Cancer isn’t as common in cats as it is in dogs, but it tends to be more aggressive. This may be because cats are very good at hiding their pain and discomfort, leading to the disease being in more advanced stages at diagnosis. These days there are effective treatments for many types of feline cancers and advances in research and technology are giving our cats a better chance at survival every day. Of course, early detection and diagnosis is key when it comes to cancer and greatly improved the success of treatment. The best way to detect a problem early is to know what to look for.
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#1 – Lumps
A lump on or under your cat’s skin isn’t necessarily cancerous, but there’s no way to tell for sure without seeing your veterinarian who can do a biopsy. It’s especially important to see a veterinarian right away if the lump grows.
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#2 – Swelling or Obvious Pain
Swelling and pain don’t necessarily mean your cat has cancer– it could mean arthritis or an injury. Bone cancer, however, can have some of the same symptoms and should be taken into consideration if your cat is hesitating to run, jump, or climb.
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#3 – Sores or Infections That Don’t Heal
Wounds heal quickly on healthy bodies. If your cat has sores or infections that don’t seem to be clearing up it could be a sign of a skin disease or cancer.
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#4 – Discharge
Any sort of discharge like vomit, diarrhea, blood, or pus should be taken very seriously. In addition to signaling underlying problems, excessive vomiting and diarrhea can lead to dehydration.
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#5 – Difficulty Breathing
Cancer that has taken hold of a cat’s lungs can cause coughing, wheezing, or difficulty breathing.
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#6 – Loss of Appetite
Cats love to eat, and it’s a very clear sign when a cat becomes apathetic to mealtime. Tumors in a cat’s mouth or throat can also make eating too painful.
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#7 – Weight Loss
Weight loss is very common in cats who have cancer and can be a warning sign for many other health problems. Assuming your cat isn’t on a weight loss diet, don’t forget to mention this important sign to your veterinarian.
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#8 – Lethargy
Cats love to sleep, but healthy cats also love to play and explore. Cats with cancer tend to become lethargic and depressed as they start feeling ill. While lethargy and depression don’t necessarily indicate cancer, they certainly indicate a problem that’s worth getting to the bottom of.
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#9 – Strong Odors
Abnormally strong odors are a big sign that something isn’t right inside your cat’s body. It’s common for cancers of the mouth, ears, and nose to cause foul smells.