Common Signs of Cancer in Cats

3 min read Jan 11, 2022

It goes without saying that the last thing we ever want to imagine is one of our furry friends suffering from cancer. Unfortunately, according to the Animal Cancer Foundation, nearly 6 million cats are diagnosed with cancer each year.

The good news is that cancer in cats is often treatable, especially when caught early.

This is why it’s so important to be proactive and familiarize yourself with the symptoms of cancer in cats. By remaining attentive to any changes in your cat’s physical condition or behavior you’re much more likely to spot the signs of any illness.

Most Common Cancers in Cats

Just like in humans, there are many forms of cancer that can affect cats. Some of the most common forms of cancer in cats are the following:

Lymphoma -- this cancer is related to the Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) and affects a cat’s immune system

Squamous Cell Carcinoma -- this variety of skin cancer typically affects a cat’s nose or ears

Basal Cell Tumor -- these tumors present as lumps under your cat’s skin, typically in older cats

Mast Cell Tumor -- these tumors may be found on your cat’s skin or attached to your cat’s internal organs

Mammary Carcinoma -- this form of cancer affects your cat’s mammary glands and is most common in older cats

Osteosarcoma -- This form of bone cancer causes weakness in your cat’s bones

Symptoms of Cancer in Cats

Because there are so many distinct forms of cancer that affect cats there is also a wide range of symptoms.

Following are some of the most common signs of cancer in cats:

  • Unusual lumps or growths on or beneath your cat’s skin
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • A loss of appetite and severe weight loss
  • Sudden weight gain
  • A disheveled, unkempt coat
  • A Fever
  • Strong odor in your cat’s mouth
  • A yellow tinge in your cat’s mouth or in the whites of his eyes

As you can see, many of these symptoms wouldn’t typically be cause for concern. After all, every creature experiences an upset stomach now and then, don’t they? However, when you look at these symptoms in conjunction they tell a different story.

This is why It’s so crucial to pay close attention to your cat’s temperament and physical traits throughout his or her entire life.

Always be sure to spend plenty of quality time with your cat. That way you’ll notice immediately if their behavior or appearance suddenly changes.

Every so often, as you pet your cat, try to give him a subtle physical examination. Try to notice any new lumps on his body. Try to notice if your cat’s weight is staying consistent or if it has suddenly increased or decreased.

Also, check his mouth from time to time. A growth, discoloration or particularly foul odor could be a sign of cancer.

Performing these checks will take you no time at all and could potentially save your cat’s life!

What To Do If Your Cat Has Cancer

If you notice your cat exhibiting one or more of the symptoms above, be sure to take him to the veterinarian for a checkup.

Fortunately, cancer in cats is often highly treatable. Even though it isn’t always possible to cure cancer, many cats still live long lives in spite of their diagnosis.

Your veterinarian will guide you through the best treatment options for your cat.

Naturally, treatment will vary depending on the type of cancer. Just as for humans, the most common treatments for cancer are surgical removal of tumors, radiation, and chemotherapy.

It’s always best to remain optimistic about your pets and their health, but it’s also wise to think ahead and be prepared.

Consider Investing in Pet Insurance 

Looking for more ways to keep your pets happy and healthy? Consider investing in a pet insurance policy with MetLife Pet Insurance.1  Learn more about our dog insurance and cat insurance policies or get your free quote today. 

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Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.

2 Provided all terms of the policy are met. Application is subject to underwriting review and approval. Like most insurance policies, insurance policies issued by IAIC and MetGen contain certain deductibles, co-insurance, exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force. For costs, complete details of coverage and exclusions, and a listing of approved states, please contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC.