As part of my job as an animal health technician, I have been able to assist with several surgeries for mass removal in animals. With the proper care and the endless love of their owner, animals can surprise us and bounce back very quickly.
This article has been put together to detail the causes of cancer in cats, the different types and symptoms. Read on to learn more about the natural treatments that exist to help cats fight this subtle demon. We actually suggest natural ways to fight your cat’s cancer and show you how to shrink a tumor with our holistic products.
What are the causes of cancer and tumors in cats?
You may already know that a tumor is a mass formed by the uncontrolled multiplication of a certain type of cell. It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact causes of cancer in cats, however, certain risk factors are known, such as obesity, second-hand smoke and some viruses.
We talk about cancer when a tumor is said to be malignant, that is to say that it grows quickly, tends to migrate through the bloodstream (metastases) and is at risk of recurrence. That said, cats can develop benign tumors, which are non-dangerous masses.
Risk factors for cancer in cats:
Lack of physical exercise
Prolonged exposure to the sun
Feline leukemia (leukosis) virus (FeLV)
Feline immunodeficiency virus (F.I.V.) also known as cat AIDS
Since the latter two viruses are contracted through contact with other cats, it’s not wrong to say that letting a cat wander outside indirectly increases its risk of developing cancer.
Whether benign (harmless) or malignant (cancer), a tumor is detected most of the time by feeling a lump under the skin. Only a laboratory analysis of cells can confirm the nature of this.
Despite what you might think, a benign tumor can also sometimes cause symptoms. For example, a benign mass in the brain could put pressure on certain structures and thus lead to neurological signs.
That said, a tumor on an internal organ can be difficult to detect and that is why it is important to pay attention to the following signs.
What are the symptoms of cancer in cats?
As in humans, the signs of cancer vary depending on the system or organ affected by the tumor(s). As mentioned earlier, you might notice a lump under your cat's skin, which is a good indicator. Pet owners should also take particular note when animals change their normal habits.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of signs of a tumor in cats:
Lump under the skin
Wounds that do not heal
Cough or difficulty breathing
More frequent urination
If your cat has any of these signs, we recommend that you consult a vet.
We invite you to learn more about these 10 signs of cancer in cats, because early detection can be the best way to save your beloved companion.
How long can a cat live with cancer?
As you can imagine, there is no precise answer to this question. We could be talking about a few weeks or a few years. Only your vet can give you a prognosis according to your kitty cat’s particular case. The type of cancer, its stage at diagnosis and the general health of your cat are all factors that can affect life expectancy.
What are the most common types of cancer in cats?
Many cancers found in cats are also found in humans. They are mainly classified by the system in which the uncontrolled cells develop. Skin cancer, breast tumors and bone cancers are also found in cats.
Lymphoma is a cancer that affects the lymph cells of the cat, more specifically the lymphocytes (white blood cells). It is the most common cancer in cats and there are different forms, depending on the organ that is affected. This is because, in actuality, lymph is found throughout the body. It usually appears suddenly and is seen largely in older cats or those with the feline leukemia virus. The life expectancy of a cat with lymphoma is between two months and two years.
Among the different types of lymphoma in cats, we find intestinal lymphoma, mediastinal lymphoma, renal lymphoma, and small and large cell lymphomas. Intestinal lymphoma, which affects the digestive tract, accounts for about ⅔ of lymphoma cases in cats.
Skin cancer in cats (melanoma and malignant melanoma)
Melanomas (benign or malignant) are skin tumors. They generally develop on the cat's head (eyes and ears), its neck or hind limbs. Malignant melanomas are quite rare in cats, but unfortunately they are also aggressive. They tend to recur when removed surgically.
There are other types of skin cancer in cats as well. They can develop basal cell carcinomas, mast cell tumors and fibrosarcomas. Some fibrosarcomas can also develop at the injection site following a vaccine.
This happened to my friend's cat. Following its vaccination, the small lump under the skin never went away and, after having it analyzed, the vets realized that cancer was developing. But don't worry, it's very rare.
Bone cancer in cats (osteosarcoma)
There are different types of bone cancer, but osteosarcoma is the most common. This cancer is characterized by an uncontrolled multiplication of bone cells (often in the long bones) and usually causes pain, swelling and lameness. Life expectancy is more encouraging for this type of cancer in cats than in dogs.
Cats with osteosarcoma can usually live 1 to 4 years, depending on several factors, such as the location and stage of the disease. Although rather rare, this type of cancer is aggressive.
Liver cancer in cats
Liver cancer affects this organ which is involved in the digestion process. A cat with this type of cancer may have digestive symptoms such as vomiting and loss of appetite. Not all masses in the liver are cancerous. An ultrasound and biopsy can therefore provide more information on the nature of a lump on the liver.
When we talk about liver cancer, we mean the organ affected by the disease. Again, there are several types of liver cancer. Here are a few examples: carcinomas of the bile ducts, sarcomas and myelolipomas.
Fortunately, this type of tumor is very rare in cats. However, if a cat shows symptoms of a major UTI without resolution after treatment, it would be important to do additional tests (such as an ultrasound) to rule out cancer. The symptoms are very similar.
Male cats and those that are obese are more at risk of developing this kind of cancer.
It is known that between 50% and 70% of bladder tumors in cats are described as transitional cell carcinomas, referring to the cells that line the inner wall of the bladder.
Stomach cancer in cats
A tumor can develop in the stomach. There is also a type of lymphoma that affects the digestive system. In all cases, a cat with cancer in the stomach would show signs such as weight loss, vomiting (sometimes tinged with blood) and loss of appetite.
It is reported that the majority of stomach tumors are malignant, yet they have the ability to spread throughout the body and create what is called metastasis. This is never good news. Fortunately, these cancers are not common in our kitties.
Bowel cancer in cats
When a tumor develops in the intestines of a cat, the cat may have symptoms such as diarrhea and pain upon touching its abdomen. If the tumor becomes large, it is even possible for it to block intestinal transit, which complicates the situation.
Male cats are more at risk than females and some breeds are also more susceptible to this type of cancer. In particular, I’m thinking of Siamese cats, who are 8 times more likely to develop intestinal cancer than other feline breeds.
Oral (mouth) cancer in cats
The most common oral cancer in cats is squamous cell carcinoma. It represents more than 75% of oral feline tumors.
Squamous cell carcinoma of the skin in cats
Although theoretically a skin cancer, this type of cancer often develops in the oral cavity of the cat. It is also observed in the nose and ears. This disease is often fatal, as surgery is complicated due to its location, and its progression can interfere with the cat's ability to eat. This kind of tumor responds more or less to chemotherapy.
Indeed, the life expectancy of a cat with an oral tumor is a few months, up to one year. The malnutrition it causes leads to a decline in the health of the sick animal.
Lung cancer itself is quite rare in cats. However, several other types of cancer can migrate to the lungs (metastases). All respiratory symptoms in cats (coughing, difficulty breathing), especially in older cats, should be analyzed quickly by a vet, as the situation can change very rapidly and become serious.
In fact, older cats are at risk of developing this type of cancer. Persian cat breeds are also more likely to develop it. As in humans, second-hand cigarette smoke can cause lung cancer in our animals.
Pancreatic cancer in cats
As the name suggests, pancreatic cancer attacks this organ which is involved in the digestion and production of certain hormones, such as insulin. There are different types of pancreatic cancer, depending on the type of cells that develop uncontrollably. Symptoms will often be digestive, such as vomiting, diarrhea, and weight loss. The prognosis is generally poor, while the diagnosis is often made too late.
Unfortunately, just like in humans, pancreatic cancer can be very severe. The life expectancy of affected cats ranges from a few weeks to a few months. The reason for this is that when this cancer is diagnosed, it is often too late and there is already metastasis throughout the body.
Breast or mammary cancer in cats (mammary gland carcinoma)
This type of cancer is very common in cats and affects its mammary glands. 85% of these tumors are reported to be malignant. It’s a very aggressive cancer that requires surgery from the start. As in dogs, this type of cancer is more often seen in non-sterilized females, although it is possible in sterilized females.
In fact, sterilizing a female cat before the age of 6 months reduces her risk of developing breast tumors by 91%! That’s not insignificant, is it?!
Cats have 4 mammary glands on either side of their abdomen, and tumors can develop in any of these glands. Sometimes chains of tumors are found in this region too.
Leukemia (or leukosis) in cats
Feline leukemia is technically not a cancer in cats. It’s actually a viral infection that causes immunodeficiency and can cause cancer, such as lymphoma. In more severe cases, the virus can spread through the bloodstream to the bone marrow, white blood cells and blood platelets, making it look like human leukemia.
This virus, which is part of the same large family as HIV (but not contagious to humans), is transmitted between cats mainly via saliva.
Cats that venture outside are much more at risk of catching it, as it is a very contagious virus between cats. Mutual grooming, sharing litter or water bowls and sneezing are some of the means of transmission, among many others.
Fibrosarcoma in cats
Fibrosarcoma can appear anywhere, as it is a tumor that develops in the subcutaneous tissue and then in the muscles of the body. It does not usually cause pain on touching. This tumor tends to grow very quickly, to the point where it can ulcerate and become necrotic.
Cats diagnosed with fibrosarcoma can live for up to 3 years with the disease. That said, if the lump is detected early and surgery is done to remove it, a cat could gain several years!
How to treat cancer in cats?
You are probably familiar with the conventional treatments used in humans, namely chemotherapy and radiotherapy, which are also an option for our feline companions. Read on for natural options to help your cat through his fight against cancer, such as the PIPTOPET product and proper nutrition packed with antioxidants.
How to shrink a tumor in a cat?
Conventional treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, are used to shrink the size of a tumor and kill the remaining cancerous cells after the surgical removal of a lump.
Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are invasive and attack both healthy and diseased cells. We suggest alternative natural products to optimize the fight against the cancerous cells, without impacting the healthy cells.
As the name suggests, chemotherapy is the administration of a chemical treatment, i.e. strong drugs, either intravenously or orally. Less than a quarter of animals show side effects from this therapy, unlike in humans.
Radiotherapy, also called radiation therapy, is when radiation is targeted at a tumor with the aim of completely destroying it or reducing its size. It requires several treatments and the animal must be anesthetized each time, as it must be completely still during treatment.
Surgery is often an option to consider. In fact, I personally assisted in a surgery to remove a lump the size of a tennis ball between the shoulder blades of a poor cat. This tumor had surprisingly grown in less than two months! The surgery was a success and was curative for this cat who is now in great shape.
Nevertheless, there are less invasive natural methods of treatment for feline cancer. See our suggestions below.
How To Shrink a Tumor in a Cat Naturally?
So, I have just described to you the classic and most known methods of shrinking tumors, whether in cats or humans.
Such as antioxidants and medicinal mushrooms.
How to treat cat cancer naturally?
The following natural alternative treatments can be used alone or in combination with conventional treatments. In advanced cases where surgery is necessary, natural medicine is a good complement. For people who don't want to inflict invasive therapy on their kitty cat, there are natural ways to fight cancer.
How do you shrink a cat's tumor naturally? Read on to learn about our alternative products.
It is a well-known fact that nutrition plays a major role in the well-being of any individual. A good diet helps strengthen the immune system, and some foods even help fight cancer both directly and naturally. You will find some examples below.
One thing to keep in mind is encouraging water intake, so that the animal maintains good hydration which is essential for the proper functioning of the body.
For example, you can offer your cat canned food and add to this a little hot water. Another important thing is to provide quality food that can be supplemented with omega-3s. This will help the animal maintain good muscle mass, which is just as important in its fight.
The normal action of the metabolism produces so-called free radicals, which are harmful to the body. These free radicals actually attack cells and can cause serious diseases, such as cancer. By having an antioxidant intake through food, we make sure we have control over these toxic molecules and therefore, we help prevent cancer.
It can therefore be a good idea to add certain sources of antioxidants to your cat's food, without drastically modifying its diet.
You could add a small amount of certain fruits and vegetables to its diet, such as broccoli, carrot and butternut squash. Be careful to cook them well beforehand.
Curcumin is the active ingredient found in the well-known turmeric. It is credited with anti-inflammatory properties and is even believed to have the ability to slow the growth of certain cancers.
It is therefore a noteworthy remedy for naturally treating cat cancer. Check with your vet if curcumin is right for your cat.
Mushrooms are part of a mysterious world, in harmony with the rest of nature. Some mushrooms are deadly, while others can literally save lives. Some people even see them as a miracle cure.
Care should be taken when using mushrooms as a natural treatment, and always ensure the quality of the product. We do not recommend that you go into the forest and pick your own, as many mushrooms look alike and there are some requirements to picking them that are important to follow.
With that said, we're here to guide you and we've prepared for you several natural products with a base of medicinal mushrooms so that you can use their properties safely.
Medicinal mushrooms with anti-cancer properties include the popular chaga, shiitake and cordyceps.
These can be used alone or in conjunction with conventional medicines. They are excellent holistic options for cats.
A product made with natural ingredients
Perhaps you have consulted our last article on dog cancer and now know of birch polypore (Piptoporus betulinus)?
In addition, as a cat owner, you want to promotes the shrinkage of tumors, which is a major advantage in the fight against cancer. Do you want to help YOUR cat dissolves tumors ?
At Zumalka what we offer is to help is PIPTOPET because it allows your pet to maintain a good quality of life naturally even in difficult times of illness.
Check out our website for yourselves where you can read the comments of our customers satisfied with the success achieved with this product.
Here is one of their story :
“In August of 2019, our 8 year "KittyKat" was taken to the vet. She'd lost a ton of weight, and no longer wagged her tail for anything except breakfast.
She was quickly diagnosed with some unknown type of tumor, larger than a softball, in her abdomen.
We were given little to no hope, and told to take her home and spoil her until she couldn't take living any longer.
We could have had tests/surgeries/treatments done, but was told that because of her breed that the cancer was quite probably of a certain type and those things "might" add an extra 6 months of life.
And really, who wants to live an extra few months while sick on Chemo. So they prescribed her steroids to help keep her comfortable, but all they did was make her sick.
I came home from the vet and did a ton of research, decided to give Piptopet Cancer treatment a try, what have we got to lose?
Well, within the first week, I saw such a difference. She was happy and playful again.
A year and a half later, I can still feel the tumor there, and she never regained the weight, despite eating more than she used to, but she's thriving.
She has a few bad days now and then, but don't we all? She eats well, plays, enjoys walks, and belly rubs. I never thought we'd still have her around, but thanks to Zumalka and Piptopet, we've been given so much more time with our sweet girl.”
Keeping your cat indoors to prevent it from contracting viruses that can harm its immunity is also an effective strategy in preventing cancer.
Sterilization at a young age helps prevent mammary gland cancer in females.
Finally, you need to know that our natural product PIPTOPET can be used before or after receiving a cancer diagnostic.
It helps to ensure that your pet maintains good overall health and a strong immune system.
In closing, we all know that a battle against cancer is a daunting challenge. You are not alone in this ordeal. We and your veterinary team are here to support both you and your kitty.
Don’t give up hope if your cat is in this situation, many animals surprise us with their extreme resilience.
And who knows, maybe your cat really does have nine lives!
Is your cat fighting cancer? What type of cancer does it have and how are they doing? Share your cat’s story with us in the comments below.
Our experts in natural animal health offer you their personalized advice. All you have to do is just fill out this form for a free consultation and they will discuss with you the specific situation of your furry friend.
ANIMAL HEALTH TECHNICIAN
Véronique Fournier uses her extensive knowledge to write articles about pet health for Zumalka.
She earned her degree in Animal Health from Cégep La Pocatière in Quebec. Her experience includes internships on animal production farms and rehabilitating birds of prey; managing the care of up to 100 wild animals in a day at the SOS Miss Dolittle Refuge; working at the Aquarium of Quebec, where she monitored 10,000 animals of 300 different species. She worked as a chief animal health technician in a veterinary clinic in British Columbia, as well as a few contracts in various other veterinary clinics.
She also makes lots of canine friends by volunteering at local shelters, fostering, and dog sitting for friends.
Leave a comment
Comments will be approved before showing up.
Don't Miss Out!
Join Our Mailing List And Stay Up To Date On All Things Zumalka