Before going into more details on the subject of cat cancer, I would like to give a very brief overview of what cancer actually is.
Cancer means nothing else than uncontrolled cell growth. Often, the word tumor is used as well, which describes an overgrowth of cells. Cancer or tumors can affect any cell type and organ in the body and one has to distinguish between “good” or benign and “bad” or malignant tumors.
A benign tumor usually grows slowly and it develops only in one place and doesn’t spread to other cell types. This form of tumor can normally be removed relatively easy.
Whereas malignant cat tumors grow quickly and often spread throughout the body to other cell types and organs. In most cases it is very difficult if not impossible to remove malignant tumors with surgery. Certain forms of cancer can also spread through the bloodstream (for example leukemia).
Most people don’t know, but feline tumors are the leading cause of death in older cats and nowadays, more and more younger cats are affected as well. It is crucial to detect cat cancer as early as possible in order to allow treatment as early as possible and to assure maximum success.
Unfortunately, it is very difficult to detect cat cancer at an early stage, because our feline friends are very talented in hiding illnesses. But there are still signs and symptoms that may allow to detect feline cancer at an early stage.
So, what are the typical signs of cat cancer?
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Lumps that seem to be getting bigger
- Your cat may have difficulties in breathing
- Having trouble urinating
- You may realize sores that don’t heal properly
- Sudden weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Strange odor
- The cat may seem lethargic and tired most of the time
Of course, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your cat has cancer if she shows any of the listed symptoms, but it is surely a good idea to take your cat to the veterinarian for a check-up. Also, you should be aware that recent advances in feline cancer research have significantly increased he chances for successful treatment.
Finally, I would like to provide a short list of the most common forms of cat cancer:
- Cat lymphoma: This is probably the most common form of cancer in cats and it is associated with the feline leukemia virus.
- Fibrosarcoma: This is a soft tissue sarcoma that often develops tumors in muscles and other body tissues.
- Oral squamous carcinoma
The following forms of cat cancer are much less common:
- Lung tumors
- Brain tumors
- Liver tumors