Warning signs of feline cancer
Pet cancer can be treated if detected early
EXCESSIVE HIDING Cats love a good hiding spot, but if your kitty is increasingly retreating to hardto-reach places, it could signal that something’s wrong. “Owners often tell me they notice when their cat is ill if they’re usually social but have been spending more time in new hiding spots,” says veterinarian Dr Jake Zaidel. Excessive hiding is a general sign that something is off with your cat – not necessarily cancer – so it’s a good idea to see a vet.
WEIGHT LOSS This is the main symptom of cat cancer Zaidel says he sees. It’s often the sign of a gastrointestinal tumour. “When cats don’t want to eat, that’s very concerning,” he says. Cancer can also cause cats to lose weight while maintaining their regular appetite. If your cat is losing weight, see your vet.
Sores, lumps, a strange odour, bleeding or a change in gum colour can be a sign of oral cancer, particularly in older cats. This cancer sign often goes unnoticed because people don’t examine their pet’s mouth frequently enough. “Many oral tumours can be really devastating because people don’t find them until it’s advanced”, says Zaidel.
NOSEBLEEDS are never normal, says Dr Timothy Rocha, a veterinary oncology specialist. “With an older cat, a nosebleed is particularly worrisome. It can be a sign of cancer in the nose,” he says.
DIARRHOEA or changes in litter box habits. Occasional diarrhoea usually isn’t a sign of cancer, says Rocha, but if it persists or gets worse, take your cat to the vet. Excessive litter box use, difficulty peeing or moving bowels, or blood in urine or stool are also potential signs of cancer.