Chemotherapy for Cats

Feebee cat in blue chair

While cancer in cats is not as common as it in dogs, it is still one of the leading causes of death in older cats. According to the Animal Cancer Foundation, 6 million cats will be diagnosed with cancer in the United States along. And because cats are masters at masking illness, it is often harder to detect.

Cancer used to be a death sentence for cats, but recent advances in feline cancer research have made treatment possible in many cases. Just like with human cancers, early detection is key to successful treatment.

Treatment options for cats are almost as varied as treatment options for human cancers, and will depend on the type of cancer. Surgery is the most common treatment for any lumps or growths that need to be removed. In some cases, surgery can be curative. Other cancers may require chemotherapy or radiation.

How chemotherapy works

Chemotherapy uses drugs with the objective to kill cancer cells with the least possible amount of damage to normal, healthy cells. In human medicine, the goal of chemotherapy is to achieve a cure. In cats, chemotherapy is aimed at controlling the disease and achieving a period of remission for the cat. Chemotherapy is typically used for cancers that affect multiple sites. Lymphoma is the most common form of feline cancer that is treated with chemotherapy. The drugs used in veterinary chemotherapy are frequently the same drugs used in human medicine.

Most cats tolerate chemotherapy well

Most cats tolerate chemotherapy well. Some cats may experience side effects such as vomiting, diarrhea or poor appetite, but these side effects are usually mild and can be managed with supportive care. Only a very small number of cats on chemotherapy will require hospitalization due to the side effects of chemotherapy. Unlike humans, cats will not lose all their hair. Most cats will lose their whiskers, and shaved hair will be slow to grow back, but substantial hair loss is uncommon.

Support your cat’s immune system

It is important to support your cat’s immune system while she is undergoing chemotherapy. One of the foundations of a healthy immune system is diet. Typically, veterinarians recommend a high protein, low carb, moderate fat diet for pets with cancer. A high quality grain-free canned diet will probably be your best choice for your feline cancer patient.

Even though I’m a proponent of raw feeding, I’m on the fence as to whether raw diets are appropriate for cats with cancer. On the one hand, there are numerous anecdotal reports of miracle cures when pets with cancer were fed a raw diet, on the other hand, I don’t know whether feeding a raw diet to an immunocompromised pet is necessarily a good idea. Check with a veterinarian who is familiar with raw feeding whether a raw diet is appropriate for your cat while she is undergoing chemotherapy.

Supplements and herbs

Supplements and herbs can provide immune system support during treatment. Probiotics not only help maintain a healthy gut flora, but also boost the immune system. Anti-oxidants and increased amounts of omega-3-fatty acids may also be indicated. Check with your veterinarian to determine which supplements are indicated for your cat.

Supportive therapies such as acupuncture, Reiki or other forms of energy healing can support your cat through her treatment. These therapies will not interfere with conventional medical treatment.

How will you know whether chemotherapy was successful?

A cat in remission doesn’t look any different from a cancer-free cat. Typically, a successful remission means that lymphnodes will go down to normal size, and if there were any signs of illness that were related to the cancer, they will disappear. Remission can last anywhere from weeks to months, and for some lucky cats, even several years.

My personal experience with feline cancer

My first cat, Feebee, was diagnosed with intestinal lymphoma when he was 15 years old. He tolerated his chemotherapy protocol of a combination of Vincristine injections and oral Cytoxan and prednisone well. He would be a little subdued for about 24 hours following treatment. His appetite wasn’t that great during that period, and he slept a lot more than usual, but the rest of the time, his quality of life was good.

After seven months, he stopped responding to the chemotherapy. My vet gave me the option of continuing with more aggressive drugs with the potential for more severe side effects. I elected euthanasia. My little man confirmed that I made the right decision: he died in my arms while my vet was on the way to my house.

Being faced with a cancer diagnosis is a devastating blow for cat parents. Making a decision about treatment is as individual as the affected cat and her human. There are no hard and fast rules. The ultimate goal of any decision is to provide good quality of life for the cat for as long as possible.

Have any of your cats undergone chemotherapy? What was your experience?

Photo ©Ingrid King

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612 Comments on Chemotherapy for Cats

  1. Cynthia Dobbins
    January 14, 2017 at 1:26 am (1 week ago)

    My Judah was recently diagnosed with lymphoma. It is at the base of his tongue which was cutting off his breathing, so they had to do an emergency tracheotomy and put him in an oxygen chamber. He is now doing chemo and is responding well. My only problem (I don’t care about the cost, they can have my body when I die!), is “Am I doing the right thing?” One vet suggested that it might be better to put him to sleep, but I couldn’t!!! This kitty is the one who showed me that I had a breast tumor, so I owe him. But are the treatments worth the extra years of life as far as what Judah has to go through?

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      January 14, 2017 at 6:22 am (1 week ago)

      There is no simple answer to your question, Cynthia. Ultimately, you know your cat best, and only you can make this decision. Things I’d look for: is he responding well to the chemo? Do vet visits stress him out to the point where they affects his quality of life, or his bond with you? Is he eating well? Has his personality remained the same? Perhaps this article will offer some more help: http://consciouscat.net/2011/08/22/euthanasia-the-loneliest-decision/ All my best to you and Judah!

      Reply
  2. Cocoo
    January 4, 2017 at 12:27 pm (3 weeks ago)

    My cat just diatwith Multiple Myeloma and has spreaded to spleen.
    She didn’t eat for 1 1/2 days and had fever. Vet told us to bring her to Emergency because of Anemic. After many tests and ultrasound we got the results. I was shocked and cried for few days.

    Now she’s on Prednisolone for 5 days and little by little starting to eat/ drink/ interact / and exploring.

    I hesitate to start her at Melphalan since she’s behaving this much better. But I know that things will go downhill pretty fast. Starting chemo means I’m doing things which could not be undone.

    And there’s only 50-60% of cats which will react to chemo. It seems that here the effectiveness of chemo is much higher here reading all your comments than what the oncologist told us.
    The decision is so hard.

    Reply
  3. Sarah
    December 31, 2016 at 5:55 pm (3 weeks ago)

    Hey everyone, I need some advice! So my kitty bailey started oral chemo using Chlorambucil and Prednisalone at the end of October. He was down to about 7 pounds then so did the medication every three days, with the prednisolone daily and Vit B injections once a week. He was not absorbing his food so we switched him (much to my cringing about the food) to the canned Hills I/D and Royal Canin HE, well he def gained up to almost 9 lbs! a few weeks ago I noticed for the first time that he didnt always want to eat or was slow to eat. This cat even before cancer always was starving, he would steal any food no matter what, scarf it down, you name it. So it breaks my heart to see him like this. but then a day later he eats.. I have been giving him 1/4 16 mg cerenia a few hours before the chemo meds (which are now three times a week with his increased weight) but i did see occasional vomiting. My question is have others experienced this after some time on the medication as he actually was literally starving because of the cancer when he was really sick 🙁 it was so sad… but again ever since a kitten (he is 8 now) he has always scarffed down food. Also the vet recommended 1/8 of a mertazapane every other day and I see that is common with cats with lymphoma? I know he has limited time but I want to be sure to do what is best for him in the time he does have.

    Reply
    • Nora
      January 1, 2017 at 8:34 am (3 weeks ago)

      My ben would still get nausious during chemo. Every 6 weeks he would get a steroid shot and that would keep up his appetite. The shot was good for 4-6 weeks.

      Reply
    • Lisa
      January 3, 2017 at 1:49 pm (3 weeks ago)

      Sarah,

      Have you tried Advita Probiotic Nutritional Supplement? You can buy it from Amazon for $20 for 30 packets. Junior was being a little finicky about eating and I started sprinkling this on their food and he loves it!

      Reply
    • Lisa
      January 3, 2017 at 1:52 pm (3 weeks ago)

      Sarah,

      I tried to tell you about the probiotic supplements we are using and it detected a “duplicate comment’ [I commented in my post below] so please read what I said and maybe that will help your Bailey.

      Reply
  4. Karen Milstein
    December 29, 2016 at 2:47 pm (4 weeks ago)

    I just found this site and so glad to see others going through what we have been experiencing. Our 14 year old Calico, Imzadi, was diagnosed with lymphosarcoma in October. She had a tumor under her jaw. We went to a specialist veterinary practice inFt. Lauderdale, Fl. Her tumor was removed early November and she is now in infusion chemo, just had her fourth dose out of the recommended six. She also takes Prednisolone. She’ll go on Chlorambucil then. She is in remission and we hope to keep her that way. Our vet is super nice, always positive, always smiling, and her staff of nurses treat us the way you want.
    And it is expensive, but Imzadi is family and when I adopted her, I made a promise to do for her as I would my human kids. Here’s hoping, for all of you struggling with this, that the New Year finds you and your furbabies doing well and continue to do so. I will be keeping this site in my favorites tab.

    Reply
  5. Lisa E
    December 15, 2016 at 3:43 am (1 month ago)

    I would like to share the story of my cats:

    Tommy is 15 and Junior is 16. I adopted them both when they were kittens and they are still our babies.

    Tommy started losing weight and having a bout of diarrhea a day and Junior just lost weight with no other symptoms. Tommy was diagnosed with IBD three years ago and has been on Prednisolone ever since.

    All blood work was normal and so was the radiograph on Tommy but the vet suggested doing ultrasounds on both boys and the diagnoses was intestinal lymphoma for Tommy and either severe IBD or intestinal lymphoma for Junior.

    Tommy had already been taking Prednisolone so now Junior is taking it as well and I just started both boys on Chlorambucil every 48 hours.

    So far so good although Tommy hasn’t pooped in over 24 hours; I don’t know what’s worse…the bout of diarrhea a day or the constipation. Months ago he decided he would not poop in the litter box [which he had been doing for 15 years] but instead on the dining room floor.

    My question for anyone out there is: have you had a cat who was diagnosed with intestinal lymphoma and is on the same protocol as our boys are: Prednisolone and Chlorambucil?

    Did it work? Did it affect their quality of life? Has anyone had a cat go into remission?

    I don’t want to lose our boys….I am hoping these medications work and would love to have input from all you wonderful cat lovers.

    Thanks so much,

    Lisa

    Reply
    • Dovemck
      December 15, 2016 at 7:41 am (1 month ago)

      Hi Lisa, so sorry you’re having to go through this. My girl Boofy was diagnosed with small cell Lymphoma nearly a year ago and confirmed by biopsy during exploratory surgery. The protocol here in Aus is different. We do two Chlorambucil aday for 4 days running, prednisolone everyday and then have a blood test 3 weeks later and start again. We did this for 8 months and are now in remission, bloodtests evey 2 months. She has gained weight and is happy and loving as ever. She did NOT suffer on Chlorambucil, it was abit of a non-event. I realize that remission may not be long, but the extra time the treatment has bought has been magical.

      Reply
      • Lisa
        December 15, 2016 at 1:35 pm (1 month ago)

        Dovemck,

        Thanks for your reply!
        I am so glad that your Boofy is doing well. Our vet would be very happy to see the boys having a good quality of life in eight months….the prognosis would be that much better.

        Plus Tommy went to the bathroom last night and no diarrhea so very happy about that. Thanks again!

        Reply
    • Jo
      December 15, 2016 at 10:33 am (1 month ago)

      Lisa, hi. Yes, my cat, Eloise, was diagnosed with small cell lymphoma in August. Her symptoms were vague at first – pooping outside the litter box, low appetite, bouts of vomiting bile. After vet did ultrasound, found a tumor in small intestine – biopsy revealed cancerous and I rushed Eloise to a specialist animal hospital 40 miles away. 3 inches of intestine removed… but lymphoma was detected in lymph nodes. I opted for chlorambucil every other day, as you’re doing, plus prednisolone 2 x a day. The pred, I finally had compounded into a cream – so much easier to apply to inner tip of ear (have to wear gloves, as I do with handling the chlorambucile). Eloise has gained weight and seems fine, although I know I’m just buying time. Was told she could last anywhere from 6 months to 2 years on this regiment. As long as she’s willing to keep going, so am I. I also try to give Eloise diff types of high quality foods, canned and dry (she can be finicky). Hope this info helps you and that you and your boys see better, happier days. We owe them that much.

      Reply
      • Lisa
        December 15, 2016 at 1:46 pm (1 month ago)

        Hi, Jo. Interesting that your Eloise pooped outside the litter box as well because Tommy shared one with Junior for 15 years…no problem…and then started going on the dining room floor. Sounds like our boys are on the same regimen although Junior only gets pred [liquid] once a day. Thanks so much for your reply. You have no idea how helpful it is to hear from other cat owners in the same boat.

        Reply
        • Jo
          December 15, 2016 at 2:53 pm (1 month ago)

          I now think pooping outside the box is how a cat tries to tell us something isn’t right. Whatever, our job is to take care of them and love them. Hope we can do both for a while longer yet. Hope you and everyone on this site has a happy holiday – whatever is celebrated – with yourfur babies, past and present.

          Reply
          • Lisa
            January 3, 2017 at 1:28 pm (3 weeks ago)

            Hi —

            I have a new problem that has arisen with my cats …Junior and Tommy and their diagnosis of Intestinal Lymphoma.

            The boys appetite’s have been very healthy and Tommy’s diarrhea has really decreased since we started him on the Chlorambucil and Junior has had only one bout of diarrhea in the last three weeks.

            So I was really surprised when I brought them to the vet yesterday to find out that they had both lost a pound and are around 9 pounds now. One pound in three weeks for both…

            Their appetites are very good, they’re not having much diarrhea so why are they losing weight and what can I do to help them gain weight?

            Caveat: they will not eat Prescription diets; they either don’t like the taste [Hill’s] or it gave them massive diarrhea. They are eating Fancy Feast Classic Turkey with giblets which they love and I mix some kibbles in with [for Tommy]. Fancy Feast is moderately high in both protein and fat which is what I read cats with cancer should be eating and low in carbs.

            I have also started giving them Advita Probiotic Nutritional Supplement for Cats and sprinkle it on their food. They both love it!

            Any suggestions on how I can get my cats to gain weight. I’m so puzzled why they are losing. Even with the cancer, they are eating and pooping well [almost]. They are happy and seemingly healthy; the proverbial bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

            Thanks so much for taking the time to read this and I look forward to HELP!!

            Lisa

  6. Tina stocks
    November 29, 2016 at 6:44 am (2 months ago)

    I am just about to start chemo with my fur baby boy lil one he is 8 yrs old and I have been told fairly avanced intestinal lymphoma I hoping it will give him a few more months of quality life to maybe enjoy his last summer but I’m terrified that it will make him worse as he is already only eating tiny amounts and sleeps alot am I making the right decision to try chemo or is this cruel I don’t know if this is the right choice but it’s our only chance to extend his life I just hope he doesn’t suffer scared out of my wits I’m hurting him rather than helping

    Reply
    • Jamie S
      November 29, 2016 at 7:11 am (2 months ago)

      From our experience, cats handle chemo so much better than people do. We often wondered if we were doing the right thing for our Munch. We ended up deciding to try and as long as there was improvement, we would fight As Long as she did. Just listen to what they are telling you. As far as the eating, we had prednisolone which did increase her appetite. I would recommend trying different foods to fine one your baby really likes. We ended up with Earthborn holistic wet food. Munch loved it and actually gained weight. Best of luck to you and your baby.

      Reply
    • Dovemck
      November 29, 2016 at 8:26 am (2 months ago)

      Tina – if you’re out there – have faith. chemo in cats is not like it is for humans, they tolerate it far better. My girl was on two Leukeran a day for four days and would sometimes sleep a bit more on the fifth. NO fur loss, no vomiting, diarrhea, no mood swings. First vet said she’d be gone by Chrissy, but with a new vet and chemo, we just had our 8week blood test and are in remission. From what I’ve seen/read, it’s pretty rare for a cat to do poorly (suffer) on oral chemo.

      Reply
      • Nora
        November 29, 2016 at 10:49 am (2 months ago)

        My Ben received Chemo every 3 weeks for a little over a year. We are currently taking a break. Ben was a little sluggish the first few days after the treatment, but he too never lost hair, vomited or seemed to suffer from the treatments.

        Reply
    • Ingrid
      November 29, 2016 at 2:20 pm (2 months ago)

      I hope some of the comments from others who are also going through this have helped you, Tina. Please let us know how your kitty is doing.

      Reply
  7. Sarah
    November 24, 2016 at 4:32 pm (2 months ago)

    My 8 year old snuggle buddy just recently was diagnosed with small cell Lymphoma. 🙁 Bailey started to show some just weird and random symptoms back in May and nothing seemed to fit one diagnosis.
    He first stopped eating some of his food, when he is always starving, no matter how much of good high quality food I feed him haha. He then would throw up everything including just bile, 5 times a day or more, lost weight, I could see his spine. Was scratching, and lymph nodes HUGE!

    He was tested multiple ways for thyroid issues, had multiple lymph node cytologies all coming back as reactive but not cancerous, went to a specialist who did an ultrasound and saw hundreds of lymph nodes enlarged all over him, sent out another cytology, more bloodwork and nothing…..

    Tried a month course of doxy and veraflux because he tested slight positive for bartonella around the time that i did as well. He gained over a lb, BUT his lymph nodes were the size of golf balls. so we finally did the lymph node biopsy. So about 5,000 dollars later after al this I get the call that the lab in Colorado had determined he had cancer, the biopsy was an accurate result. I felt my world crashing to an end.

    He is 8, thats it, just 8.. he is my little trouble maker and bully kitty but he is also my little snuggle bug. he is always there in my lap spending time with me purring. I start crying just writing this not knowing how long I have with him. He started oral chemo with prednisalone as well and since his stool was soooo horrible smelling and he was not absorbing anything she wanted him to be on hills ID. While I was VERY VERY hesitant of that as I am one that would never feed this food, he has gained some and stool is better… he goes back for his first white blood cell count since the diagnosis on Monday, i just can’t come to terms that I might wake up one day and he will be sick again… it’s not fair. I have four cats and they have all been with me through so much and have been the only things out there to not leave me or hurt me… :'(

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      November 25, 2016 at 6:21 am (2 months ago)

      I’m so sorry, Sarah, I know it’s hard. All my best to you and Bailey.

      Reply
      • sarah whidden
        November 25, 2016 at 11:52 am (2 months ago)

        I have always followed what you have recommended with cat food and finally switched my babies to all canned, only diets on your list or dr Jean Hofve. So the fact that he was not gaining weight when I was feeding him about twice the amount that my 10 lb male all muscle basically is eating and that his poo was so smelly made me realize that he is not absorbing nutrients as well. The speciliast wanted to try him on Hills ID and Royal Canine GI HE canned and while I refused at first, I figured I would try, about a week on it and he seems to be gaining and poo is not smelly! So now what.. continue that “crappy food?” I want him to do well and live as long as possible but worry that the bad food wont help that, but then again not gaining nutrients eating high quality food does not help as well..

        Reply
        • Ingrid
          November 25, 2016 at 2:55 pm (2 months ago)

          If he wasn’t absorbing nutrients, there was probably something else going on. I understand that it’s going to be tough to stop feeding the prescription diet since it seems to be working for him, but I would have a hard time feeding those diets long term.

          Reply
    • Jo
      November 26, 2016 at 12:40 pm (2 months ago)

      Don’t despair just yet. My 11 year old Eloise was diagnosed w/small cell lymphoma in early August. She, too, is doing the oral chemo every other day and prednisolone 2x day. As long as she is not suffering, we will continue. When she was hospitalized for 3 nights, she was also put on a ‘bland’ diet of I/D. It’s supposed to go easy on the digestive system. When she came home, Eloise had diarrhea, smelly poos, too, for quite a while. I slowly introduced ‘regular’ cat food, whatever she likes, as long as she was eating, I didn’t care. We’re just buying time, there’s no cure, so don’t fret too much – as long as Bailey is eating and pooping and not in distress, he doesn’t know anything’s wrong. All the best.

      Reply
      • Jamie S
        November 26, 2016 at 2:43 pm (2 months ago)

        The waiting is the worst thing you can do when you have a fur-baby doing chemo. As long as she’s not in pain, that’s all that matters. There are always good weeks and bad. Good luck!

        Reply
  8. Sharon
    September 14, 2016 at 8:36 am (4 months ago)

    I posted on this comment section months ago regarding my cat Mork who had an inoperable cancerous tumor in his stomach. I am finally to a point where I can write about what happened.

    I had to make the most difficult care decision for my friend of fourteen years on May 12, 2016. He stopped eating for several days beforehand, right after I had decided to stop putting him through the intravenous chemotherapy sessions. He came home from the last session frothing at the mouth, crazy in the eyes, and miserable. I decided then and there that I had taken it too far, and that the best thing to do for Mork at that point was palliative care. Mork had tolerated six months of intravenous chemotherapy at that point, and it did not appear that the cancer was in remission. I felt like I was doing it for me because I did not want to let him go. I had to come to grips that what was best for Mork was to let him live the remaining days of his life at home with his family. It was not a decision I made lightly, and it broke my heart. A few days after my decision, Mork refused to eat and started hiding behind the couch which he never did prior in the fourteen years I’d lived with him.

    I was fortunate to find a vet who does home visits. It was some comfort to me that Mork’s final moments were spent on his blanket at our house in my arms. Right up until his final moments, I was not sure I was making the right decision. Deciding to end his life remains one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make.

    My heart and sympathy goes to all who are battling cancer with their beloved cats. I know exactly how it feels to ride the roller coaster that is living life with a pet with a cancer diagnosis. My best advice would be to cherish every moment you have with your pet. Make a conscious effort to spend extra time with your pet while you can. Up until about two weeks before May 12, I thought I had much more time with Mork. If I had known the end was so close, I would have spent much more time snuggling with him.

    Something I read that helped me when the time came to send Mork to the rainbow bridge went something like this: Take heart that you are sparing your pet more suffering by transferring that suffering onto you. I know that Mork was suffering in the last week of his life, and now he is at peace. His biological sister Mindy and I miss him every day.

    Reply
    • Jo
      September 14, 2016 at 9:30 am (4 months ago)

      What you did for your kitty was the final act of love and kindness. Quality of life, not quantity, is what counts. I read somewhere something that goes like “do not measure life in the number of breaths you take, but in the moments that take your breath away”. You did absolutely the right thing. I am just starting this cancer journey with my kitty. I pray every day that I am doing the right thing. Take care.

      Reply
      • Sharon
        September 14, 2016 at 11:56 am (4 months ago)

        Thank you for your kind words, Jo. I appreciate it.

        You and your kitty are in my thoughts. I know how tough it is to know if you are making the right choices. All you can do is what you think is best at the moment with the information you have. It is hard. Your cat is lucky to have someone as thoughtful as you to provide care.

        Reply
        • Jo
          September 14, 2016 at 12:13 pm (4 months ago)

          Thank you, Sharon. 🙁

          Reply
    • Ingrid
      September 14, 2016 at 4:44 pm (4 months ago)

      I’m so sorry about Mork, Sharon. I’m glad his final moments were peaceful. Be gentle with yourself as you mourn your beautiful boy.

      Reply
  9. Anthony D'Agostino
    September 13, 2016 at 3:59 pm (4 months ago)

    First time viewing, and a new adoptive parent of a beautiful cat, which was rescued last month. We adopted her, knowing that she had cancer. The original owner failed to even have the cat examined, so desperate times called for desperate measures. We helped coordinate the rescue late at night, with our vet not standby to treat/examine the obvious and growing head wound that had been there festering for more than six months.

    Even though she is not our cat, and we are in no way responsible for her care, we choose to adopt her anyway, and we will undertake the financial burden, which we can’t really afford right now, and the emotional burden as well. She has been with us at home for just over two weeks, we fell in love with her instantly. She is still in quarantine, since we have no idea if she has been vaccinated and we can’t risk her spreading anything to the other 30+ rescues we have under our care. Even in her new surroundings, which aren’t perfect, yet, she is so loving and sweet, craving for affection. We give her all we can, while trying to maintain her from spreading anything, either from her or too her. Since we have so many other cats/kittens around, some new and still in their early days following their vaccinations, it’s still a dangerous time for all. She can’t be vaccinated yet, as her health and upcoming chemo would wipe out any vaccinations she gets today, we have to wait until she rebounds from the final round of chemo before she gets vaccinated. We don’t even know how old she is, which makes it that much more difficult. From age 2 through age 15, they all look the same, so it is anybody guess at her actual and.

    Anyway, I hope that we can handle the stress and pain of chemo for kitties, it’s a new experience for us, and we have had so many other cats pass away recently from other problems, it scares us a lot. We have no ability to refuse to help, and we wouldn’t change our decision to get involved, it just is very scary for anyone to face cancer, but even more so since we have already had more heartache these past 6 months, than a normal heart could ever endure.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      September 14, 2016 at 5:40 am (4 months ago)

      You are a very special person for adopting this kitty and being committed to do whatever it takes to help her. All my best to you!

      Reply
    • dovemck
      September 14, 2016 at 6:24 am (4 months ago)

      okay – it’s important to say – you’re wonderful for doing this. Now, let’s get to the kitty. I don’t know what kind of cancer and I don’t know what regime you’re using – but generally – chemo is pain free except for a needle prick. Again, depending on the regime, there will be days where she will have to be isolated and you’ll need gloves to empty litter boxes etc. Most people here seem to be in the US which has a number of days or alternate days on without break. This might make it a bit tougher for you. See if they will try the method employed here in Australia where we do some chemo for a few days running and then take a few days to weeks in between. Again, it will depend on whether you’re doing oral or IV. (IV is the more intense, more powerful type and used for more difficult or advanced cancers).

      Perhaps the real thing you want to start getting your head around – the goal in cats is to get cancer into remission – not cure it. If you’re VERY lucky, you’ll add a couple years to their lives.

      At the very least, prednisolone for palliative care.

      for us, Leukeran (Chlorambucil) had been a top notch drug. Our cat has gained weight on it and is happy and attentive. I would never hesitate to give chemo to cats after this experience.

      Reply
    • Jamie S
      September 14, 2016 at 7:25 am (4 months ago)

      Just reading this brings in so many emotions! Thank you so much for helping this little one. They all deserve a chance. I found that chemo in animals is not nearly as stressful as it is with people. They tend to tolerate it much better. With Munch, we had a little bit of vomiting 3-4 days after chemo, but that was once and she was done. She would get a little tired right after coming home from chemo, bit was back to her antics in no time. I think the hardest thing to get used to was her increased appetite. It didn’t matter what it was, she needed to always be eating. Sometimes up to 3 cans of food a day. Good quality food is so important as most carbs fuel cancer cells. I wish you all the best with the little Angel. Thank you again for helping her. The rewards so outweigh the stresses of it.

      Reply
    • Jo
      September 14, 2016 at 9:12 am (4 months ago)

      You are a kind, generous soul… best of luck to you. Cats need people like you. I find it hard enough caring for one cancer kitty plus my other two; I hope you have good help and resources along the way.

      Reply
    • Kelly
      September 14, 2016 at 11:21 am (4 months ago)

      I posted back in June about my fur baby Duke who had been diagnosed with Hemangiosarcoma, a blood cell cancer. Unfortunately, he died on Monday. I rescued him when he was a couple of months old, and he lived an amazing spoiled life with me. When he was diagnosed, I promised him we would fight this disease together. He did an IV chemotherapy every 3 weeks, vitamin B12 shots, I’m Yunity supplement, omega 3 oils, tumeric, ozone therapy, and a new carb free diet. We gave it our best shot, and on Monday, he finally seemed to give me the okay that it was time to let go. Remember, you’re giving this baby all the love and care you can. The results are not determined by you, and you’ve already changed this kitty’s life. Best of luck to you guys. Sending lots of hugs and prayers your way.

      Reply
      • Ingrid
        September 14, 2016 at 4:45 pm (4 months ago)

        I’m so sorry about Duke, Kelly.

        Reply
  10. Jo
    September 7, 2016 at 5:24 pm (5 months ago)

    News flash 30 minutes later… Eloise passed stool, but it was 75% diarrhea / 25% formed. She didn’t go to litter box, but behind door of little sewing room in basement. Earlier this summer, she started having ‘mishaps’ in that same spot. We thought she was annoyed by the other cats in house. Then she was diagnosed w/small cell lymphoma. Her mishap today makes me think she wasn’t feeling well and associated the litter box… so she went for behind the door. I’m just glad she passed stool, but will contact vet tomorrow with this update. This is wearing on me. Anyone remember when all you needed for your cat was a flea collar and a pack of Tender Vittles? (tired sarcasm) oy…

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      September 8, 2016 at 5:37 am (5 months ago)

      I’m glad she passed stool, too, even if it wasn’t quite what you had hoped for, Jo. I know it’s exhausting caring for a cat with cancer!

      Reply
      • Jo
        September 8, 2016 at 9:03 am (5 months ago)

        Thanks, Ingrid. Yes, very exhausting. I’s been 6 weeks since she was diagnosed but I feel like it’s been forever.
        🙁
        I’ll keep it up as long as Eloise is willing … and I appreciate having this site to check for input and advice from others going thru same.

        Reply
  11. Jo
    September 7, 2016 at 4:12 pm (5 months ago)

    It’s me again, about a week since I last commented. My cat, Eloise, on flagyl and prednisone 2xday and chlorambucil every other day for small cell lymphoma… hasn’t had a bowel movement in about 48 hours! Today is Wednesday and my vet’s office is closed. Not sure if I should call this in as an ’emergency’ and see what he has to say or wait until the morning and get an appointment. Other than being quiet, Eloise seems not to be in distress. She ate and nibbled and I gave her some pumpkin and home made chicken broth. No trip to the litter box yet. I’m stressing… comments?

    Reply
    • Kelly
      September 7, 2016 at 5:11 pm (5 months ago)

      The vet told me to use Miralax. I dissolve a 1/4 tsp, and syringe it. Maybe ask the ER vet what they think?

      Reply
      • Jo
        September 8, 2016 at 8:58 am (5 months ago)

        Thanks, Kelly. I have another cat (Maxine) who has obstipation (a few degrees higher than constipation) and she’s on Miralax twice a day mixed in food. My cancer cat, Eloise, is on several meds so I was hoping not to have to throw in another. ugh. She did pass stool later on, so I’ll see what the next 24 hours bring. All my cats hate going to the vet, so hope I don’t have to stress Eloise with an unnecessary trip. 🙁 Thanks for your advice, though. Glad I joined this site.

        Reply
  12. Jo
    August 30, 2016 at 4:35 pm (5 months ago)

    My 11 year old cat, Eloise, has small cell lymphoma and starts her 6th chemo pill, Chlorambucil, tonite. So far, she’s on flagyl – to calm any tummy inflammation – and prednisone 2x day…chemo pill every other day. Blood work done yesterday, 1 month post surgery, so don’t know how long the pill regimen will remain the same. I’m reading conflicting reports on how long I can expect my kitty to be with me… was hoping she’ll see spring flowers one more time, at least. Anyone have similar situation, experience? P.S. I’ve found that putting pills in ‘pill pockets’ and then covering w/canned food seems to work well so far (except for chemo pill; have to give manually, wearing latex gloves).

    Reply
    • dovemck
      August 31, 2016 at 7:38 am (5 months ago)

      Boofy is on a very different chemo regime – It’s a three week cycle, prednisone 5mg every day. Days 1 – 4 she gets two chlorambucil and on day 19 she gets her blood test. We’re going into round 8 this weekend – blood test tomorrow so we’ve been doing this for 6 months now and she is happy, gained weight and looks great. It’s believed that most of the cancer is in remission except the liver.

      Her liver enzymes are still high but we’re trying denocyl – a liver tonic this round, hoping to see some change. After the next three weeks we’ll have to make a decision which will likely include a sedated ultrasound guided liver biopsy to see if there’s cancer there or if the liver is still healing and without cancer. We will then choose whether to continue chlorambucil (probably not), try a different drug (probably) or continue with prednisone and wait for a recurrence (I don’t like the sound of that).

      My original vet told me back in March that Boofy would probably be gone by now and she couldn’t have been more wrong. I have little doubt we will hit the ‘average’ two years survival mark (knock wood) and my current vet is impressed with her rude good health (other than the liver enzymes!)

      So yes, I think you should remain hopeful for spring flowers. My girl is 13 and I’m mentally preparing myself for the fact she’s not likely to reach 17.

      I hope and pray you beat the odds. All the best to you and Eloise.

      Reply
      • Jamie S
        August 31, 2016 at 7:48 am (5 months ago)

        When we were having troubles with Munch and her liver values, our vet asked if we could try something that works well in dogs, it is safe for cats, but only has a 40% (or so) success rate. The injection was L-asparaginase. We also did 4 weeks of vitamin B. Best of luck to you and you baby!

        Reply
        • dovemck
          August 31, 2016 at 8:01 am (5 months ago)

          We’re seeing the vet in the morning so I’ll suggest the L-asparaginase. We’re at the point where a 40% chance of getting something going in that liver of hers sounds pretty darn good. We also did the B-12 for the first few weeks and were able to discontinue. She’s gained 1.4 kg in 6 months – about three pounds. She’s absorbing food alright.

          Reply
    • Jo
      August 31, 2016 at 9:46 am (5 months ago)

      Thank you for your input and insight, dovemck. Eloise’s blood results came back good (white cell count perfect / red cell perfect) so vet said to continue this regime, come back in 3 weeks. I like my vet, he’s not very aggressive, very patient… but he’s not an oncologist vet… ye he did consult with oncology vet where Eloise had her surgery (3 inches of small intestine removed). I always 2nd guess myself – and I have very little patience. ugh…

      Reply
    • Jo
      August 31, 2016 at 9:49 am (5 months ago)

      P.S. all the best to you and Boofy! such a sweet name. 🙂

      Reply
      • Kelly waters
        August 31, 2016 at 9:59 am (5 months ago)

        Don’t give up hope! The surgical team bumped into Duke last week while we were at the vet, and couldn’t believe he was the same cat. (They didn’t expect him to survive surgery). At first, I lived every day like it was his last, and only left the house to go to work. I realized that was no way for either of us to live. The best advice I got was from a fur mom on Instagram who told me, “the best thing you can do for your cat is to take care of yourself.”
        Prayers for your kitty!

        Reply
        • Jo
          August 31, 2016 at 11:17 am (5 months ago)

          Kelly, you are so right…I am taking care of myself, although Eloise comes first (but thank goodness for wine at nite, for me!). I’ve cancelled little trips away because I only trust myself with caring for Eloise, and the vet bills have bloomed. At best, I can enjoy the aforementioned wine, while curled up in front of the TV. Often, Eloise curls up with me, so it’s worth the sacrifice. Thanks for your encouraging words.

          Reply
          • Kelly
            August 31, 2016 at 11:49 am (5 months ago)

            Wine and weekends in with good girlfriends has definitely helped. I’ve cancelled some trips as well, and can completely understand the vet bills. (I call him my million dollar baby) My Mom did have to come babysit while I went on a work trip, and I’m not sure who was more traumatized, my Mom or Duke. (He was being naughty and wouldn’t take his meds). I would encourage you to look into a holistic vet as well. Dukes oncologist wouldn’t recommend any supplements, but recommended a holistic vet. He’s taking I’m Yunity, omega 3’s, and tumeric. I mix it into the BFF gravy pouch.

          • Jo
            August 31, 2016 at 12:21 pm (5 months ago)

            Nearest holistic vet is 40 min. away (own vet is less than 5 min., thankfully). May look into it, tho… thanks for the insight! Hope we can all enjoy a cozy, stress free holiday weekend with our fur babies. (You should invite your mom over for wine, too; she was brave to kitty sit for Duke.) 🙂

  13. Angie
    August 19, 2016 at 9:54 pm (5 months ago)

    Wow great website. Our cat Monet just had surgery for radical mastectomy last Tuesday. We just started our first round of chemo today with Adriamycin and Cytoxan. This is our 2nd round of surgery since May 2015. Out vet felt surgery went well however the BB size pellets located further in the upper armpit were in muscle and could not be all removed. She’s such a sweet and affectionate cat (aren’t they all!), but seems to be getting back to her self. I’m open to any advice for feeding, supplements and advice anyone has. Has anybody used and of the Wellbeing Cancer care supplements?
    Looking forward to hearing from others and prayers to those on the board with cats that are ill. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Dovemck
      August 20, 2016 at 8:09 am (5 months ago)

      All the best to sweet Monet and to you too. Our journey is so different from yours that I can’t offer much more than sympathy and best wishes. My Boofy has small cell lymphoma (GI) and on round 7 Leukeran, doing well but liver enzymes still stupid high. She may have liver cancer but it’s acting atypical. We’re using Denosyl atm which is prescription liver tonic. I too would love to hear how others have done with supplements to support prescribed treatment.

      Reply
    • Kelly Waters
      August 20, 2016 at 2:48 pm (5 months ago)

      My Duke was diagnosed with Hemangioscarcome at the end of June. Hes taking I’m Yunity (turkey tail mushrooms), tumeric (natural inflammation reducer), and omega 3 fish oil. We’ve changed him over to a clean diet, trying to be grain free. (Carbs feed cancer) Hes also doing ozone therapy once a week, except on weeks he does chemo. (Every 3 weeks). I asked his oncologist about trying eastern medicine and she was so hesitant. She sent us to a vet she’s knows who practices eastern medicine. Between the 2 doctors, I feel like there’s no stone we haven’t turned.

      Reply
    • Kelly Waters
      August 20, 2016 at 2:50 pm (5 months ago)

      Also, don’t be surprised if your fur baby starts losing whiskers. My oncologist prepared me for it, but said it’s pretty rare. Duke only has about 5 long ones left, but everyone has reassured me they’ll grown back.

      Reply
    • Angie
      September 22, 2016 at 11:11 pm (4 months ago)

      Wanted to provide a quick update on Monet. 2nd treatment of chemo last week went well. Vet however was concerned she had lost a pound in the last 30 days. Seems cancer can not help when trying to absorb nutrients in food quickly enough. Oncologist prescribed food enhancing meds which we add to food each day. We’ve switched to a higher quality wet food with Pro Plan that she likes. Feeding her up to 2 cans some days and 1 the others depending on her appetite. Also trying fresh chicken and fish and pretty much anything we healthy we can feed her. Back on the internet tonight reviewing other supplements and anyone used Ark Naturals NuPet Cat Antioxidant? I’m interested if anyone is using a combination of supplements that are working. I can relate with many of you. 2nd cat we’d had with cancer and the last one was too late and area untreatable. Between stressed for our kitty, we’re trying to be both optimistic and realistic..some days hard to choose. Overall she’s acting normal other than sleeping a bit more, but still the most affectionate cat I’ve ever had than owned my heart.

      Reply
  14. Jamie S
    July 15, 2016 at 6:40 pm (6 months ago)

    Hi! So glad I found this. Our Munch has been diagnosed with large granular lymphoma. We haven’t been able to find a lot of information on it, and apparently it is rare in cats and is relatively aggressive. We are fortunate to have an animal oncologist about an hour away so we can try to help her beat this. We are fighting so hard for her, and she has been a real trooper through it all. She has been poked and prodded more than anything or anyone should. My husband and I are mentally exhausted waiting for phone calls/lab work and vet appointments. Recently Munch has started losing her fur. Everything I read says she shouldn’t. Is that something to be concerned with? Just wait until her next appointment? These are the things we worry about all day. The good news is, she is relatively young. Only 9 yrs old. She eats so much. I’ve been told that is a good thing. She is rating almost 2 full cans of food a day. We have been giving her earthborn holistic food. And basically anything else she wants. Has anyone else had experience with this form of cancer in cats? We are open to any suggestion to help her through this. We love her so much and can’t imagine life without her.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 16, 2016 at 5:34 am (6 months ago)

      It’s rare that cats lose their fur during chemo, so definitely mention this to your oncologist. My experience with my own cat was that while he didn’t lose his fur, the hair in the areas that were shaved for ultrasounds never grew back (he had intestinal lymphoma and lived for seven months post diagnosis with a chemotherapy protocol of Vincristine and Leukeran.) All my best to you and Munch.

      Reply
    • Wendy K
      August 30, 2016 at 1:53 am (5 months ago)

      Don’t give up! Please feel free to email me. My cat Lily was diagnosed with large grade multicentric lymphoma, also aggressive and rare. She did five months of chemo and was in full remission three months in. Diagnosed in October of 2013, and still cancer free today. She is currently dealing with some kidney issues unrelated to the lymphoma (she is 15 1/2) but we were blessed with three more years when it could have been a guarantee death sentence.

      Reply
      • Jamie S
        August 31, 2016 at 7:57 am (5 months ago)

        I tried to reply to this yesterday, but it never showed up. Thank you for your encouragement. We would have never given up on our Munch. She unfortunately was too smart for her own good. On 8/21 she opened the back door and let herself and one of her fur-sisters out. While it looked like Munch was on her way back to the house, I seen one of the smaller cats. I tried to get her, but munch wandered to our neighbors yard. Their dog was out and it attacked and killed her. There is not a moment that we don’t miss her. She was supposed to have an ultra sound to see if she was in remission. Now we will never know. We love and miss her and can only hope she enjoyed her life with us as much as we enjoyed it with her.

        Reply
        • Wendy Kruger
          August 31, 2016 at 1:18 pm (5 months ago)

          How awful! I am so sorry for your loss. 🙁 I can’t imagine how much you miss her–so sad.

          Reply
        • Ingrid
          August 31, 2016 at 1:22 pm (5 months ago)

          Oh Jamie, I’m so sorry! What a traumatic way to lose her after everything you went through with her. My heart goes out to you.

          Reply
        • Angie
          September 22, 2016 at 11:15 pm (4 months ago)

          My condolences in losing your sweet kitty. I would be heartbroken but she must know truly how much you loved and adored her!

          Reply
      • Jo
        August 31, 2016 at 1:51 pm (5 months ago)

        Jamie, my condolences. How traumatic. poor baby. Please know kitty is safe and happy now and feeling wonderful, even those left behind are devastated. 🙁

        Reply
  15. dovemck
    July 7, 2016 at 8:13 am (7 months ago)

    I haven’t tried any supplements and Boofy is still leaking liver enzymes. We’re on a strong course of clav /antibiotics until the next round of pill chemo. I’m interested to hear what a holistic vet recommends. Please keep us posted on your journey.

    Reply
  16. Adrienne
    July 6, 2016 at 12:48 pm (7 months ago)

    My situation is similar to Kristy’s. Midge had a tumor removed from his lower intestine in May, rebounded fantastically, and had his first four chemo treatments without incident. Took a week off, had a session last week with Vinscristine and totally crashed. He is right now in the hospital on IV fluids. I don’t know whether he has sores in his mouth/ throat but he won’t eat or drink. Lost all the weight he put on in the last month. The vet doesn’t know whether it’s a really bad reaction or whether the lymphoma has returned. So upsetting. I have returned to this board a number of times over the past month, and thank everyone here for the info sharing and support.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 6, 2016 at 4:16 pm (7 months ago)

      I’m so sorry to hear this, Adrienne. All my best to you and Midge!

      Reply
    • dovemck
      July 7, 2016 at 8:09 am (7 months ago)

      Kepping both of you in my thoughts.

      Reply
      • Adrienne
        July 7, 2016 at 1:56 pm (7 months ago)

        Thank you Ingrid & “dove”. Sadly, the vet did bloodwork and Midge’s kidneys have failed. I don’t know whether this was due to the chemo or not. A couple of months ago he had the beginnings of CRF but nothing alarming. We don’t believe he will pull out of this crash, as his body temp is falling. We are on our way shortly to see him over the bridge and out of pain. Again, thanks to all who make this a wonderful resource for us cat lovers. x/ A

        Reply
        • Dovemck
          July 7, 2016 at 8:59 pm (7 months ago)

          Run free Midge, still young and beautiful. Give my love to Nessa who will undoubtedly show you the best sunny spots to nap in shadow of the rainbow bridge.

          Reply
        • Ingrid
          July 8, 2016 at 5:43 am (7 months ago)

          Oh Adrienne, I’m so sorry.

          Reply
  17. Kelly
    July 6, 2016 at 12:40 pm (7 months ago)

    My sweet 11 year old tabby, Duke, was diagnosed with Hemangiosarcoma last Wednesday. He was fine, and then one day started hiding and couldn’t walk. After 2 consecutive days at the pet ER, the doctors found a mass in his colon. We had it removed on the 24th, which is when the doctors found out the mass had been bleeding. Duke had a blood transfusion the next night. (This was super scary, because he’s a rare blood type and no one in Sacramento had his blood. Thank God for blood banks.) He has been recovering at home ever since. He was a little tired at first, but he has his appetite back, and is using the bathroom just fine. Tomorrow, we start chemotherapy, and I’m very torn about the decision I’ve made. There’s not a lot of research or information on felines with Hemangiosarcoma, so Duke’s oncologist is reluctant to try out any type of supplements. I’ve gone ahead and made an appointment with a holistic vet, which was recommended to me by a fellow cat Mom, I found on instagram, going through the same thing. The more information I can get on this cancer would be greatly appreciated.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 6, 2016 at 4:16 pm (7 months ago)

      I’m sorry about Duke, Kelly. All my best to both of you, and please keep us posted.

      Reply
      • Kelly
        July 9, 2016 at 1:30 pm (7 months ago)

        Duke had his first round of doxorubicin chemotherapy last week, and he handled it like a champ. The new ultrasound showed thickening of intestines, which could be inflammatory bowel disease or swelling from his surgery. The Oncologist has recommended a different Integrative Medicine specialist. I have a consultation with the doctor on Wednesday. I believe they’re going to try acupuncture and ozone therapy. I will keep everyone posted.

        Reply

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