonight is roam the apartment, back and forth from room to room. I think she's looking for a spot to pass away.

The way she looks at me is so sad. I know she's done fighting.

I'm going to cuddle her and sing to her and tomorrow as I hold her she will slip away from her pain and into peace.

She's 15/16 yrs old. I've had her since she was just under a year old. She was my constant companion and never failed to console me when I was sad or greet me when I came home. I have loved her with such passion over the years, I am going to miss her terribly.

The hardest part has been explaining to my 5yr old daughter that Princess isn't coming home from the kitty doctor tomorrow. This was her first pet and they love each other also. My daughter understands that Princess is going to animal Heaven and will be watching us, looking over us and will not be in pain anymore. We took a pile of pictures with her tonight and we will be making a photo collage to hang on the wall so she's always here.

Our pets are a part of our family ~ a part of us. They will never be forgotten and will always be loved.

Bless you all and your beloved pets. May they all be playing together and keeping each other company.

Michelle on June 07, 2012:

We had to put My beloved Gracie to sleep yesterday. She had been sick for 4 months and our vet said she just had a skin infection and was allergic to the food we gave her. We switched her food and even though she was eating normally she was skin and bones. Yesterday morning we took her to another vet to get a second opinion and that vet said she was in a lot if pain and the most humane thing we could to for her was to put her to sleep. He told us that all her symptoms pointed to cancer. I feel horrible I had no idea she was in so much pain. I miss my kitty so much.

ShadowGrandma from Brooklyn, New York on June 05, 2012:

I found this site and read all the symptoms and my baby Shadow had then. First was the lumps over the eye, then the neck lower stomach, back, and side legs. Then the lump like open and was like a rash. I took him over and over to the vet they gave him med, creme, shot of antibiotic, took out his blood but when we were going back for his biopsy the doctor look at us and told us. They is no need to do the biopsy cause you only prolonging his pain and ya two ladies which it was my daughter and me she was talking about. They told us to put him down. So the doctor Euthanasia him. My daughter was with him and he was watching her watching him and she had her hand on his chest and felt his heart slowly stop. She said that was by far one of the hardest days of her life. I cry so much when she went in with him and even more when she came out with his body in a box to be bury. My Shadow was a 13 years old Russian Blue, Male. I pray they find a cure for Cancer for animal and human alike cause that is the far most cure diseases out there to everyone. I cry when I read everyone comment here and my heart goes out to everyone animal and owner alike.

Mel on May 06, 2012:

My kitty has been diagnosed with mammary cancer with too many internal tumours to treat. She was given 2-3months last July but is still going strong.She has 1 large external tumour that ulcerated and got quite nasty but with some washing and antibiotic gel this cleared up. The wound doesn't seem to bother her -she is still running around like a loony and is not yet showing any other symptoms. My vet has been very helpful and has recommended Manuka honey for the tumour which is helping to keep it clean-along with gently washing the area in boiled salt water. I'm lucky to be able to treat her myself because she is very placid and just enjoys the fuss while I'm cleaning her and putting on a variety of home-made dressings. When she starts showing any changes in behaviour or other symptoms I will be taking her back to the vet for what unfortunately is inevitable but in the meantime we are just making the most of the time left. I have read some sites that say once the tumour has ulcerated and it gets smelly cats are often put to sleep. The smell was pretty bad but it didn't seem to be distressing for her so I decided to try and treat it first which I'm glad I did.

Michele on February 23, 2012:

My shadow has a lump on the side of her mouth/jaw...she is 11 years 3 months old. She starting behaving different around December 20th. Brought her to the Vet January 20th and they put her on antibiotics for 10 days (all her blood tests were fine and no lump yet), the medication did nothing and her left eye started leaking clear. brought her back just this tuesday and they gave her more antibiotics, srtonger this time and pain killers to see if the swelling goes down to clean her teeth and pull out one or 2 as it might be an abscess, but if the swelling does not go down, then it's cancer and her chance of survival, even wirh operation is 5% less. Just today I noticed the leaking eye is now getting worse, as when I turn on the light, her Iris gets extremely small. the other eye don't do that. I think she I going blind in that eye....I feel so bad as I love my shadow, she is my best friend and I'm in so much pain right now, as I have to make a BiG decision by next Wednesday..

MaryFrances on January 26, 2012:

I have just lost my beautiful Kitty this morning, she had cancer, all her organs were shutting down and nothing could be done for her, there was no warning, for two days she seemed disorientated and spaced out. I feel devastated, she changed me into a cat lover, I am going to miss her soo much.

July Girl on January 24, 2012:

I lost my beloved cat, Tippy, to chronic renal failure when she was 11.5 years old. Five months before she died my husband discovered a "ping pong" sized lump on her left hip. It seemed to have appeared overnight. I took her to the vet the next day and when the vet aspirated it, this yellow fluid came out. She called me two days later and told me my cat had spindle cell sarcoma. It was the chronic renal failure that took her life five months later. I still miss her and she has been gone for almost four years.

Nancy Smith on January 23, 2012:

I know what you are going through. I lost my Bo to a tumour in his back. The vet said it is one of the rarest I have a lot of guilt. He was 13.5 years old. I don't know if I could have done more for him. I will never know if I had acted quicker if I could have had him for longer. I was in denial that anything could hurt my strong, handsome Bo. Im lost without him.

Mark Johnson on January 07, 2012:

Just a few days ago I lost my "MAX" to lung cancer. I had absolutely no idea he had this condition until 15 days before his death. I am truly broken hearted...just lost without him. I loved him so.

Jorge Vamos on June 04, 2010:

Thank you. Quite informative.

Debra Allen from West By God on January 04, 2010:

Thanks for the article. I have five indoor/outdoor cats and 5 outdoor strays that I take care of. This is good to know.

Cory Zacharia from Miami Beach, Florida on January 04, 2010:

My sweet kittie was just operated for a small tumor in her nose this past December. It was diagnosed as a spindle cell sarcoma, a cancer that may not spread but is prone to re-occur. I asked my veterinarian what would be a sign and she said sneezing and nasal discharge. So that is one more thing to look out for. I am taking her to an oncologist this week to see what else can be done to keep her healthy. Best of luck to all of you!

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