Does Your Cat Have Cancer? Here Are the Warning Signs You Need to Know

The sheer idea of your sweet little feline fur baby having cancer is devastating. Sure, cats can be a bit bizarre in their mannerisms from time to time, but being able to tell the difference between odd behavior and the warning signs of cancer is crucial. One in every five cats will have cancer over the course of its lifetime, the most common types being squamous cell carcinoma, lymphoma, and soft-tissue sarcoma.

These are the clear warning signs to look for if you think your cat may have cancer. And thankfully, there are treatments. Consult your vet if your cat is showing any of these symptoms.

1. Nosebleeds

Woman holding her lovely cat
It can also be a sign of cancer. | Cyano66/iStock/Getty Images

The medical term is called epistaxis. While nosebleeds in cats are commonly linked to a respiratory infection, be wary. A nosebleed can also be an early warning sign of nose and sinus cancer in cats. Even though it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly the cause of such cancer, early detection has been known to increase the survival rate of your furry friend. A blood and urine analysis, along with X-rays and CT scans will determine the severity of cancer in your cat.

Next: Don’t dismiss this common warning sign.

2. Sudden weight loss or loss of appetite

Little dog maltese and black and white cat eating food from a bowl in home
Loss in appetite is not a good sign. | Humonia/iStock/Getty Images

A decreased appetite or a sudden onset of weight loss are surefire signs that something is wrong with your cat. While cats can lose weight for a wide variety of reasons — toothaches, anxiety, and even diabetes — cancer is the most common diagnosis. The medical term associated with feline weight loss due to cancer is called cancer cachexia. And if you notice your little puma shedding pounds at an unusual pace, make an appointment with your veterinarian.

Next: The cause of this terrifying symptom is usually cancer.

3. Seizures

Playing cat
It could be a sign of a brain tumor. | Steevy84/iStock/Getty Images

A truly devastating scene to imagine is your pet having a seizure, but the reality is that cat seizures are an indicator of a brain tumor. Now there are a couple things to note here. First, brain tumors in cats are not very common. Secondly, just because your cat has a brain tumor does not mean its cancerous. As for the causes, they are very similar to those in humans — diet, genetics, and the environment. A veterinarian can biopsy a tumor to determine a diagnosis.

Next: Here’s what could be causing eye goop.

4. Discharge from the body

main coone cat with one eye open while sleeping
These can spread if not treated. | fivelakes-photos/iStock/Getty Images

Nasal discharge is another tell-tale symptom that your cat may have nasal or sinus cancer. As for discharge from your cat’s eyes, well that could be an indication of an eye tumor. Most commonly for a cat, an eye tumor is melanocytic. This sort of tumor can eventually morph into uveal melanoma, and if it is malignant the tumor could quickly spread to other regions of the body.

Next: Beware if you give your cat milk.

5. Diarrhea

british shorthair cat in the box
There are plenty of explanations, but this could be one. | GooDween123/iStock/Getty Images

Rest-assured there are a host of reasons your cat could have diarrhea. A simple change in food or giving your cat milk can cause the onset of the runs. However, feline gastrointestinal lymphoma can also present itself with symptoms like diarrhea and bloody stool. If your cat’s loose bowels persist, it’s worth getting checked out.

Next: Does your cat have dry skin or sores? 

6. Strange skin changes

Man strokes sleeping pet. Cozy morning at home.
Skin problems that won’t go away could be a sign of cancer. | Aksenovko/iStock/Getty Images

Persistent sores that just won’t disappear, even after treatment, could be a sign of a much bigger issue — squamous cell carcinoma. Typically, it’s cats spending their lives at higher altitudes or consistently in the blazing sun who are diagnosed with the disease. And even though sores may appear anywhere, the face, nose, and ears are more commonly affected.

Next: Don’t dismiss a lump.

7. Tumors or growths

Man sitting in an armchair, holding his gorgeous pet cat
Check with your vet to make sure everything is alright. | AndreaObzerova/iStock/Getty Images

We’ve all seen lumps on dogs, but cats can also have them. Either way, finding a strange growth or lump while petting your furry friend is startling. Sometimes a slight injury can leave your kitty with a lump, but those lumps could also be an abscess or tumor. As always, the most important step is having it tested at the veterinarian’s office.

Next: What happens if your cat does have cancer? 

8. Now what?

Veterinary caring of a cute cat
Your cat can seek treatment. | Cyano66/iStock/Getty Images

A cancer diagnosis for a cat does not have to be a death sentence. In the same ways humans receive treatment for the disease, so can cats. Sometimes only a surgery can cure your cat, but chemotherapy and radiation are also options. Furthermore, homeopathic treatments exist for pet owners who are not keen on the more invasive routes.

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