Mammary Cancer in Cats

mammary_cancer_in_cats

An estimated 30 percent to 40 percent of all cats will be affected by cancer. Mammary (breast) cancer is the third most common cancer in cats, after lymphoma and skin cancer. More than 90% of the victims are female cats older than 10 years of age. Early detection of this type of cancer is critical and greatly improves chances of survival for affected cats.

Symptoms

Mammary tumors often appear as small, hard lumps the size of a pebble or pea. They may be moveable, or may be firmly attached to the skin or underlying muscle. The most common locations for these tumors are the first front sets of mammary glands, but they can occur anywhere near the cat’s nipples. In its initial stage, the tumor may be hard to feel, it’s not painful, and there won’t be any obvious clinical signs. It can be months before a growth is noticed.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis is obtained by surgically removing the growth, along with some surrounding tissue, and submitting it to a pathologist for a biopsy. This will determine whether the tumor is benign or malignant. Chest x-rays and chest and abdominal ultrasound will help determine whether the mammary mass has spread to lymph nodes and/or otherย organs.

Treatmentย 

The first step is surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible, as well as the entire chain of mammary glands on the side that the growth was found. If both sides were involved, both sides will need to be removed. Aggressive surgery is a cat’s best chance for longer term survival;ย survival times may beย 1 year in about 50% of cats and 2 years in 32% of cats. If lymph nodes are affected at the time of surgery, survival time may be reduced. If the tumor is in an advanced stage at the time of surgery, a less aggressive surgery of a more palliative nature may be more appropriate to remove the infection of an external tumor and make the cat more comfortable.

If the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes or other organs, chemotherapy may be an option. Depending on how advanced the cancer is, chemotherapy results may range from a survival time of several months to complete remission (no detectable tumors, at least temporarily).

Prognosis

While initial treatment may be successful in cats when the tumor is caught at an early stage, the longterm prognosis is generally guarded. Up to 65% of tumors will recur within less than a year, and unfortunately, most cats survive less than a year following diagnosis. Cats whose tumors are caught early generally live 2 to 3 years following diagnosis.

Prevention

While mammary cancer in cats is not completely preventable, there is evidence that early spaying (before a cat comes into her first heat) can reduce the risk. Regular veterinary exams are important. Additionally, cat guardians can play an important role in early detection of this disease by regularly palpating a cat’s chest and belly, especially around the mammary area.

Photo by psyberartist, Flickr Creative Commons

72 Comments on Mammary Cancer in Cats

  1. Terrie Jeschke
    January 31, 2018 at 7:28 am (2 years ago)

    I am dreading today. A young mother feral cat showed up on my doorstep with kitten in tow last February. Over the next several months we had them both vetted and took them into our home. The kitten was adopted by a wonderful family. I already had 3 rescue cats but adult cats are hard to adopt out so we kept the mother. Pip is now a much beloved part of our family. The kitten had shown a particular desire to use one particular nipple on Pip. Three weeks after the spay the nipple was a bit swollen – very soft and pliable. I was terrified and took Pip to the vet. The vet examined it and saw no signs of malignancy and reassured me not to worry. She said we could have it off but wanted to wait until Pip was full recovered from her spay. You see Pip was pregnant and we almost lost her. She also had very serious dental disease because she had so many litters in the past and poor nutrition. She had a massive amount of dental surgery concurrent with the spay. Please don’t judge me on this spay while pregnant; the feeling was that she was unlikely to be able to carry the kittens to term. Also our County shelters and pet rescue organizations are overrun with kittens right now and finding a home for one kitten had taken me over two months. Anyhow, before I could schedule the surgery, the swelling went down to normal. However it has returned. There are no hard components – it is more like a little water sac but I am taking her in today to have it checked again and schedule surgery if they recommend it. Like any pet parent I have spent hours on the internet reading everything I can find. It is so strange. I had a scare with a possible ovarian cancer for myself years ago and I don’t remember being so immobilized. It turned out benign. But today is wrecking me. How do you all do it? You have all faced that dire diagnosis and still seem to be able to hang on somehow. You have my utmost admiration.

    Reply
    • Maria
      January 31, 2018 at 1:14 pm (2 years ago)

      I did lose my girl on Christmas Eve morning to mammary cancer, I am devastated. She was only 11, and was a very special girl. I cry everyday.
      My heart goes out to you Terrie. I understand researching the internet for answers. I did the same… Keep an eye on your girl and give her all the love you can.
      You are doing all you can, no one else would have taken her in.
      I am very proud of you as I am sure others are as well.
      My prayers are with you and Pip.

      Reply
    • Sherri
      January 31, 2018 at 2:16 pm (2 years ago)

      I know it’s hard to do but try not to panic until you see the vet. My kitty Skeeter Bug popped up with a mammary tumor the size of a pencil eraser a year and half ago. She has long, thick fur so I didn’t notice it right away. I too started reading on the internet while waiting for our vet appt. so I also went straight to panic mode reading about mammary cancers in cats and how most tumors in that area are cancer, the outlook for that diagnosis is so bleak. BUT there are other things it can be so try not to stress to much before you see the vet. When my vet saw my cat he was quite concerned that her lump was cancer. He did surgery the very next day and sent it off to the lab. It came back as a fatty tumor. Yes, we lucked out but it just goes to show that it’s not always worst case scenario. So hang in there and good luck to you and your kitty!

      Reply
  2. Maria
    November 29, 2017 at 5:17 pm (2 years ago)

    My heart breaks for all the stories i have read about your beloved babies.
    My baby girl Nelly of 11 years old was diagnosed with breast cancer in January of this year 2017. The first tumor was removed successfully. then another one showed up in a lymph node in June (4 months later), this was removed also.
    The surgeries and vet visits have been very very stressful for her and very hard on me to watch her stress out so badly. The drugs used during the surgeries also affected her whole demeanor.
    Lately, she started coughing a bit, not eating well, sleeping a lot – not playing at all – which she use to love…
    Tomorrow I’m taking her to the vet – maybe it’s a bad tooth I pray, always grasping at straws I guess…
    I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but my heart is broken and I have to help my little princess, whether it’s letting her go or whatever the vet suggests.
    I hate taking her to the vet since she gets so upset.
    I pray for all of us, I know we will see our babies again in heaven, that’s where they came from anyway.

    Reply
    • jlynn
      November 30, 2017 at 11:45 am (2 years ago)

      Where I live some vets do home visits. You might be able to find one in your area. I am sorry for what you and your baby are going through. We have all been there on this post.

      Reply
  3. DENNIS MORAN
    June 2, 2017 at 12:54 pm (3 years ago)

    I ORDERED SOMETHING LIKE THAT IT WAS DROPS YOU PUT ON THE FOOD. DID NOT DO ANYTHING

    Reply
  4. Sophie
    June 1, 2017 at 5:03 am (3 years ago)

    Hi everyone,

    I found out a week ago that My 13 year old cat, Honey has mammary cancer, found by accident when she was having her annual check up, she was booked in yesterday to have the first of two ops to remove her mammary strips as there were carcinomas found in both strips. Unfortunately before the op yesterday during a scan the vet found that it has already spread to a lymph node, so the operation did not go ahead. it hasn’t yet gone to the lungs and the vet obviously couldn’t really give me a prognosis for her as we’ve no idea how aggressive it is. He has suggested I take her back in 4 weeks for another scan to measure the lymph agian so that we can get some idea of what we’re dealing with, but I’m not sure I will as its not going to change the outcome. I’m heartbroken and in shock still I think. But I guess I’m here to ask you all whether you’ve had a similar situation with it spreading to a lymph node and the speed in which is makes your cat poorly and basically, I guess how long I can expect to have left with her.

    Thanks

    Sophie

    Reply
    • DENNIS MORAN
      June 1, 2017 at 10:24 am (3 years ago)

      I AM SO SORRY YOUR CAT RECEIVED THAT DIAGNOSIS. IT IS NOT GOOD. THIS IS A VERY AGGRESSIVE CANCER. MY 13 YEAR OLD BABY GIRL WAS DIAGNOSED WITH MAMMARY CANCER JULY LAST YEAR. IT WAS ON THE 3RD NIPPLE ON ONE SIDE. WE THOUGHT WE GOT IT EARLY. BUT IT HAD ALREADY SPREAD TO THE LYMPH NODES. WE DID HER FIRST BILATERAL MASTECTOMY THE NEXT DAY. FOLLOWED UP WITH 5 ROUNDS OF CHEMO . BEFORE AND AFTER HER SECOND BILATERAL. WE THOUGHT WE HAD THIS BEAT. RIGHT AFTER HER LAST CHEMO TREATMENT SHE STARTED LABORED BREATHING. WE I TOOK HER BACK TO THE VET. THEY SAID THE CANCER HAD SPREAD TO HER LUNGS. SHE DIED DEC 24. AND BROKE MY HEART. CHEMO DOES WORK IN A SMALL PERCENTAGE OF CASES I READ. SO I TRIED EVERYTHING. THE PROGNOSIS I BELIEVE IS AT BEST 6 MONTHS. YOU MIGHT ONLY GET THREE. IT HAPPENS VERY FAST. SHE WE BE THE NORMAL CAT ONE DAY. THEN SHE WILL JUST STOP AND REST ALL THE TIME. HER BREATHING WILL BE HARDER AND HARDER. SHE WILL ONLY GET UP TO EAT AND USE THE LITTER BOX. THAT IS THE TIME YOU NEED TO MAKE THAT DECISION. SADLY I WAITED A LITTLE TOO LONG. MIGHT HAVE BEEN MY SELFISHNESS. OR NOT WANTING TO LET GO. I WAS GOING TO TAKE HER THAT AFTERNOON. BUT SHE DIED OF A HEART ATTACK THAT MORNING. I AM SO SORRY. READ UP MORE ON THE INTERNET. THE CHEMO IS NOT CHEAP ABOUT 5 THOUSAND BUT DOES NOT HAVE ANY SIDE AFFECTS LIKE IN HUMANS. MIGHT BE WORTH THE CHANCE. SHOW HERE MORE LOVE. SPOIL HER .PLAY WITH HER . HOLD HER. SHOW HER HOW MUCH YOU LOVE HER. MAKE THE DECISION WHEN SHE WILL NOT PLAY AN MORE. AND GOOD LUCK. I WILL PRAY FOR THE BEST RESULTS. DENNIS

      Reply
    • Jlynn
      June 1, 2017 at 4:26 pm (3 years ago)

      Hi Sophie,
      My cat had surgery last August, both sides at once. After I had the surgery done I believe I chose the wrong vet. She spent days in the emergency care, he went on vacation the next day, and left three staples in her which I didn’t know about until recently. I don’t believe the vet even removed everything he was supposed to. Sadly I just lost her on Memorial Day, yes, this Monday. She had another growth in her “armpit” and I took her to another (better) vet to see what to do. Unfortunately she deteriorated quickly after I took her in and I had no hard choice to make because she died at home before we could take any more measures. I did not do chemo with her. From what I have read it sounds like every situation is different. I prayed to keep mine. I prayed for her healing. It would have been a true miracle and I wish God would have let me keep her, but he didn’t. I told her if she had to go “home” then to go right in and find all my pets and family to take care of her. There are also pet psychics online who do consults over the phone if you think that would help you. I considered calling one the other day if I couldn’t cope with the loss but I decided that she is happy, healthy, and loved in heaven and that she can visit us whenever she wants.

      Reply
      • DENNIS
        June 1, 2017 at 4:34 pm (3 years ago)

        JLYNN SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS. I ADOPTED A SENOUR CAT AFTER MY CAT PASSED. AND SHE IS HAPPY . I AM CONTENT AS I CAN BE CONSIDERING IT ONLY BE 5 MONTHS SINCE MY BLONDE DIED. THERE IS ALWAYS ANOTHER CAT IN NEED.

        Reply
        • Sophie
          June 2, 2017 at 5:54 am (3 years ago)

          Hi, thank you to both of you for coming back to me, I’m so sorry to hear about your furr babies.
          I’ve ordered honey some life gold cancer support and essiac tea as I’ve been reading good things, did either of you try anything like that? I’ve also been reading up about cbd oil.

          Reply
          • Jlynn
            June 2, 2017 at 6:08 pm (3 years ago)

            No I never tried any of that. I only recently saw them online.

  5. Nordlys
    December 16, 2016 at 6:22 pm (3 years ago)

    It seems worst than VAS, surely in my cat it will be. My cat survived to VAS for 7 years, and now it seems she has breast cancher. The lump is less than one centimenter, but from what I read, size doesn’t count.

    Reply
    • dennis moran
      December 17, 2016 at 11:23 am (3 years ago)

      SIZE DOES COUNT .THE LARGER IT IS THE LIKLYHOOD OF METASTASIS. MY CAT WAS LESS THAN 2 CEN. SHE HAD A LATERAL MASTECTOMY ON BOOTH SIDES. AND 5 ROUNDS OF CHEMO . AND CATS TOLERATE CHEMO VERY WELL. NOT LIK HUMANS. BUT IT STILL WENT TO HER LUNGS. I WILL HAVE TO BUT TO SLEEP, MY BEAUTIFUL LITTLE GIRL, THIS WEEK. BUT I DID HAVE FIVE MONTHS WITH HER AFTER HER DIAGNOSIS. WHERE I MIGHT HAVE ONLY HAD THREE, IF I DID NOTHING THE CANCER WAS JUST TOO AGGRESSIVE. SO SAD. SUCH A BEAUTIFUL CAT.

      Reply
      • Ingrid
        December 18, 2016 at 10:35 am (3 years ago)

        I’m so sorry, Dennis.

        Reply
  6. dennis moran
    December 2, 2016 at 12:29 pm (3 years ago)

    SORRY FOR YOUR CAT. BUT TIME IS OF CRITICAL. DO NOT DELAY FOR TAKING CHEMO. ALSO THEY SAY THE BEST ODDS FOR NOT REOCCURING ON THE CHEAST,ARE WITH A LATERAL MASTECTOMY ON BOTH SIDES ONE AT A TIME. BUT START CHEMO IN BETWEEN. EVEN WITH ALL THAT, THEY SAY THE ODDS ARE AT BEST 50 %. GOOD LUCK.

    Reply
  7. dennis moran
    December 1, 2016 at 9:57 am (3 years ago)

    My sweet baby blonde,12 years old,who i rescued from the street at 6 months old, had been diagnosed with mamary cancer in aug. 2016. it was on one glad and less than two centermeters. it did however spread to her lymth nodes. she had two operations to remove all of her mamary glads. and 5 treatments of chemo. She tolorated everthig very well. I was optomistic. Yesterday she was not feeling good. Instead of staying with in the morning after saying hello and interacting with my three other cats. She went to her favorite spot by the radiator. So I took her to the vet. Sadly her cancer had aggressively spread to her lungs. It really hit me like a ton of bricks. I had done everything possible. i really though she would get past this. Her prognosis now is one to three weeks before Ihave to put her down. i have put down six cats in my lifetime. But she has been my favorite. It is with such a heavy heart that I write this. I know she had a great life. But it was too short. Life sucks. I will really miss her. In her memory . As I am getting older. and do not want my cats to outlive me. I will take in a senior cat . hopefully she will have a good life. For all my babies…… gandor,blackie,bungee,midnight,sam,diesal,and blondie.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      December 1, 2016 at 10:12 am (3 years ago)

      I’m so sorry, Dennis. And bless you for already thinking about adopting a senior cat in her memory.

      Reply
    • Jennifer
      December 1, 2016 at 10:23 am (3 years ago)

      Oh Dennis, I’m am so so sorry. I have been in this group and have found much support. I haven’t updated about my sweet Asia as the words are hard to write. My sweet cat also had two surgeries to remove lumps found on her breasts. She recovered well from both. I had her since she was 2 weeks old and sadly at the age of 17, on November 17th Asia was having trouble breathing. A visit to her awesome vet, showed the cancer spread to her lungs as well. We had to put her down that night. It’s been 2 weeks and still rough. Trying to keep busy and allow myself to grieve. Dennis please don’t hesitate to reach out. This is a rough time and I know exactly how you’re feeling. Hearing others stories helps and having this group support throughout everything I went though was great for me personally.
      My thoughts are with you Dennis.

      Reply
      • Jlynn
        December 2, 2016 at 1:46 am (3 years ago)

        Hi Jennifer,

        I am so sorry that you lost Asia. I picture all of my pets together in heaven with my dad and aunt watching over them. I know they all know how much I loved them and they have each other. In particular I lost a duck who was in poor health after being crippled and abandoned by horrid neighbor children but when I picture her now I see her healthy and whole, she stands tall and flaps were wings. I feel like she is telling me that she is healthy now and getting the life she was deprived of on earth. Maybe it is crazy but I really see her like that every time I think of her and I think that is what she is telling me. I am sure Asia is with your other pets and loved ones. She knows how you loved her, and how you love her still.

        Reply
        • dennis moran
          December 2, 2016 at 12:02 pm (3 years ago)

          I THANK EVERYONE FOR THIER THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS. IT WAS GREAT COMFORT TO ME. TO MY BLONDIE CATS COME INTO OUR LIFE FOR A SHORT TIME. THEY ARE OUR COMPANION THROUGHOUT THE DAY. THEY TOUCH US WITH THIER HEADBUMPS, POUNCINGAND CAREFREE PLAY. THEY COMFORT US WITH THIER PURRING AND UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. WHEN THEY ARE GONE, HOW EVER BRIEF THIER STAY. THEY LEAVE US A LIFETIME OF CHERISHED MEMORIES. LET YOUR GRIEF BE AT EASE, AND LET YOUR HEART KNOW. YOU HAVE GIVEN THEM A FULL AND HAPPY LIFE. AND THEY WILL BE THE WAITING TO GREET YOU, WHEN GOD CALLS YOU. GOD MUST HAVE NOT HAD ENOUGH CATS IN HEAVEN. SO HE CALLED MY BABY GIRL……

          Reply
          • Jennifer
            December 2, 2016 at 12:11 pm (3 years ago)

            A friend sent this to me when Asia passed and even though it made me tear up, it was helpful and somewhat comforting to me. I hope it does the same for all of you who have lost a sweet pet.

            http://rainbowsbridge.com/Poem.htm

    • Jlynn
      December 2, 2016 at 1:32 am (3 years ago)

      I am sorry for what you are going through as well. I have posted here also, and I find it painful to rehash what we (me and my pet) have been through. I had doubts about my vet and after the operation I felt even more that I had picked the wrong place for her surgery. He didn’t want to do a referral for chemo and took vacation the day after he did the surgery but didn’t tell me until he did the surgery. I have since started a new job so that I can pay for a better vet. I will pray for you and Blondie.

      Reply
  8. JennaLovesHerCat
    March 15, 2016 at 11:33 pm (4 years ago)

    I know this is an old post but hopefully someone will see this. I found a lump on my precious cat that found me at the worst time of my life. She literally came meowing to my door. She has been my best friend for more than 10 years now. Well yesterday we had the lump checked and they found two right next to each other. Surgery that I really can’t afford is scheduled for next Wednesday. I’m scared and I feel horrible for my baby. She is still acting exactly the same so that’s good but it’s still making me sick with worry. I won’t be able to afford chemo as I’m disabled and this surgery is already really stretching it but I will certainly try to give her the best life I can. I’m worried about what it will be like after her surgery. Would love someone to talk to.

    Reply
    • Jennifer
      June 13, 2016 at 6:20 pm (4 years ago)

      Hi! I know how you feel. I’ve had my sweet girl since she was 2 weeks old. She is now 17 years old! Last November I found a lump. We had surgery and removed the entire side of that mammary gland. It was a tough recovery and heart breaking to watch her as she healed with awful stitches and a shaved body. She recovered quite quickly. Today I sadly noticed and felt a lump on her other breast. I go into the vet tomorrow but can also self diagnosis her from remarried g the last one. I’m afraid that she will have to have her other side removed. She is 17 but in great health in all other aspects. I wish you the best and hope your cat is doing well.
      Jennifer

      Reply
      • Ingrid
        June 14, 2016 at 5:43 am (4 years ago)

        All my best to you and your kitty, Jennifer.

        Reply
    • Jlynn
      August 10, 2016 at 12:29 am (3 years ago)

      Anyone here have a good (long) outcome after surgery? Jenna I am in the place you were in 5 months ago. Did things come out OK for you and your baby? Is the surgery recovery much worse than a spay?

      Reply
      • Jennifer
        August 10, 2016 at 9:31 am (3 years ago)

        Hi!
        My sweet Asia as previously mentioned had mammory cancer November 2015. She had her entire right side removed. The recovery was tough as giving her medicine was no the easiest. After 2.5 weeks she was back to normal. Back in April 2016 I unfortunately felt a lump on the other set of mammory glands. I immediately called the vet and brought her in the next day. Sure enough it was cancer again. We set up s surgery appointment and I was distraught and nervous as I thought this surgery would be a tougher recovery. After her surgery, I picked her up and she was so sad looking. It seemed like this was a tougher one for her. Let me also mention she’s 17 years old. After the first restless night of sleeping with her on the sofa the next day she seemed to improve before my eyes. By the end of the week she acted normal even though I could see her scar healing and fur growing back her mood was much better. She has to go in for a an X-ray just to check on to make sure nothing spread. We caught both lumps when they were small. I recommend to anyone if able to not think too long of getting surgery or not. The lumps can grow quite rapidly and if taken out as quickly as possible can be for the best. I’m hoping for a clear x-Ray. She has no mammories left so if cancer is present in her body then nothing else can be done as the vet said. I’m hopeful for a clear x-Ray and will keep everyone updated. I just wanted to share my positive story this far in hopes that others will not contemplate surgery too long. I know it’s scary and a little pricey but was the best for my little one. Thanks for reading!

        Reply
        • Jennifer
          August 10, 2016 at 9:35 am (3 years ago)

          Please let me know if you have more questions. Also it’s a little worse than a spay as far as recovery but the unsightly scar and her shaved fur probably made me more upset than her Keep me updated on your kitty and what u decide to do! Best of luck!

          Reply
          • Jlynn
            August 10, 2016 at 10:20 am (3 years ago)

            Hi Jennifer,
            Thank you for the encouragement. She is scheduled for surgery on Tuesday. I am already crying today. Every vet visit pretty much makes me hysterical so this is even more so. I feel like taking my pets and moving to some type of support community for pet parents. I am an emotional mess, but thank you so much for your encouraging story.

          • Jennifer
            August 10, 2016 at 10:48 am (3 years ago)

            Jlynn,
            No problem! Keep me updated! I’m here to chat with anytime. It’s rough but it’s the best for your kitty!!! I look at my cat now and it’s like nothing even happened to her. They are so resilent and tough!! Best of luck and I’ll be sending good vibes your way!!!!
            Jennifer

          • Jlynn
            August 10, 2016 at 11:16 am (3 years ago)

            Thank you again. I appreciate the support. I have a lot of self talk to do to keep myself calm. Every time I look at her little face I think of how innocent and wonderful she is. I hate that she has to go through this. I know what you said is true, that she needs this surgery now. It is just so frightening. I will keep you updated. No doubt I will be freaking out for a while.

          • Ingrid
            August 10, 2016 at 5:08 pm (3 years ago)

            All my best to you and your kitty, Jlynn. Please let us know how she’s doing!

          • Jlynn
            August 10, 2016 at 11:12 pm (3 years ago)

            Thank you Ingrid for your concern and support. I appreciate everyone reaching out to us to offer kind words. I am the hysterical type pet parent and I have to do a lot of self talk to calm myself. It helps me to know that other people have been where we are.

          • Jennifer
            August 16, 2016 at 10:02 am (3 years ago)

            Hi Jlynn! I’m thinking of you and your sweet kitty today! Best of luck and your cat will do great!! Let me know if you need to chat!
            Jennifer

          • Jlynn
            August 16, 2016 at 11:08 am (3 years ago)

            Thank you for your support Jennifer. I am a mess of course but she had discharge this morning from one nipple and so I know that she needed to have this operation ASAP.

          • Jennifer
            August 16, 2016 at 4:51 pm (3 years ago)

            Oh my! So glad she’s getting the help! Keep me updated!

          • Jennifer
            August 18, 2016 at 8:52 pm (3 years ago)

            Hey Jlynn! How’s your sweet cat recovering???

            Jennifer

          • Jlynn
            August 18, 2016 at 11:22 pm (3 years ago)

            Hi Jennifer,
            Thanks for asking. She has been at the emergency vet for the last two nights. She came home today. Now I have to worry about keeping her from licking, and watching her eating and drinking with the collar on. I have the soft collar but I don’t know if she can eat or drink in it.

          • Jennifer
            August 19, 2016 at 9:28 am (3 years ago)

            Oh, that’s interesting that they put a collar on right away. My vet recommended it if she was to excessively lick her wounds. I’m sure it’s different everywhere though. My cat Asia did in fact lick her wounds and a portion became raw, but I just tried to stop her every time I saw her licking. A small portion healed a little more slowly but she did ok. No infection. On her first surgery she ended up getting sick as their immune system is down so just FYI when you pet her washing your hands etc. might be a good idea. It was just something I never thought about happening until it did. She got a small sore on her ear while sick but it went away quickly. Not saying this will happen but wanted to share with you. ๐Ÿ™‚ glad she’s coming back home to you! Keep me updated! After Asia’s 2 surgeries I’m not an expert but learned a lot and probably could of saved some money if I knew some of these things rather than rushing her to the vet for every little thing at $200 plus a visit. Lol
            Keep me updated and let me know if I can assist in any way!! ๐Ÿ™‚

          • Jlynn
            August 19, 2016 at 10:50 am (3 years ago)

            Hi Jennifer,

            You have already helped. They didn’t put this collar on her. They recommended to put one on and I already had one ordered and ready at home, the soft one. I saw her lick a few times and I got very paranoid so I put it on. I am already pretty much a hand washer too because I used to work in daycare (currently unemployed). You get used to washing your hands constantly. The one thing is now she is only eating canned food. I haven’t been able to get her to take water from a bowl. Any suggestions?

            Jlynn

          • Jennifer
            August 19, 2016 at 11:48 am (3 years ago)

            Oh yes, I was a nanny for a while now so u first and the hand washing! I am a freelance interior designer/kickboxing trainer now little different ๐Ÿ˜‰ lol
            That’s great she’s eating canned food. The canned food has water in it so it’s ok she’s not drinking too much water as long as she’s doing the can food. My cat is stubborn and will only eat a specific brand aka expensive brand but I learned that cats don’t drink lots of water anyway and the older they get the more they need so can cat food substitutes the lack of drinking h2o. kidneys tend to be one of the first things to take an older kitty so canned food is great which is why I don’t mind spending money on it I guess ๐Ÿ™‚ hope that makes sense
            Keep me updated and have a great Friday!

          • Ingrid
            August 20, 2016 at 5:54 am (3 years ago)

            It’s actually a good thing that she’s only eating canned food – it’s much healthier for her! Cats should never eat dry food. As Jennifer said, she’ll probably get enough moisture from the food, but you can try adding water to her canned food to increase her moisture intake even more.

          • Jennifer
            September 10, 2016 at 11:08 am (3 years ago)

            Hi Jlynn and Sherri! How is everyone’s kitties doing? An update on my Asia, her first surgery for cancer removal was last November 2015 so it will be coming up on a year since then which is great considering all the stories you may hear. Asia was feeling a little sick and not eating so we took her to the vet, I was nervous as I thought this lucky streak was running out, but thankfully with a b-12 shot and some cream to increase her appetite, she is eating again. We had an x-ray done to check for cancer in her little body and there wasn’t any present. I asked the vet, why she wasn’t eating and he said that most cats don’t live as long as Asia has and their bodies don’t understand and sometimes things happen. Luckily, she is doing quite well at 17 with a few set backs but we are hanging in there! I would love to hear how you are all doing as well as your kitties. Happy Saturday!
            Jennifer

          • Sherri
            September 10, 2016 at 1:07 pm (3 years ago)

            Hi Jennifer, good to hear that Asia is doing pretty well. I and my mother have both had several cats live into their late teens and even early 20’s so sending good vibes that your kitty just keeps on going and has beat her cancer diagnosis! Sorry I haven’t updated, it’s been a crazy week. Skeeter Bug had her surgery a week ago Wed. and things are finally getting back to normal. They sent her home with a cone on which completely freaked her out. She is so timid and skittish and that just put her over the top. Resorted to a baby onesie that did the job, at least she was able to relax, eat and rest. Though even without the baby outfit she has not bothered her stitches which come out next week. Finally got the pathology report back just a couple days ago. We totally lucked out, her mass was only a lipoma! I had really prepared myself to hear something else, such a relief! My vet had been pretty sure it would be a malignancy as well considering the location.

          • Jennifer
            September 10, 2016 at 1:38 pm (3 years ago)

            Hi Sherri,
            Thanks for the good vibes! I’m so happy to hear your kitty is recovering so well. The onesie was a great idea! Keep me updated!!! Have a great weekend!
            Jennifer

          • Sherri
            August 30, 2016 at 10:05 pm (3 years ago)

            Jlynn and Jennifer, how are your kitties doing? I am new here, my 6 year old kitty Skeeter Bug was seen Monday for a pea sized mammary lump and will have surgery tomorrow. I am holding out hope for a good path report but I know the odds are not in our favor. So upset, she’s my baby cat. Can’t seem to find many, or any, reports of long term survival even with early detection.

          • Jlynn
            August 31, 2016 at 10:38 am (3 years ago)

            Hi Sherri,

            My cat still has some staples in. Her pathology was very vague and what seemed to be generalized to me. My vet didn’t do a very good job of explaining it either. He is not wanting to refer me to an oncologist but I found out from their office that I don’t need a referral. My vet seems to want to do a wait and see approach without much explanation other than citing how he thinks she is older than what I think. Last night she threw up so now I am panicking as to why. Under most circumstances a cat throwing up wouldn’t be that uncommon but now I am thinking if it means something bad. I just keep praying that God will heal her and nothing comes back. I guess it is like with people and every situation is different and it can happen to anyone, young or old.
            I will keep you and your cat in my prayers.

          • Sherri
            August 31, 2016 at 12:21 pm (3 years ago)

            Jlynn, prayers for your kitty as well! I know exactly how it feels to watch and analyze every little odd thing they do and wonder if it means something! I hope you get some answers for your kitty.

            Jennifer, I did not even think to ask my vet about wound closure so I guess I’ll find out when I pick her up this evening. In the past he’s done sutures on smaller incisions and only done staples on larger ones, like when my dog had a big lipoma removed.

          • Jennifer
            August 31, 2016 at 10:53 am (3 years ago)

            Hi Sherri!!!
            My cat Asia has had 2 surgeries which were caught early on. She’s actually been doing well. She’s 17 and doesn’t act like it at all! ๐Ÿ™‚ she’s started cutting back on eating her wet food so we took her into the vet. They ran a few blood tests and they all turned out normal. The vet said she’s just being picky so we are trying new foods. Early detection is key. I think that we don’t hear about long survival stories because like they say no news is good news. I think people tend to share bad news just to have support so don’t get your hopes down as you scan the web for good stories. I bet there is more than we think! Asia has been through this surgery twice already so let me know if you have any questions or concerns, I would love to help in any way. Good luck to you and your kitty!

          • Jlynn
            August 31, 2016 at 11:02 am (3 years ago)

            Hi Jennifer,

            Maybe we already talked about this but I don’t remember, but did your vet and you ever discuss chemo or did you decide against it?

          • Jennifer
            August 31, 2016 at 11:32 am (3 years ago)

            Hi, Sherri! My vet did bring up chemo but he said that more times than not, it doesn’t do anything but make the cat more sick as it is hard on them with the medicine. My cat is older as it is, so I decided against it. I personally would rather them remove it and her be in a little pain for recovery than watch her go through chemo. My vet is great and he is straight to the point with things for her and said that he didn’t recommend chemo for her but had to bring it up as her vet for us to decide. That was just my experience. I think since your cat is only 6 years old, she would recover from surgery well but I am not a vet of course. My 17 year old cat has recovered well from each surgery thankfully and both of her tumors were caught super early as well. ๐Ÿ™‚ Let me know if you have any other questions and I hope that makes sense. I know this is tough to go through. I have had my cat since she was 2 weeks old in which i nursed her back to health then and ever since she has been my baby, even at 17 years old. ๐Ÿ™‚

          • Sherri
            August 31, 2016 at 11:48 am (3 years ago)

            Thank you so much for you comments, it definitely helps to talk to other people who have been through this. My cat is in surgery as we speak to remove the lump. This all came about so quickly I am still in horrified/panic mode, waiting for the pathology report is the worst!

          • Jennifer
            August 31, 2016 at 12:01 pm (3 years ago)

            Anytime!! Keep us updated on your baby!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ I will be thinking of you all!

          • Jennifer
            August 31, 2016 at 11:45 am (3 years ago)

            Jlynn,
            I am sorry your vet is being very vague and I am actually a little surprised to hear they used staples in your cat as the recovery is a little longer. Sherri do you know exactly what your vet does as far as closure of the wound? I would ask. My vet actually did stitches and did it from the inside, I am sure it is different for all cats though. Just curious. Jlynn is your cat still eating well with her can food and acting normal? I know Asia sometimes ate a lot and threw up while recovering. I learned that cats stomachs are actually only able to hold like 15-20 kibbles of food! So when they gorge themselves they throw up as they’re stomach is full and they don’t realize it. If she is acting normal and eating normal, I wouldn’t look too much into it unless she is constantly throwing up then either the medicine if she is on any is messing with her sensitive stomach or it could of course be something else. This is all just my opinion and thoughts from research i have done over the years and of course my vet as he explains a lot to me in ways I can understand. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Cat
    November 1, 2015 at 7:24 pm (4 years ago)

    I had my Syco for 21 years and had to say good bye because he had a tumor in his ear. So we decided to get Lucy Moosey and just this past July was told she has cancer and surgery is out of the question, because it has spread. Currently she is still with us. However, we’ve noticed she now can no longer hear and wasn’t sure if this was part of what to expect. She pee’s in her litter box, but poops outside of it now. (So we have it in a tote) Lucy was a rescue cat and has been with us for about 4/5 years, she was an abused cat in her younger years. I’m please we have given her alot of love and happiness. But can not find too much information regarding steps of this disease.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      November 2, 2015 at 5:59 am (4 years ago)

      I’m so sorry about Lucy Moosey, Cat. Unfortunately, mammary cancer has a very poor prognosis. Your best approach, if you haven’t already done so, will be to consult with a veterinary oncologist. All my best to both of you.

      Reply
    • LiamT
      November 11, 2015 at 11:03 pm (4 years ago)

      Yesterday my pretty normal life and whole world came down all around me as @ around 1-2am I walked past my 14yr old female tourtiise shell cat Holly chillin’ like a Villian! and I never pass either of my two cats without acknowledging them and saying Ello with poss a lil double eye slow blink thrown in last min and as I was doing this I noticed a patch of fresh bright red blood on the only bit of white fur round her mouth area hence it really caught my eye. So I went to her reassuring her everything is cushty dnt panic good girl and the like and she was being still. I had a good old look about her entire mouth every tooth the lot and not a clue or bit of damage anywhere. So at the great joy and relief of Holly I left her mouth along petted her up and made a little fuss over her and then began to slowly gently And calmly going over the rest of her body all rnd her neck along her back,legs and ribs,still not a thing out of place so moved her around again so she lay in my arm looking up at me just as a baby would when u do that cradle hold and checked her chest and belly and nearly screamed. Instantly I got that sudden surge of heat,energy and dread or fear when u see something that shocks the granny out of u. All her mammory glands were pretty damn swollen and all round a lot of her teats and it kinda looked like she had niggled at the swelling if it had been irritating her flat out and burst or cut it somehow and that was all the blood or it was some kinda cyst or abscess that had popped and as naughty as it looks rite now I’ll get it all cleaned up and protected to heal and Holly b cushty and not in pain or discomfort anymore and b loving it. So I eventually with the help and might of the rspca got her in to local vets who I must tel u were the first to tell Holly and I to basically in a non rude or offensive way to go away and the cat would just have to die see ya. And there were two more so called vets and or humans that really give a shit about all or most animals but that’s for another time. So we got to the vet went in and within I’d say 1 min or 1 n Half mins with only a quick glance at the bloody wound area and then a good old reef about her underneath and glands and looked at me and I knew and understood right there n then he was saying to me that my baby my ickle holly wally woo woo whom had been putting up with and tolerating me for 14 fab years together mixed with great N not so great times had CANCER!!! Those innocent looking b4 they ulcerated glands that had never seemed to be painful at all for Holly and she never winged or behaved any diff so just like a nob thought out of sheer ignorace not lack of love or affection and left them as it was. So now we are at the vets and he’s telling me it’s cancer but my brain is so scared and horrified to hear those words that it’s scrambling that frequency and make me hear it’s not too bad if it’s not spread we just cut it all out and remove plus spade her and then Wallop!!! I could hear the real words again when the word tumours as he said it is gonna b risky at her age cutting out her lady parts from internally and then removing all the cancerous tumours and bad tissue and it’s a lot of skin n wot not removed but it wil b ok and we’ll pull it and sew it and staple it back together give her some pain relief and antibiotics and it might b all good. All my mind could focus on or think about then was fact he did say and it wasn’t a dream that there is a chance u won’t make it and we’ll have to put her to sleep and I’d never ever see that cute innocent as if face with big beautiful eyes and a high sharp n short little meow to get my attention or let me know it’d dinner time and she’s Hank. Or ‘ere sort it out Bruv yeah the toilet in this gaff stinks drop me out.change that tray out lively alright nice 1. Or mostly Ahem! And where Dyou think ur taking that arm that was made to stroke me on demand 24/7 and it continues in little blips that r really loud and demanding. And the seriousness of wot was really actually happening right this second in my life to my immortal(in my head) cat Holly and from the morning with her and my other female cat same age Fluffaluffa(lol) having bit of a stretch and lounge about and sesh of belly rubs strokes and affection for my bubbies on my bed living like they run tinz! Bringing me the usual massive dose of larfter and love just being them. To within another 45 mins and Holly and I arriving at the vets and being checked and diagnosed with savage and fair bit of cancer and being the lowest and absolutely buried deep down in the most powerful sorrow and heart break and a lumpy 6’4 fella bursts into floods of tears like A water fall hsving no control on it at all. I sorted myself out enuff to book her in make sure it’s sweet and then walk that lonely horrid walk back home with ur right arm missing and when u do get back indoors the ambience isn’t right at all and Fluffaluffa is even looking bit puzzled and looking for her sis and BFF. But Holly isn’t there for only the 2nd nite in 14 years she isn’t stayin in flat but down at the vets surgery so as to keep her chilled and less worked up or stressed out and gives her time to get used to it and she has to fast so it’s a lot easier for us to do it all here with everything we may need and then it’s no rush or panic in the morn to move into theatre and start the op. So that’s wot I did as I have to think wotever they suggest is gonna b best for the kitty of corz so she is staying at Hotel Dela vets tonight and then in the morn bright n breezy Holly is having her op at 8.30 and I won’t then find out if she’s fine awake and going to b ok and recover and be allowed home rite there n then til 2.30pm and that Morn into afternoon time period is gonna feel like a life sentence until I WIL b praying to god n Jesus and asking them to plz not take Holly Just quiet yet as Fluffaluffa n daddy needs her too much. I WIL do my best to get back her at this time tomorrow please ladies n gentlemen cat lovers anywhere pray for my brave Holly wally to fight all ere while stay strong willed and make sure she comes back and we can all be blessed by seeing and hearing and saying Ello to my wonderful so special and unique lil bubbie Holly. Xxx

      Reply
      • Ingrid
        November 12, 2015 at 7:20 am (4 years ago)

        Oh Liam, I’m so sorry. It’s such a devastating diagnosis. I’ll be keeping Holly and you in my thoughts and prayers.

        Reply
  10. Jeanette
    July 28, 2014 at 7:04 pm (5 years ago)

    Our Sugar was diagnosed with mammary cancer in January 2013. She had a unilateral mastectomy, then when it recurred a lumpectomy and five rounds of chemo. Sadly, 16 months later, we found that she had cancer in her chest and lungs. In May 2014 we had to help her our sweet, brave wartior make her journey to her 10th life at the Rainbow Bridge. I miss her everyday.

    Thank you for posting this article Ingrid. A lot of people don’t know that cats get breast cancer and what an important role early detection plays in surviving this aggressive disease.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 29, 2014 at 6:33 am (5 years ago)

      I’m sorry about your Sugar, Jeanette.

      Reply
  11. Vincent
    June 18, 2014 at 6:01 am (5 years ago)

    Thank you for the article. My little Sissy has been diagnosed with mammary cancer last Nov. 2013, she has had surgery to take out the entire right side mammary glands. After, her recovery she started five months of chemo, and medical tests . In the beginning of this, my Vet and two surgeons explained to me everything to the minute detail of her prognosis and her future…my heart fell to the ground what the Vet explained of cancer. Well, after four weeks after her final chemo treatment I found two lumps under her arms, i was shocked.
    Next day took her to the Vet, and he biopsied the lumps….positive for cancer. After some discussions with the surgeons, and I also was informed of a pill she could take to help her fight the cancer so she could possibly live longer, …i decided for her to come home with me,
    her quality of life is what is important.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      June 18, 2014 at 6:21 am (5 years ago)

      I’m so sorry about Sissy’s diagnosis, Vincent. You are so right: quality of life is the most important consideration.

      Reply
    • Jo
      July 19, 2014 at 11:38 pm (5 years ago)

      Vincent,

      What was the name of the pill your vet recommended your kitty take?

      Jo

      Reply
  12. Minakitty
    February 11, 2013 at 9:34 pm (7 years ago)

    We also lost our little Seraph (aka-“Peanut”) to mammary cancer nearly 3 years ago. We had no idea that not fixing her, even though she was never to go outside, could increase the risk. Three surgeries later, we could not save her as it had spread to her lungs. She was given a month to live, but held on for four, as she really didn’t seem to want to go. Most people likely don’t realize the risks of not spaying, so we tell anyone who will listen (if they have or are thinking of getting a cat, that is). In fact, the only other people who knew were vets. 11 years to the day of getting her as an anniversary present, we had to say goodbye.

    Thank you for posting this article. I hope that more people become aware because of it.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      February 12, 2013 at 6:15 am (7 years ago)

      I’m so sorry about Seraph. I’m glad you’re helping spread the word about the importance of spaying.

      Reply
  13. Debbie D
    February 11, 2013 at 4:41 pm (7 years ago)

    Thanks for sharing the article. We lost our big girl, Lan, to breast cancer about 3 years ago. It struck quickly and hard. After talking with the vet, we opted for the surgery where we learned it was malignant. My hubby and I talked with the vet afterwards and he said that we could try chemotherapy but after discussing it between ourselves, we decided not to. With it being an aggressive type, there was a strong possibility it wouldn’t do any good. Though we were willing to pay for the procedures, we couldn’t see stressing her out with the travel (the closest clinic was 40 miles away for that particular treatment) and then making her sick with the chemicals. We decided to just let her live out what time she had left with us in peace and enjoy her being with us until it was time to let her go.

    I still tear up writing this and thinking of her…

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      February 11, 2013 at 5:35 pm (7 years ago)

      I’m so sorry about Lan, Debbie.

      Reply
  14. Sandy
    February 11, 2013 at 2:23 pm (7 years ago)

    Thank-you for this informative post. I cat sit for a cat with mammary cancer (have been for several yrs). She was given 3-4 months to live 1 1/2 years ago and is still alive, though when I saw her recently, she did not look as good, and the tumor has been leaking and bleeding a little for a while. She gets antibiotic shots every 6 weeks or so. No surgery was done as the vet said it was an aggressive form, and I assume that is why he didn’t do surgery. But given that in the article above, most cats live 1 year after diagnosis, I guess she is doing better than most. Each time I see her I feel blessed for another chance to be with her, as she is the sweetest cat.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      February 11, 2013 at 3:22 pm (7 years ago)

      I’m glad the post was helpful, Sandy.

      Reply
      • DENNIS MORAN
        January 31, 2018 at 10:04 am (2 years ago)

        JUST TAKE IT DAY BY DAY. AND REMEMBER YOUR AN ANGEL TO THOSE CATS. EVERYDAY THAT YOU HAVE WITH THEM. AND HAVE TAKEN CARE OF THEM . AND LOVED THEM . HAS BEEN BETTER THAN THEY WOULD HAVE HAD ON THE STREET. GOD BLESS AND GOOD LUCK….
        DENNIS

        Reply

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