Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: July 7, 2023 by Crystal Uys


Updated May 2022

Finding out that a beloved cat has cancer is heartbreaking for cat parents. The sad reality is that cancer is 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. However, a cancer diagnosis does not have to be the end of the road. In fact, just like with humans, treatment is often possible, and chemotherapy may be one option that can allow your cat to live comfortably for many months and even years.

How does chemotherapy work?

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 pets, chemotherapy is aimed at controlling the disease and achieving a period of remission. 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.

How is chemotherapy administered to cats?

Chemotherapy drugs are administered in several different ways, depending on the type of cancer and the drug used. Options include

  • Oral – Given by mouth
  • Intravenous – Injected directly into the vein
  • Intralesional – Injected into the tumor
  • Intramuscular – Injected directly into the muscle
  • Subcutaneous – Injected under the skin to be slowly absorbed into the bloodstream

Chemotherapy usually doesn’t require hospitalization, but your cat may have to stay at the clinic for at least a couple of hours so vets can monitor any potential adverse reactions to the drug.

Veterinarian explaining to woman cat medical condition
Image Credit: Nestor Rizhniak, Shutterstock

What about chemotherapy side effects?

Cat parents often recoil from the mere thought of putting their cat through chemotherapy. “Don’t be fearful of chemo,” said Conor J. McNeill, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM (Oncology), an oncologist at the Hope Center for Advanced Veterinary Medicine in Vienna, VA. “Depending on how it is given, chemotherapy in cats generally can have few or no side effects.” Dr. McNeill frequently sees cat guardians who have been through cancer treatment themselves, and they don’t want to relive their own experience with their beloved cat.

Most cats tolerate chemotherapy extremely 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. Dr. McNeill is proactive about treating possible side effects such as pain and nausea. “This becomes especially important with cats,” says McNeill, “since they’re so good at hiding symptoms.”

How will you know whether chemotherapy was successful?

A cat in remission doesn’t look any different from a cancer-free cat. Typically, successful remission means that lymph nodes 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.

woman relaxing with her ginger tabby cat on a sofa
Image Credit: U__Photo_Shutterstock

How to make the chemotherapy decision

Deciding whether chemotherapy is right for your cat is a very individual decision, and is best reached by talking to your vet and/or a veterinary oncologist. Factors that come into play are:

  • Prognosis: what is the prognosis for your cat’s particular cancer? How much time will you gain with your cat by treating the cancer?
  • Your cat’s lifestyle: is your cat extremely fearful of going to the veterinary clinic? Cancer treatment will involve frequent vet visits and blood tests, and you’ll have to weigh how this will affect your cat’s quality of life.
  • Finances: costs for chemotherapy can climb into the thousands of dollars. Making treatment decisions can be challenging for cat guardians when financial concerns have to be considered in addition to the quality of life issues.
  • Palliative care: Sometimes, the right answer may be no treatment, and palliative care, which is aimed at keeping the cat comfortable with good quality of life for as long as possible, may be a better choice.

When it comes to deciding whether to choose chemotherapy for your cat, there is no right or wrong answer.

Eleven years ago, I wrote a post titled Chemotherapy for Cats. The post has received more than 900 comments to date and has turned into a forum for cat parents whose cats are going through chemotherapy to provide support to each other, ask questions, and share resources.

Featured Image Credit: Zhuravlev Andrey, Shutterstock

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126 Comments on Is Chemotherapy the Right Choice for Your Cat? How it Works & FAQ

  1. My 4 year old cat sooty was diagnosed with lymphoma 2 days ago , vet found a tumour in his small intestine , I’m at a loss what to do , he hates going to the vets , chemo is an option -regime recommended is weekly IV chemo for 4 weeks then 3 weekly after but vet has made it quite clear that this is only to prolong his life not treat him and maybe give him an extra 3-6 months . Part of me worries I’m been selfish putting him through chemo and should I just shower him with love and treat him with steroids until he starts to show signs of been unwell , only symptom he had was weight loss he has always been a chonk of a cat so his weight is still that of a healthy cat currently steroids have boosted his appetite and given him a boost. Also if he has chemo is he ok to live at home as normal he’s a house cat with access to garden (with cat fencing) so doesn’t use litter tray and lives with his bonded sister and a 4 month old puppy , he would hate been isolated from them , cost isn’t an issue i will find the money some how but ultimately just want to do the best thing for my boy as much as it’s going to break my heart saying goodbye I want him to have the best final months possible , any advise or experiences greatly appreciated-thank you

    • Hey Vicki,
      I am so so sorry to hear about Sooty. My 4 year old cat Lily was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer yesterday so I understand how hard this is. I was wondering if you have any updates? I am bringing her in on Thursday to talk to an oncologist about what chemo is best for her and was wondering if you started chemo and how it is going.

      • Maija, I am so sorry to hear your Lily was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. My 9 year old, Odin, was recently diagnosed as well and is currently on 10mg of Palladia thrice weekly and prednisolone daily. Wondering what you decided and how Lily is doing (I hope better than expected). x

    • Oh I´m so sorry to read about Sooty 🙁 I hope someone can give you some good guidance, there is also a great site: – there is a good forum there also, I hope it is OK to post the link here, my best wishes to you and Sooty.

  2. My chemo story is at an end.

    My sweet Misty who had small cell intestinal lymphoma and was on Chlorambucil and Prednisone for 2 years passed away on June 9, 2021.

    The chemo started failing in October 2020. It was a nightmare from then until she passed.

    Her good oncologist had moved away, and the new one was awful. Her abdomen kept getting bigger, and everywhere else she was skin and bones, but her oncologist kept saying she was fine.

    But, I began calling around to decide where to take her and what to do in the end. I began preparing myself for what was inevitably to come. I found a vet who talked with me about it in depth and lovingly. I chose that vet. But I wasn’t ready. Her oncologist increased her dosages and said she was doing great. I knew in my heart that wasn’t true, but I could not get myself to do the right thing during the holidays.

    So, in January of this year 2021, I took her to a vet to end her suffering. I wrote on the intake sheet why she was there and sent all of her records. But, I had to stay in the car, and the vet never saw her records or read why Misty was there. She did a senior checkup and then called and basically accused me of abusing her, snd Misty was not put out of her misery. I complained to the owner who promised to help and have her see their best vet. I made another appointment. She did not see the best vet, and again she wasn’t put out of her misery. I don’t even know what the vet did that time.

    I started calling other vets, but due to the COVID situation I had trouble finding anyone to help.

    Finally on June 9, I found a good vet to help, and Misty’s suffering ended. She was 16 years old. This vet let me be with her during the procedure. It was fast and painless for her.

    My sweet fur child and best friend was gone. I miss her terribly, but that’s part of being a pet parent.

    If I had to choose chemo or no chemo again, I would hope I would be strong enough and selfless enough to not go the chemo route, but I think I would do it again simply because it was so fast. She seemed fine one day, and she was dying the next day. She was going down fast, and my brain could just not process that.

    I think chemo or no chemo is a very personal decision with no wrong answers. I do warn that an oncologist may never tell you when it’s time to let go.

    As to the nightmare we went through at the end, I don’t know that I could have done anything different to prevent that.

  3. My sweet Misty who had small cell intestinal lymphoma and was on Chlorambucil and Prednisone for 2 years passed away on June 9, 2021.

    The chemo started failing in October 2020. It was a nightmare from then until she passed.

    Her good oncologist had moved away, and the new one was awful. Her abdomen kept getting bigger, and everywhere else she was skin and bones, but her oncologist kept saying she was fine.

    But, I began calling around to decide where to take her and what to do in the end. I began preparing myself for what was inevitably to come. I found a vet who talked with me about it in depth and lovingly. I chose that vet. But I wasn’t ready. Her oncologist increased her dosages and said she was doing great. I knew in my heart that wasn’t true, but I could not get myself to do the right thing during the holidays.

    So, in January of this year 2021, I took her to a vet to end her suffering. I wrote on the intake sheet why she was there and sent all of her records. But, I had to stay in the car, and the vet never saw her records or read why Misty was there. She did a senior checkup and then called and basically accused me of abusing her, snd Misty was not put out of her misery. I complained to the owner who promised to help and have her see their best vet. I made another appointment. She did not see the best vet, and again she wasn’t put out of her misery. I don’t even know what the vet did that time.

    I started calling other vets, but due to the COVID situation I had trouble finding anyone to help.

    Finally on June 9, I found a good vet to help, and Misty’s suffering ended. She was 16 years old. This vet let me be with her during the procedure. It was fast and painless for her.

    My sweet fur child and best friend was gone. I miss her terribly, but that’s part of being a pet parent.

    If I had to choose chemo or no chemo again, I would hope I would be strong enough and selfless enough to not go the chemo route, but I think I would do it again simply because it was so fast. She seemed fine one day, and she was dying the next day. She was going down fast, and my brain could just not process that.

    I think chemo or no chemo is a very personal decision with no wrong answers. I do warn that an oncologist may never tell you when it’s time to let go.

    As to the nightmare we went through at the end, I don’t know that I could have done anything different to prevent that.

  4. My sweet Kali girl is a beautiful Siberian and just turned 6 years old a few days ago. Unfortunately, she was also just diagnosed with lymphoma in the small intestine that is likely large cell and very aggressive as there were no signs of it on imaging 8 months ago. Her tumors are large and also 3 nearby lymph nodes are also involved. Current meds, antibiotics, steroids and anti-nausea have definitely helped her to feel better and return to eating. I’m currently trying to decide if we should start chemo as it would only likely give us 6-9 months and she get’s so stressed going to the vet. Surgery is not a great option because it would involve removing the cancerous section of the intestine but can result in leakage from the small intestine that would result in other complications.

    She is such a sweet kitty, young and strong. I don’t want to give up on her if there is something we can do to prolong her life, but only if it is not at the expense of quality of life. I would appreciate hearing your experience with this type of cancer to help us in our decision. Thank you.

    • You may have seen my post below concerning my 12-year-old cat who was diagnosed in April this year. He has been on chemo for the last six months and is having the last treatment second week in September. Until he has had another scan we do not know whether he has gone into remission or not, but keeping everything crossed. All i can say from our experience is that for the last six months (apart from his visit to the vets, which he hates) he has had a really good quality of life and if one didn’t know he had lymphoma, one wouldn’t know that anything was wrong with him. He is very active, loves playing with his toys, loves his food and is very affectionate towards us. We too wondered whether to try the chemo or not, but after talking it over decided to give him a chance. If we hadn’t have done so it would have left us thinking perhaps we should have tried. It’s a hard decision I know, but our thoughts were give it a try and it could work, but if it doesn’t he would have had at least another six months or more of quality life. Wishing you all the best, whatever you decide. x

      • Thanks for your kind comments. So after doing research, talking to oncologist and a biopsy to determine that it was small cell lymphoma, we decided to go ahead with chemo. Kali gets one capsule every two weeks plus prednisone every day. She is doing extremely well, tolerates the chemo and is good about letting me pill her. I found placing the capsule in the center of the tongue near the back of the tongue triggers a swallow. I also ordered small capsules online that I could put the Cerenia in so it doesn’t dissolve in her mouth. Last ultrasound showed lymph nodes were no longer swollen and dark and tumors shrank a bit. I’m so glad I decided to at least do the biopsy to determine type of cancer which helped in the decision-making process. I also learned that cats tolerate chemo very well. I realize it’s not a long-term fix but it will be worth it if she gets another year or two of quality life. When the end comes, we will have a vet come to the house so her final moments won’t be stressful.

  5. My cat, who is nearly 12, has been diagnosed with high grade lymphoma in his stomach and intestines. He is on chemo (just had his second dose) and steroid tablets. We have been told to give him the tablets once a day for 30 days and then one every 3 weeks. Only problem so far is that we are finding it very stressful giving him the tablets. He will not take them in any form of food, pill pouches or Easypill, so are having to administer into his mouth. We have only been doing it for 7 days now but each time is is like storming the Normandy beaches – he struggles and fights against us giving them to him, spits them out if we are not quick enough to close his mouth and generally we have to try about 3-4 times before we are successful. This is very stressful for him and the last couple of times he has foamed at the mouth through the stress. WE are also left feeling very shaky. One of the vets where we take him for chemo has suggested steroid injections instead, but said it was not ideal as it was difficult to gauge the correct amount. We really do not know what to do for the best. On another query – has anyone tried using CBD oil for pets at all.

    • I give my 16 year old girl with low grade intestinal lymphoma CBD sometimes for anxiety and/or pain. She also has a prescription for liquid Gabapentin to give her as needed. I make a mix for her with consisting of CBD oil for pets (Ananda Pets Full Spectrum), Miracle Vet High Calorie Dietary Liquid Supplement, Pet Wellbeing BM Tone-Up, Pet Wellbeing Detox Gold, NaturVet Digestive Enzymes with Prebiotics and Probiotics, Scruffy Paws Kidney-Vitalize, and some canned kitten food. I mash it up and feed it to her by mouth with a syringe. I sometimes add Pet Wellbeing Comfort Gold and/or NaturVet Quiet Moments. I’m not a veterinarian. I came up with this mixture through research. I don’t give it to her all if the time… just when I think she needs it. It does help her. I don’t solely give her CBD, though. I did a few times and it seemed to calm her but I had to give her the drops directly into her mouth. She would not eat her food if I put it in her food.

      My heart goes out to you.

      • Thanks Toni. I will be trying some CBD to see if it will help my cat. Wish you and you cat all the best.

      • May I ask where you purchase CBD oil. My Benson has lymphoma but they won’t tell me if it’s high or low. They want him on CHOP $8000.00 No difference if I keep him on Prednisolone added with perhaps Leukeron and or CBD oil

    • Linda I feel your pain. My Sophie has been diagnosed with multiple myeoloma and I am struggling if I want to start chemo or not. We found out after a routine blood work for a teeth cleaning that Sophie had something serious going on as she was so anemic. After a specialist did an ultrasound it was urgent that her spleen be removed before it ruptured. On March 29, 2021 Sophie had her spleen removed and my vet gave me information on Cholrambucil and Cyclophoshamide as chemo treatment options. She is currently taking a steroid daily which is a challenge giving her the pills. I am struggling if I want to start her on chemo or just make her time she has left with us as comfort measures. I lost two dogs in one year and this has been so hard on my family.

      • Hi Julie, so sorry to hear about your cat Sophie. It is very hard to know what to do for the best really. However my cat didn’t show any signs of wanting to go just yet, so we decided to try the chemo. He has had three sessions now – has to have one weekly for 8 weeks and then once a month for four months. Plus the steroid tablets. So far, apart from the day he has the chemo, he has been almost like his old self and certainly has a good quality of life at the moment – long may it continue. At the end of the treatment (will bend of September.beginning of October) we can only hope the cancer has gone into remission. We have found a method which so far is working to give him his steroid tablets. We are in the Uk so not sure where you live but we bought some liver paste off of Amazon made by a company called Arden Grange. This can be used to give treats. It has to be kept in the fridge after opening and can only be kept for a month after it has been opened. He seems to love it, thank goodness. My husband makes a large pea sized ball, pushes the tablet in and covers it, then let our cat smell his fingers (warn you it has an awful smell – but then we are vegetarians so it would), then put it down on the floor and so far he has eaten it with great enjoyment. We make sure not to give him any food for about three hours before hand though to make sure he will eat it. Then we follow this with some food. Worth a try.
        Has your vet given any indication as to whether Sophie will stand a good chance if she has the chemo or not. Ours said that with the chemo there was a good chance of our cat living a good quality life for up to a year (if he goes into remission) so we thought it was worth trying. But of course in the end it is a very hard decision to make and one has always to think of the cat and its needs first. Hope all goes well for you and Sophie.

        • Hi again. Just wanted to add if you do try the liver paste, make sure to get the one for dogs and cats, not the one for dogs only.

        • Thanks is encouraging…right now we are giving Sophie 1/2 pill prednisolone and it has been working out because I give it in a little tuna right away in the morning so I don’t have to physically give it to her. Which Chemo drug are you giving your cat? As I said before my vet wants us to try either Chlorambucil or Cyclophosphamide. I need to decide this week as to how we are going to go with treatment…She is only around 10 years old as we adopted her in 2012 but she is so special. My corgi I have suffers from seizures so this has been a challenge…I am so happy to have found this site and hear from other people experiencing the same problems it is comforting. Thank you

          • Hi Julie, pleased to her the you have found a way of administering the tablet to Sophie – always a relief not to have to try and force it down their mouth. My cat is actually having chemo treatment at the vets via injection so cannot say what is being used and there is three injections mentioned on the receipt. Best to talk to your vet and weigh up the pros and cons of each of the drugs you mention and take advice from your vet. Wishing you and Sophie all the best.

          • I crush prednisolone tablet very thoroughly and mix well with her cat food. My veterinarian said this was fine to do. I do half of her daily dose twice a day. It works because the pills have no taste

    • Have been giving my 8 year old boy Waffle prednisone and Palladia for a couple of weeks now. The first few days when he wasn’t eating were a struggle but now that he’s eating again I’ve had luck putting his pills in soft treats. Since soft treats are hard to find I’m going to give brand names – Meow Mix Irresistibles and Tiki Cat. He’s crazy for them and doesn’t notice the pill. Also after he takes his pill I immediately give him a Hartz squeeze up treat. Like chicken baby food in a foil tube. I know it won’t work with every cat but I’d rather bribe him than fight with him.

      • Hi Sharon, thanks for your suggestions for giving the steroid
        iod tablets. We have tried soft treats, but to no avail. However we are now using a liver paste made by Arden Grove, which we get off of Amazon. So far it has worked – long may it continue.

        • Linda,
          Thanks for info on liver paste. I’m ordering some as a back up plan. Also some canned cheese whiz. Whatever works.

          • Hi Sharon, when ordering the liver paste make sure to get the one for dogs and cats as there is also one for dogs only. Good luck.

  6. My cat Misty has been on chemo for small cell intestinal lymphoma for approx. 1 1/2 years. The chemotherapy is in the form of a chlorambucil pill and a prednisone pill . At first she took it ever day and then went to 3 days a week.

    Recently she started throwing up again so she had to back to daily doses. She has increasingly become harder to pill. I’ve had to basically get it all the way back in her throat basically pushing it down her throat. Then tonight she fought so hard that I could not get the medicine in her.

    I got frustrated snd full of grief. I don’t know if I can continue that. Without it she will die. I had always hoped it could continue until the chemo stopped working all together. Then, I wouldn’t be making the decision to stop it. She is 15 years and 8 months old. I don’t know how long I can continue to try to push two pills down her throat every day, I don’t know what the right thing to do for her is. I don’t know what to do. I’m tired and filled with grief over this decision. Have any of you had to make this same decision?

      • Hi tony, how’s your cat doing? We have a 9year old who just got diagnosed with small cell lymphoma. She’s also on prednisolone everyday and chlorambucil every other day. She’s very feisty to take the pills but I’ve been managing it pretty well.

        • She’s doing OK. She turns 16 on April 10, so she’s definitely showing her old age. Her chemo stopped being as effective last Oct after being in Chemo for a year and 3 months. They increased her back to taking chlorambucil every day snd 1 1/2 prednisone pills every day. She got better. But she is definitely different due to age. She’s been on chemo now for a year and 7 months. I was told the average life span after the start if chemo is 2 1/2 years. I doubt that Misty will make it that long.

          But since your girl is only 9, I’m sure she will do very well.

    • I’m so very sorry to hear about Misty. My heart is breaking for you. When our cat was diagnosed we tried the chlorambucil pills for a week. We had to make the tough decision to stop because the stress wasn’t good for him. We kept him on steroids but unfortunately now he is diabetic from that. However giving him a steroid in a pill pocket is super easy. The insulin shots aren’t bad either. What it comes down to is you have to do what feels right to you. I know the heartache of losing them is tough but I felt I didn’t want to make his life miserable either. We medicate him the best we can and love him fiercely every day. I am praying you can find what’s best for you both. Hugs.

      • Thank you Kristi. I may try the pill pocket. Your words are a comfort to me. I was hoping I could get her past Christmas. I was also hoping I could see her turn 16 on April 10. I know, though, that I will never be ready for her to pass.

        Strangely it’s the prednisone she fights taking, but I think that’s because it’s the second pill she gets every day.

        If it continues to stress her to this extent, I may have to go to just the prednisone. It seems though that her chemo is starting to fail. That’s why she had to go to daily doses again. I may need to accept it and just care for her, love her, try to make her comfortable, and keep her from pain and suffering.

    • I treat my cat for low grade lymphoma w steroid and chemo at home.she is doing excellent .
      I ordered b12 injection from australia and chemo from Ukraine online .She doing excellent like nothing ever happened to her.I go to vet ones a month for check up. She 12 yrs old I was told over a year ago she got not much left.My cat gained weight plays with others eats well and enjoy her life.She has 0 sign of any ill ,and she responds to treatment with out any problem.I had hard time at start to pill her but it quickly went away. She figured fast she will get treat after meds so we worked together as charm.I place her to my kitchen cabinet.And I’m kinda bend to her and raise her to leg up to my chest.then I gently tap on her mouth maybe little push and she open her mouth.You just have to place meds kinda deep in so she won’t taste it at all.she won’t hurt me because she knows me well and the whole process only a second. I use gloves for chemo. I’m very happy how she responds .It a absolute joy how we work together to fight of this cancer.

    • Toni. I am sorry you are having such a rough time. Our cat is 14 and he was diagnosed a year ago. We tried to give chemo for a week and it did not work for us. Jasper was to stressed and keeping him separate from the other cats was upsetting to him. We decided it was no way to live out his life. We gave prednisolone only and let him be happy. Here we are a year and 2 months later and he is diabetic but tolerates insulin well. He is happy. I know the outcome won’t be the same for everyone but all I am saying is you have to do what feels right to you. You both need to live a stress free happy life. I would do anything for my boy but seeing him this last year I know I made the right decision. Hugs and love to you.

      • Thank you. I ended up continuing her prednisone and Chlorambucil. She’s been taking them for a year and 9 months. She turns 16 on April 10. The treatments started to fail about 4 months ago. That’s when her dosages were increased. I was told that the next step when this starts to fail again will be liquid form of a different chemo and vet visits every 3 weeks. I don’t think I’ll do that. But you never know.

        I am so happy about the success you’ve had with your fur-baby.

    • I don’t think the vets understand how hard it is for owners to force pills down our pets throats. I know we have to do it to help them. I will pray for you.

      • Thank you. I ended up compromising with my Misty cat. Her happiness is more important than anything else. I give her meds every other day. I explained it to her vet.

      • When I told my oncologist vet it is impossible to get my cat to swallow a pill (that can’t be crushed, like the chemo pills), nor to swallow a capsule, she sent my cat’s chemo prescription to a compounding pharmacy that creates chemo “treats” in various flavors, like tuna. The “treats” arrived two days later, and my cat loves them. Also, a reasonable cost. He is doing one pill a day for 4 days, then 3 weeks off. Total cost for the 4 pills is $36 with overnight shipping. Just mentioning this in case it helps anyone out there…

    • Research LDN for pets. See if you can get a transdermal application of the prednisone. Then you just have to rub it into the ear flap. I use a pill gun for the chemo. Also have read that prednisolone is a little easier on the cat. My cat hates to be pilled.

    • My cat is Meeko. He is 7 years old. He is a snowshoe Siamese. He is beautiful an he is big. Very very long if I include the tail, also very long. He weighs 18 lbs. He hates having pills hidden in his food. He does not trust for a few days after trying. Took him to the emergency vet because of daily vomiting. Did a cat scan. Vet said possible lymphoma and let’s watch. I could not get meds down him nothing. Has been to the emergency vet several times. Finally found one an could not get an appt before 3-1-23. So hard to find a vet and get an appt in a week or so. Usually 3-4 weeks. I got paperwork from the vet and it said diagnosed lymphoma. They never said that. If they had I would have been at a new vet immediately. I dread the decision I am going to have to make.

  7. My gray tabby, Oliver, has been vomiting sporadically and losing weight over the last two weeks. We’ve had blood work, x-rays, and an ultrasound done and there isn’t a conclusive diagnosis between lymphoma and IBD. The next step is a biopsy to determine treatment.

    The biopsy is expensive by itself and my husband and I are unsure we’ll be able to afford treatment if it is lymphoma. I’ve seen a lot of people mention how expensive the Chlorambucil and steroid treatment is, but I haven’t seen an exact cost. Could anyone provide me with a rough estimate so we have an idea what we might be looking at?

    • Jenny,

      My cat has small cell intestinal lymphoma diagnosed after the upper and lower endoscopy with biopsy samples taken. She has bee o the Chlorumbucil and Prednisone treatment for several months now. At first she took both daily. Now she takes them 3 days a week. It may vary, but the Chlorumbucil 1.5 mg costs us $74.50 for 30 doses from Stokes Pharmacy, a compounding pharmacy out of New Jersey. (I order online with my cat’s oncologist’s prescription. Prednisone (Prednisoone) 5 mg only costs $27.35 for 40 doses. Then there are every 6-8 week follow-up appointments that usually cost me around $220 for the appointment and blood work. The actual treatment isn’t so costly, but the appointments add up. I’m going to ask the vet at my cat’s appointment next week if we can push them out longer. I know they want to check for toxicity, but isn’t treatment better than no treatment? I mean we know what will happen without treatment. Plus, I can tell when my cat is doing well and not doing well. I’ll let you know what happens after my appointment next week on Thursday.

      • Toni,

        Thank you for the information and I would also appreciate knowing what the vet says about pushing the follow-up appointments farther out.

        We have a biopsy scheduled for Oliver on Monday, so we should know some time next week what our next step will be.

        • I was told that eventually the appointments will be pushed out further with more time inbetween them, but for now my cat’s appointments will be every 6-8 weeks.

        • Hey everyone,

          I just found this site today and thought it was worth it to message because time is of the essence. My sister just found out today that her cat Tumbles has been diagnosed with stomach cancer. It’s taken up most of his stomach. The vet has given him days-weeks to live. But not more than that. He is only 11 years old and has been with my sister through thick and thin. I’m from Canada and the vet here said that he recommends this medicine to give Tumbles to hopefully let him have as much time as he can. He said that if we start that then Tumbles wouldn’t be able to start chemotherapy. My sister gave him his first pill an hour ago. But now I found this forum and I’m so beside myself. The vet said he doesn’t recommend chemotherapy because of what it will put Tumbles through and the small success rate he’s seen. Is there a point where chemotherapy doesn’t work? I’m just at such a loss I’d appreciate any help.


          • David, I am so sorry about her cat. I know how devastated she must feel. My sympathies go out to you both. she could get a second opinion from another vet or a veterinarian oncologist, but the short answer that I was told while waiting for my cat’s biopsy results was yes. There are certain cancers in which chemotherapy is not effective or at least as effective. If my cat had large cell lymphoma instead of small cell, she would have only gained a few months, because large cell is a faster growing cancer. I lucked out. She had a very slow growing small cell lymphoma that can be easily managed and gain her more years of her feeling perfectly well. Some cancers are worse than others. I am so sorry. But she absolutely could get a second opinion from a veterinarian oncologist to find out .

          • Hi David,
            Sorry to hear about dear little Tumbles. High-grade lymphoma (giant cell lymphoma) is more apparent in the stomach than the intestines – which may have more small cell lymphomas which have a longer prognosis.
            My cat (12 years) has the whole of the top part of his stomach with cancer infiltration.
            As I mentioned before his prognosis is 6mth on chemo, 3 on cortisone. I was also told that once on cortisone the other chemo drugs may be less effective.
            My vet is a specialist physician (I believe you call them internists in the US – I’m in Australia) and her comments are similar to what you’ve posted. She also said she’d never give her cats chemo then when one was ill, she did. However one could argue that she could do that at home and her cat wouldn’t be so stressed.
            My cat’s last ultrasound indicated that the cancer had reduced and we have stretched out his visits to the vet.
            I’m hopeful but not unrealistic and pleased I have chosen prednisolone (along with his antacid medication) as palliation rather than aggressive treatment.

        • It is very expensive. We had full blood work, appointments, follow up blood work. May need ultrasound and/or biopsy.
          BTW I found flavored medicine compounded chew treats she loves from BSP Pharmacy in Texas.
          I am retired and I sometimes wonder if I am nuts to spend thousands on my beloved kitty but I cant imagine not.

    • My cat recently had a large tumour removed from colon risky as she is 17 & large risk of bacteria was massive she got through it all but after biopsy found to be one of the worst cancers very aggressive they could find but with no metastasis no chemo I opted out she is doing great after 6 weeks post surgery so now we watch and wait for any return she has put on weight playing a lot all good so far till next check it’s a waiting game. I’m using life gold in her food mix seems to thrive on it

  8. I’m in the position of having to make this decision. My 14 year old cat was just diagnosed with small cell intestinal lymphoma. May 18, 2019, was when I first noticed something was really wrong with her. After tests, then an ultrasound, and then an endoscopy/colonoscopy with biopsies, I was notified last Friday, June 7, 2019, that it is lymphoma. I have an appointment to talk with an oncologist this Saturday, June 15, 2019.

    I don’t know how long she has had this and if she could pass today or tomorrow or weeks from now. She has been on prednisone since June 3. Her dose was doubled starting last Friday, June 7.

    She is my baby. I don’t want her to suffer. This will be a difficult decision either way. I don’t know what to do.

    • Hi, sorry to hear about your beloved pet cat. I lost my two Bengals to cancer in the last few months. One was 15 with intestinal and one 12 with lymph nodes. Cancer in cats progresses very rapidly. From diagnosis to euthanasia was about a month. They lost weight rapidly and stopped eating. They both went to an oncologist and were on prednisone. Decided against chemo on advice of oncologist and my desire to not have them suffer to extend life a few months or so. It becomes a daily decision which is very stressful. I miss them tremendously but am comfortable that I made the right decision at the right time for them. Best of luck to you.

      • Greg,
        Karen here in NC
        My girl Gracie has lymphoma… and you are do right it becomes a daily decision as to what to do…. sometimes hr to hr
        I too have decided to stop meds after a short period
        I just her to live forever and since cannot to live and pass in peace
        Just as i hope for myself
        Thx for your post!
        It helped me today feel less alone and sad

      • Hi. My 12 year old cat Jasper has been diagnosed with small cell lymphoma of the intestines. The doc prescribed Chlorambucil 3 days a week and steroids daily. We just started yesterday. I am really scared reading all the info. Some cats do well and others do not. Plus all the precautions for my families safety as well as my other cats is scary. I already keep their food separate and will now be keeping their litter separate using Meowspace boxes. I have been told to use litter liners and just replace the whole litter daily using gloves and a mask. I am to keep him separate for an hour after dosing but have read it should be 48-72 hours. Unfortunately with him taking it every 3 days that wouldn’t work. I’m just here to talk because I’m scared. 🙁

        • Kristi, I was where you are. Talk with your cat’s oncologist about the precautions. My cat’s oncologist wasn’t as concerned with precautions. I have three cats in the house. I know it’s scary and emotional. My cat is doing very well now. She plays and is back to her old self. I understand. We’re going through it too. hugs. If you have any questions or want to talk, I’m here.

          • Thank you! It’s so good to know I’m not alone. At first he didn’t give us any precautions. I started reading online and got worried. When I contacted him he had to call his oncologist contact with my questions. They don’t seem to think it’s as scary as some things I have read online. We will keep food, water and litter separate and hope that’s good enough. I worried about his food bowls. If washing them was enough for others to use or if he should have designated bowls. He said washing them was good. I would just be so upset if someone else got sick because of something I did or didn’t do. I am so glad your cat is doing so well! Hope we have the same outcome.

          • Kristi, you are doing great for all of them. It’s hard the first several months – trying to figure it out, wondering if he’ll get better, worried for the others. It’s been about 6 months for me and my cat. I think up until my last oncologist appointment, I was worried and pre-grieving all of the time. But, now she’s better – really better. I finally feel more comfortable. I don’t know how long she’ll have. She is 14 1/2. It’s hard not knowing, but I’m getting better at letting things be normal and enjoying the present with all of them.

            It’s a tough road those first several months, but Jasper will get better. It takes time and ups and downs, but then he will be better.

          • Thank you so much Toni! It helps knowing it will get better! Do you have any suggestions for taking care of the litter? The vet said to use liners and change the entire box once daily, but that is just to expensive to keep up.

        • It has been 2 weeks on the meds now. My cat and I both are very stressed and I don’t know what to do. He was always a shy cat and only lets me pet him sometimes on his terms and not anyone else in the family. He is a nervous cat and never sits on the couch with us or anything. Chasing him around to get him in a room to give the pill has been so stressful for us both. He is very upset and rarely lets me touch him now. I don’t know how we can go on like this. I’m very scared.

          • I know it’s so upsetting when trying to medicate a cat affects the bond between you and your cat, Kristi – my heart goes out to you. You may find some helpful information in this article:

          • My cat is similar. 5-6 months if it now, and she has gotten used to it mostly and takes her pill easily. I can really relate to what you wrote. It was awful at first. I wondered if I was doing the tight thing since it made her miserable and angry with me. Just as I was about to give up, things got better. She lets me open her mouth now without too much fuss and swallows her pill. Rarely does she fight it or get angry.

    • Toni
      My 13-14 yr old cat, Gracie, received the same diagnosis in
      May. She was healthy otherwise, so
      I decided to treat with chemo and steroid.
      She has good days and bad. At times she seems fine, but she is always struggling with her appetite and does not like taking the pills and then I feel guilty
      She is sleeping more and seems to know she is sick
      I have decided to stop treating and let her body and spirit pass naturally and in peace… it is a hard decision but sometimes doing nothing just feels right. Gracie is very independent and I think wants to pass without the fuss. I am going to respect what I know and love about my girl. Passing as she lived
      We will go the vet next week so say good bye for now and then I will scatter her ashes on our mountain in NC- taking all my love with her!

      • Thank you for the replies. Three weeks ago Misty my cat started chemo pills at home: Prednisone and Chlorambucil. She just now seems better. But, I don’t know how long we will do this. I remake the choice every day. It has not been easy. She is just now starting to have good days. Each morning I ask myself whether she is having enough good days and whether or not she is telling me to stop or not. When they talk about this, I really appreciate reading your stories. This is a lonely road.

        • Toni,
          Gracie has been taking the same two medications and I saw some improvement also.
          It is a very hard decision to continue or not.
          You are not alone on this path.
          You know Misty better than anyone. She will let you know in her subtle ways when to stop.
          Trust your instincts and love for Misty!
          Enjoy your time with Misty‍♀️❤️

          • I just wanted to give an update on Misty. She has been on the pills (chemo) and at her oncologist apt last Friday, the cancer is no longer causing her intestinal walls to thicken. But, she has a low white blood cell count due to the chemo. They reduced her chemo from every day to 3 days a week.

            Misty has good days and not as good days. I experience a lot of guilt and anticipatory grief. I rethink my decision every day. Some days I feel great joy about her being with me still and seemingly well. Then, she has a not so great day, and my heart breaks all over again. I found a quality of life matrix for this sort of thing (pets) and according to it, Misty still has a great quality of life. But this morning, she ate while in bed, and her voice was a croak. She is better and then there are mornings like this. I look in her eyes and wonder if I’m doing the right thing for her. I know it is for me, though.

            But, also the cost is still too much. I’ve gotten in debt over it. I’m going to have a talk with the oncologist at our next appointment in 8 weeks. I need them to get my discuss what they are going to do before they do it. The services and bill surprised me last Friday. They never said they were going to do something different, yet they did an ultrasound, and the bill was not what I expected.

            These decisions are so difficult – emotional – financial – etc.

            Love to you all.

        • Toni, my cat is going through exactly what your cat had. She has lymphoma and she has been on steroids for 2 weeks and we have just started chlorambucil. She seems quite weak but is still eating and comes for a cuddle occasionally. Like you said she has good and bad days but today she has been completely wiped out, very sleepy. I hope she’s not like this every time I give her the chemo tablet. It’s heartbreaking isn’t it, I don’t want her to suffer but I don’t want to give up too quickly as she’s only 9 .

          • I feel exactly as you do Olivia. Misty had a week of high energy, happiness, and playfulness, but now she is nauseous and exhausted and sleeping a lot.I agree with you that I don’t want her to suffer, but I don’t want to give up on her too soon. That quality of life matrix really helps me get perspective on where she stands. As long as she can eat, play, and have more good days than bad, I think I’m going to continue the course. Hugs to you Olivia.

    • Hi Toni I know the feeling it’s so hard. I’m sure you will do the right thing it’s in your heart you will know. I’m struggling with my 17 year old cat after she had a large tumour taken from her colon to find it was one of the worst aggressive cancers I could have hoped for they did get it all out with no metastasis but with this type it’s likely to be hanging about somewhere so far after 6 weeks doing great seems to be thriving I’m using life gold in her food for cancer support. I opted for no chemo at 17 after all she’s been through already so I’m sitting on the fence watch and wait

  9. My 15 yr old angel Agatha had an abdominal ultrasound the other day and was diagnosed with intestinal thickening. The vet doesn’t know if it is IBD or Lymphoma and wants to do abdominal surgery to find out. She would take biopsies of intestines and lymph nodes. The cat is really good at the vet but she has lost weight but still weighs 10.9 lbs. If lymphoma, oral chemo would be the treatment offered. Steroids too, but they might kickstart her diabetes again. She is in remission on that for now. I do not know whether to put her through the surgery or not, but the vet says if not she does not have too long left. Does anyone have advice on this? She still seems to enjoy life at the moment but is frailer than she was.

    • I would get a second opinion, Donna. While full thickness biopsy is the only way to definitively diagnose lymphoma, many vets will treat without a definitive diagnosis. You’re facing some tough choices when it comes to making treatment decisions because of her diabetes, but I believe it is possible to manage both conditions.

      • Thank you. Vet today said she actually hopes the diagnosis is lymphoma instead of IBD because the treatment plan is better and steroids are tapered off quickly. The problem is there are not many vet clinics with ultrasound capabilities. Plus I am being treated for skin cancer the day before planned surgery, so time is running out. Cat is not eating much, so not sure how much time is left before surgery no longer an option. Personally, I think it is probably IBD, not lymphoma, but treatment for that is less obvious.

        • There is some Hills A/D (canned) that is for recovery from an illness or surgery. I believe it helps to increase appetite if you want to try and get your little darling to eat more it might help.You can always ask the vet for one can and see if she will eat it. It is very soft textured.

    • My, my, these are the decisions that have no Right or Wrong answer. I would just follow my heart. Age 15 is old for a cat, many that are healthy don’t live that long. And yet we’re talking about a family member. We have an 11 year old cat that’s getting oral chemo & prednisone. The Vet said it might give him a couple more good years. If he were 15 I’m not sure if we would have made the same decision. I for one would go with palliative care, but that’s me. And we can afford the treatment, if $$ were tight we might have done different. I hope your Cat enjoys the rest of her life how ever long that may be. Bye the way, our cat has had no side effects from Chemo.

    • I recently put to sleep a 15 year old Bengal diagnosed with intestinal cancer. Cat had no other diseases. Oncologist did not recommend aggressive treatment due to age and stress it would cause cat to only extend life for short duration. What I was surprised by was the speed with which the cancer progressed. From diagnosis to death was 6 weeks. The decision is difficult either way however I opted to do what I thought was best for the cat not for me. 8 weeks later I missed her constantly but believe it was the tight decision.

  10. I’m 22 and just found out and hour ago my two year old tabby has Lymphoma. I don’t know what to do. They talked about chemo and also talked about meds..

    • Jasmine, I was in the same spot 2-1/2 years ago with Celica Blue, my beautiful Russian Blue girl. She was a little under 2 when she was diagnosed with lymphoma and we pulled out all the stops. She had chemotherapy, which she tolerated very well for 5-1/2 months, but sadly, the disease just exploded and we lost her after 6 months. I will admit, that it cost a fortune. We had the resources, but since you’re just 22…I don’t know. At minimum, do consult with an oncologist. There are a lot of options, depending on the type of lymphoma. It’s heartbreaking, without a doubt. I wrote about Celica Blue’s journey on my website below.

  11. I have had differing opinions and I am lost. My cat Lexie has always had dark spots on one eye. Now at age 10 they believe it is cancer and want to remove her eye. I am struggling with this as they are uncertain how long she has had cancer in her eye and it could have spread. Blood work and xrays were good but apparently inconclusive. If spread it would got to her lungs first. I have seen her leaving her mouth open and I believe it has spread. Anyone been through this?

  12. My domestic long hair Maisie is 8 years old has just been diagnosed with colon cancer. It’s lymphoma so can be treated with chemotherapy but I don’t know if that’s best for her or for me. Sometimes I think I have to at least give her a chance but the stress on her and me could outweigh the benefits. No one I speak to understands. I feel so helpless. She is the most beautiful friendly cat and I don’t want to lose her. I’m at a loss as to what to do next!

    • Hi Jackie, I was at the same crossroads a couple of months ago, and what helped me make the decision was two factors. 1. The oncologist suggested we try one round of chemo, see how he did, and I could decide from there if we wanted to continue or not. I thought, it can’t hurt just to try or I’ll never know. He did pretty well actually. 2. Another vet friend who deals with end of life care told me that people always tell her the same things after they lose their pet and that’s what they regret the most. She said that ultimately I have to figure out what I’d regret more: putting him through chemo and knowing I tried everything I could, or not doing it, and regret knowing I’ve didn’t do everything I could. She said there is no wrong or right answer, but I have to decide, knowing my personality type, which one I’d end up regretting more. I knew I’d regret not doing everything I could. So, I decided to try it.

    • In August my companion of over 11 years was diagnosed with lymphoma. Cairo absolutely hates the vet so I was very hesitant to progress with chemo treatment as it meant he would be going to the vet once a month. I ultimately made the decision to try chemo as he needed to have his stitches from the biopsy removed. The difference after chemo and steriods was astounding. I had been cleaning up messes daily. Since treatment begin there have been minimal out of box messes. And he went from just over 7 pounds to nearly 12. I feel his monthly visit to the vet is more than made up by his improved daily quality of life. I have no regrets about the chemo.

      • Hi my rescue cat Annie is having chemo for lymphoma after her chest filled with fluid.. she is doing very well and has had 6 sessions I have been told she will need chemo every month which I am prepared to do even though she is not insured and I have had to sell lots for treatment I feel she is happy and deserves all I can give her x

        • All my best to your Annie, Yvonne. You may also want to check out this post – the comment section has turned into a “support group” for cat parents whose cats are going through chemo:

    • Hi jackie, my cat coco is on her 6th week of chemo, her only side effect is diahorreah which we now have under control with prokolin, she seems happy! If she becomes miserable and in uncontrollable pain we may have to rethink but for the time being she is happy and her blood results show promise.

      • Unfortunately upon her following check up her mass had quickly increased in size and therefore too advanced to treat. I had to make the hardest decision ever to put her to rest. I have 2 other furry friends who have been amazing and I’m not sure what I’d do without them. Maisie may be gone but will never be forgotten and always in my heart.

  13. Buzzy was diagnosed with an extremely rare cancer called Synovial Cell Sarcoma, and had his rear left leg amputated two weeks ago. The oncologist recommends chemotherapy immediately. He was scheduled to start that today when he had his sutures taken out, but I decided against it, at least for now. I’m going back and forth with whether we should try it or not. I’m absolutely beside myself right now and have never been so depressed in my life. Buzzy is not my pet, he’s my child. I have no idea what to do.

    • My vet that did my cat’s surgery did not recommend chemo so I can’t say if it would have helped in my case or not. I was also beside myself. I am so sorry you and your baby are going through this. Talk to your vet, other vets if need be, read more posts, do more research, pray, and follow your instincts. I will keep you both in my prayers.

    • Our kitty was diagnosed with lymphoma right after Thanksgiving. We were offered three approaches: we administer Predinisone – she lives maybe 1-2 months; medium treatment with chemo – she lives maybe 5 – 5 months; heavy chemo treatment – she lives maybe 8-9 months. We decided to go with the 1-2 month option for the following reasons. The chemo/vet visits, recover would terribly stress the cat. And the whole experience would terribly stress us. We figured we are going to greatly cry sooner or later and we had to face it. The cat would be terribly stressed and we would be even more stressed living with her under these conditions. It was not good for any of us. We put our kitty to sleep two mornings ago with a home visit vet. And not a moment too soon. The cancer pain had very quickly increased. We could see the poor thing had terribly discomfort just trying to position herself and lay down. Thank God, our kitty is now resting in peace and not being tortured with cancer pain and a life of starvation and distress. We made the right decision for all of us to not prolong this terrible experience. We are on the other side of this whole process and recovering. Our kitty is doing what she loved the most, sleeping. She will always be an important part of our past….. Love to you all.

      • Thank you both for your advice! I’m sure it’s so different in every case. We decided to do chemo and take a holistic approach as well. The chemo barely had any side effects at all actually, which is what I kept hearing about pets vs. humans. He ate just like normal and get get sick a couple of times, but he has IBS and it’s actually normal for him to get sick a couple times a week anyway, so not even sure if that was from the chemo or not. The anti-nausea medicine he got ended that immediately and he was just like normal. I was pleasantly surprised at how well he did. He has his second treatment this week and plan to give him the anti-nausea pill two days afterwards as a preventative. He’s also on several supplements and CBD oil to help him feel better. He has been running and jumping to play, with three legs, just like he used to before the cancer. I’m so happy he’s doing so well right now!

    • Hi, i hope yr baby is ok. I also have kitties that are my children so kno how you feel, my cat coco is undergoing chemo and her blood results show improvement. Yr little one has already gone thro an operation so i would proceed with the chemo. Side effects are low xx

  14. My beautiful Thunder Paws Chunky Butt Moose was an 11 yr old large tabby cat. He got lung cancer. It was caught very early but not early enough that surgery was an option. I did try the chemo because we did catch it early, he only had an occasional cough. He was put on oral chemo pills. I only ended up with 3 months more with my beautiful cat. He never improved. I will never let an animal suffer so when the day came that his breathing became laboured, I had to make the horrible decision that it was time for him to cross the Rainbow Bridge. I miss him dearly!!!!

    • The first most important thing is to not let our pets suffer; second most important thing is to not hold on to them for our own sake. My Eloise is only oral chemo. She seems OK so far, sometimes subdued… but the moment I see she is no longer enjoying life, then it will be time. I know I’m just buying time. You did well by your kitty. We miss them, yes. 🙁

  15. I opted not to do chemo on my FIV+ cat who had multiple tumors in his abdomen and surrounding area. He had two surgeries, but ultimately succumbed to the aggressive cancer 9 months after the first surgery. The first intestinal surgery did not reveal cancer, but after this surgery, cancer started growing. The second surgery was done in hopes of extending his life. He only lived 2 months after that surgery. I am glad I spared him frequent trips to the vet for chemo. I have never had a cat who enjoyed a trip out of the house.

    • I’m sorry about your kitty, Lauren. Your situation perfectly illustrates that it’s always an individual decision as to whether chemotherapy is the right choice.

  16. I just put my Lucy to sleep on Friday, August 26th. She had cancer. Her quality of life went down so fast. Because of her age, 15 the vet and I decided not to do surgery, chemo and the rest. Still grieving and miss her so much. That was the hardest decision to make.

  17. Most interesting and sensible article, Ingrid…. I’ve always felt chemo would be putting an animal through a lot of stress, as much as anything else; your words made me part change my mind, although I still feel that it’s only buying time, and sometimes quality of life just isn’t there. Personally I still feel I would not want to put any cat of mine through that. I’ve never had to make that decision although one of our cats did at the very end of his life have a “mass” – vet didn’t even offer surgery – wisely I always felt as dear Tim went on to better things less than a week late. We are all individuals, even in the animal world and all think differently. How brave I could really be about it in, say a younger cat is something else….. – to each his own

  18. Wow, now I am kind of freaking out after seeing the other comments. My cat’s tumor was not benign nor was I given a prognosis of any kind of time frame. My vet gave me more of a “que sera sera” answer. Now I am wondering if he was being hopeful, avoiding telling me what he really thinks, or if he really can’t give an honest prognosis after her surgery.

  19. Thank you for this article! When I found a lump on Bear last year, I had terrible thoughts of him having to go through chemotherapy … we were lucky that the tumor was benign, but it scared me to no end. Hopefully, we’ll never need it, but I feel better knowing that cats tolerate it fairly well.

  20. Thank you for this article. I chose not to do chemotherapy on Sweet Praline when she was diagnosed with cancer. The vet said because of her age and her prognosis of a month to a year left, she didn’t recommend the treatment. Praline was helped to the bridge 1 month after her diagnosis. I’ve always wondered if I made the right decision.

    • Did Praline have the removal surgery? Don’t want to bring up painful thoughts/memories for you, but I could really use the insight of others right now

      • Hello, my cat coco had the tumor removed and is now in week 6 of chemo and is doing very well. I would do it again! I love my little old girl she is 13. Ask yourself if it was you…yourself with the diagnosis what would you do? I always ask myself this when any of my kitties ill…i have 8 and it helps my decision for treatment x

        • Hi Paula. I see your post is older but I am interested in your multi-cat household and the chemo. Did you let your chemo cat mingle with others with no issues? Thank you.

  21. Thanks for posting this Ingrid. It has given me more to think about before I make my decision.

    Anyone – how long after having surgery does chemo usually get scheduled? As I said my vet does not want me to do chemo citing my cat’s age (which I estimate as 10-11). He says my cat is older than I think, which to me still doesn’t seem to be a problem (or is it?). I am wondering if he is going to make me miss some window of opportunity for her being cured by whatever agenda he is working on.

    • Please see my other reply to you, Jlynn. Your best course of action is to consult with a veterinary oncologist. If your cat is otherwise healthy, age should not be the only factor in making a treatment decision.

      • Hi Ingrid,

        I thought you were right about the age thing also. It was not the ER vets who would not refer me, they actually are affiliated with the specialty vets (including oncologists), it was my standard vet who is reluctant to refer me. He is also the one who did the operation. He has been in practice since the 70’s at least so I doubt it is lack of knowledge of these situations. After reading something else in the other comment area I have another idea though, you responded that surgery should not be done during the course of chemo, so maybe he is thinking about that. I really wish he would be more up front with me. What he isn’t saying is making me worry just as much as what he does say.

        • It sounds like you simply no longer trust your vet, Jlynn. I would look for another vet and at the very least get a second opinion.

    • My 11 year old cat, Eloise, was diagnosed with small cell lymphoma (in small intestine). When her staples were removed 2 weeks after surgery, we started the chemotherapy / pill / chlorambucil (plus prednisone and flagyl). It’s a roller coaster. She doesn’t seem to be suffering… but she’s more subdued. Not sure how long I can keep this up, but I’m game as long as she is…

      • Thanks Jo,
        My vet put down on my cat’s history (that I took to the ER) that he removed the 3rd, 4th, and 5th mammary gland on one side and the 1st and 2nd on the other, and ONE node. When I questioned him about her still having mammary glands he back pedaled on me saying he couldn’t remove anything else and I could bring her in for a recheck if I wanted. What?! Either he removed them or he didn’t. Either you did or you didn’t. I directly asked if she had mammary glands left and he said no. He did the same thing with the lymph nodes, at first he said he removed one, then when I questioned why he would leave the ones under her “arms” then he said they were removed. Now I am totally skeptical over what he removed and what he left behind. He is the only one who would know and he acted like I would need a referral for an oncologist, which I discovered I don’t, but I still haven’t made an appointment. I was told that the surgery “record” should be more detailed as to what was done to her. The pathology wasn’t even specific about what type of tumor was removed. I am really disappointed in the treatment we received. The only thing that is a relief is that the tumors were removed. I wasn’t working but it looks like I might be hired somewhere shortly then I could take her for her consultation with the specialist and see if they can get a better explanation from my vet. If I find out he lied to me then I will contact the BBB. If it was in her lymph nodes and he didn’t remove them then there has to be something I can do. I don’t want to put her through unpleasantness and stress but if chemo would help then I don’t want to dismiss it.

        • Like Ingrid said, I would look for another vet right away. If you have friends with pets, I’d ask for a referral. I have access to Angie’s List nationwide so if you want to tell me your zip code, I could look for you, too. (I’m in Northern NJ)

  22. My 11 year old tabby Ben was diagnosed with cancer of the stomach wall 1 year ago. He’s been receiving Chemo since then and was doing terrific. Just this last Thursday, the Vet reported 2 lumps near his shoulder blades which she described as likely to be either inflammation or “injection site sarcoma”. How does Chemo injections result in cancer? I am just not sure what to think about this turn of events. The vet says they can’t surgically remove the lumps because of the Chemo, but surgical removal is the recommended treatment. She also said that these lumps were not present 3 weeks ago at his last Chemo treatment. Frankly, I hate to seem suspicious and maybe I just being too critical, but I got the feeling she was making excuses and was concerned about liability. Sorry, I just don’t know what to think.

    • Hi Nora,

      My cat had her full mastectomy last week and the vet had ME transport her to the ER (while she was in shock and anemic) and downplayed her condition to me. She stayed there two nights and was then able to come home. The vet that I originally saw was the associate of this one and she told me that they don’t do chemo for cats with breast tumors. I knew she was full of it. The male vet (who did the surgery) is still not recommending chemo for my cat. He didn’t even want to refer me to an oncologist. I found out today that I don’t need his referral (thank goodness). My point being the same as yours, that I can’t figure out why they would not want me to go get chemo, or at least a second opinion. Wouldn’t be in the best interest of my pet to speak to a specialist? Why would my vet want to keep me from seeking a specialized opinion? Is he hiding something? Is it because he wants my money? I don’t seem suspicious, I AM suspicious. He also has asked me a few times if I am working (which I am not) but as long as he gets paid, which he has, I don’t see why he keeps bringing that up. The quality of care should be there for every patient. I am just so confused. It stinks to have to put your faith in the professionals and then feel like you can’t trust their “expertise”. These are not the kind of decisions they should be playing around with. If they don’t know then why don’t they say that instead of giving these opinions without clear explanations.

      You are not alone out there.

      • I’m sorry you feel that way about the vets who treated your cat, JLynn. I agree that the ER vet should have referred you to a veterinary oncologist. However, most likely, the lack of a referral was motivated by lack of experience with this type of cancer rather than monetary concerns. I urge you to follow your instinct and consult with a veterinary oncologist so that you can have peace of mind that you are making an informed decision for your cat’s treatment. All my best to both of you.

    • Any injection can result in an injection site sarcoma, Nora. They can come on very quickly, and your vet is correct, surgery is the preferred treatment for these tumors. She is also correct that surgery during chemotherapy can be risky, since chemotherapy weakens the immune system and slows down healing. Here is more information:

  23. Celica Blue was diagnosed with lymphoma a little more than two months ago, when she was just under 2 years old. I never thought I would put my cat through chemo, but with all the research I did and in speaking to the oncologist (we have an excellent facility close by), I knew that was the way to go, expense be damned. She’s responded beautifully. The mass can barely be felt, no side effects, not even whisker loss; appetite, weight, energy all fine. For all intents and purposes, a normal kitty. Her sixth treatment is coming up. Then we’ll see where we stand. (Her journey is on my website.)

    • Thanks. I have a young cat – 5 years old and your comments helped. My cat has no overt tumors but a very high white blood count. If anyone has had this situation i would appreciate hearing from you and how things went.

  24. Me and my husband have made the decision that if we were to get cancer, we wouldn’t go through chemo. So, I wouldn’t put one of my cats through it either.

    • cats don’t respond to chemo the way that humans do. My cat has had 7 rounds of oral chemotherapy and if you wouldn’t know to look at her that she’s been ill at all. She is active, hungry, playful and loving. She is happy and attentive and gained more than a kg since the initial diagnosis. I watched family members go through chemo – cat chemo is NOTHING like it.

      • Thank you for sharing your experience. That has been my experience with my own cat (more than 15 years ago) and with cats I’ve seen during my years working in veterinary clinics.

        • I treat my cat for low grade lymphoma w steroid and chemo at home.she is doing excellent .
          I ordered b12 injection from australia and chemo from Ukraine.She doing excellent like nothing ever happened to her.I go to vet ones a month for check up

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