14 Signs of Cancer in Cats
Cancer is one of the top disease-related killers of pets, including cats. As cats age, they can be more susceptible to health issues, including cancer, but they’re also excellent at hiding problems. Any change in behavior in your cat should be taken seriously. To help him live a long and healthy life, keep an eye out for these 14 signs of cancer in cats.
If your cat has an unusual bump, an odd smell coming from his mouth, or has taken to hiding in odd places, it’s time to visit the vet. These can all be symptoms of cancer. Get in touch with Cinco Ranch Veterinary Hospital at 281-693-7387.
Sign #1: Unusual Lumps and Bumps
Lumps and bumps can be obvious signs of a cat with cancer. If you notice a large bump, a lump that continues to grow, or a swollen spot that changes shape with time, you should absolutely schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. These can be a sign of mast cell tumors or another form of cancer.
Sign #2: A Bad Smell Coming from the Mouth
A bad smell emitting from the mouth of your cat could be a sign of oral cancer, or squamous cell carcinoma. This disease is often attributed to secondhand smoke, but oral problems can also result from dental issues. If your cat is suffering from this form of cancer, you may also notice a change in the color of his gums.
Sign #3: Difficulty Eating or Swallowing
Problems eating or swallowing can also be a symptom of oral cancer in cats, or even neck cancer. Just like a foul smell coming from his mouth, problems swallowing or eating could point to a dental issue. If you notice your cat is trying to chew with only one side of his mouth, an appointment with your vet is in order.
Sign #4: Loss of Appetite
A cat that refuses to eat anything may be suffering from a major illness like cancer, or he could have a foreign body trapped somewhere in his GI tract. If your cat has simply stopped eating, don’t wait to make an appointment with your veterinarian.
Sign #5: Sores That Won’t Heal
Wounds, lesions, or sores that won’t heal on your cat, even after he’s given oral medication or ointments, deserve a second look from a professional. They can be signs of cancer, an infection, or skin disease.
Sign #6: Hiding
One of the major signs of something wrong with a cat is excessive hiding. If your cat is suddenly spending a lot of time under the bed or in his favorite hiding spot, it could be a sign that something is wrong, especially if he won’t even come out for food or treats. This behavior doesn’t always mean cancer, but a vet can give you more information.
Sign #7: Nosebleeds
Nosebleeds are not normal in cats. Blood or pus coming out of your cat’s nose could indicate cancer, especially in older cats. In younger cats, it could mean something is stuck up there.
Sign #8: Abnormal Discharges
If you notice blood or pus in your cat’s mouth or anus, these can be signs of cancer, specifically oral or GI tract cancer.
Sign #9: Vomiting or Diarrhea
Vomiting and diarrhea can be red flags for a multitude of problems, including stuck foreign bodies, hairballs, and other illnesses. They are also common symptoms of cancer found in cats, specifically gastrointestinal lymphoma.
Sign #10: Changes in Bathroom Habits
Difficulty peeing and blood in the urine could be signs and symptoms of:
- A urinary tract infection (UTI)
- Bladder crystals
- Urinary cancer
Excessive litterbox use can also point to a problem, as can straining to defecate or blood in the stool.
Sign #11: Changes in Weight
Older cats can be skinnier than their younger companions, but drastic changes in weight—a gain or loss—can mean your pet is suffering from an illness. Weight loss is the number-one symptom of cat cancer, usually pointing to a gastrointestinal tumor.
Weight gain can also be a sign of a gastrointestinal tumor, as can bloating.
Sign #12: Seizures
Unless your cat has a previously diagnosed issue with them, seizures are never a good sign for any pet and should be taken very seriously. A seizure usually appears as an uncontrolled burst in energy. You may see your cat jerking, chewing, or foaming at their mouth.
If your cat has a seizure, take him to the vet immediately. Seizures be caused by brain tumors, especially in older cats.
Sign #13: Difficulty Breathing
If you find your cat is having trouble breathing or is coughing, a trip to a doctor is in order. This could be a sign of fluid in the lungs or inflammation. In addition to cancer, problems breathing could be caused by heart or lung disease.
Sign #14: Lameness, Lethargy, Weakness, or Obvious Pain
Just like hiding, a sudden, massive change in behavior is a serious indicator that something is wrong in cats; it could be cancer. Cats go to great lengths to hide discomfort or pain because of an instinct to avoid becoming prey. If you notice your furry friend is depressed, lethargic, weak, limping, or in pain and crying out, don’t wait to schedule an appointment with your vet.
An owner who catches the signs of cat cancer early gives a cat his best chance at survival. Knowing what to look out for, especially as your cat ages, can help you maintain his quality of life. Annual wellness exams with your veterinarian can help. If you notice any of the signs or health problems above, don’t wait to go to the vet. Schedule an appointment immediately.
If you are in or near Katy, TX, contact Cinco Ranch Veterinary Hospital for a checkup or referral to a specialist. Call 281-693-7387 to make an appointment.