Warn­ing signs of fe­line can­cer

Pet can­cer can be treated if de­tected early

Reader's Digest Asia Pacific - - Contents - BY ALYSSA JUNG

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.

MOUTH CHANGES

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.

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