Types of Cat Cancer and Common Symptoms + Prevention

There’s a surprising chance that your cat will have cancer, one in five cats will develop cancer within it’s life time. If you’ve read our types of dog cancer, you’ll know that dogs have a higher rate than cats, but you don’t want to risk this, it’s a great concern to all cat owners.

It’s a known fact that cats hide when they’re poorly, it dates back to when they lived as wild cats. And because of this, means that cancers can be hard to find in felines, and cancers have become very advanced due to this.

Like all types of cancers, the earlier you find it, the higher the chance of survival. So, we’ve put together a guide to help you spot all the types of cancers in cats, how to find them, and preventions.

Types of Cat Cancers

Here is a list of the types of cancers and their symptoms, be sure to read carefully,

Lymphoma Cancer in Cats

Lymphomas are the most known cancer in cats and are very common. Like human Lymphoma it’s a cancer of the blood which affects a certain white blood cell, known as the lymphocytes, and is caused by FeLV, but the good news is that a vaccine is widely available for preventing FeLV.

Lymphoma is multiple forms, these forms tend to focus on certain organs, so the type is really dependent on the survival rate and creates different symptoms.

Renal feline lymphoma

Weight loss and digestive problems such as vomiting are the main symptoms associated with Renal feline lymphoma, renal meaning kidneys. You may also see that your cat is peeing and drinking a lot more and may seem weak.

Multicentric feline lymphoma

Multicentric lymphomas can affect lymph nodes in all areas of the body, and also different areas of organs. This disease is often connected to the Feline leukemia virus and typical symptoms are loss of appetite and plenty of weight loss.

Swollen lymph nodes are very common, as this disease affects lymph nodes.

Mediastinal feline lymphoma

Mediastinal lymphomas affect the lungs and the chest cavity and various lymph nodes in the area. This cancer is caused by the feline leukemia virus, so the vaccine mentioned above can be applied to this. Symptoms include excessive coughing, loss of appetite, weight loss, and heavy breathing.

Alimentary feline lymphoma

Alimentary lymphoma in cats is a known and common type of cancer. This form of cancer attacks both the stomach and intestines, liver, abdomens, and all lymph nodes in the area. It’s mostly found in cats aged between 9-13 years and is affected when cats get the Feline leukemia virus, so vaccinating against this is paramount to avoiding this cancer.

The signs are excessive coughing, loss of appetite, weight loss as well as heavy breathing.

Solitary feline lymphoma

The solitary feline lymphoma is the most tricky cancer to diagnose. Solitary lymphomas can affect any area of the body, so symptoms and prognosis will depend on multiple factors, check above for all the symptoms.


Fibrosarcoma is found within tissue, as the name describes. This is probably one of the most aggressive feline cancers and is usually handled with radical surgery by the use of radiation or chemotherapy. Fibrosarcoma is the most common form of malignant soft tissue cancer with cats, meaning fibrosarcoma is very fast spreading.

The most common symptom is a lump under the skin which will be painful for your feline friend, and can be both fleshy or firm. It rarely bleeds, and doesn’t usually cause any type of ulcer. It can be found to affect lymph nodes locally and can also spread to other areas in the body, so swollen lymph nodes is another symptom.

Advanced fibrosarcoma often causes loss of appetite, bleeding from the mouth, pain, dehydration, and slowness.

It’s not fully known what causes fibrosarcoma. Feline injection-site sarcoma is the only known type of feline sarcoma and is between the neck and shoulder where injections are usually injected. Almost all fibrosarcomas are found between the above area followed by the chest or flanks.

Cell Carcinoma (Squamous)

This type of cancer is a version of skin cancer found in cats, and also known as ‘SCC’ – It’s found usually on areas of the body that’s exposed to sunlight. Ears, back, nose and eyelids are very common areas of SCC. It’s triggered when sunlight mutates the DNA of skin cells, it’s mostly seen in white cats and cats that live in tropical and hot climates.

SCC that forms in the mouth is one of the most aggressive cancers found in cats. But, scientists and researchers are constantly fighting against SCC, and have found some fairly good methods to treat and improve the chances of survival.

Symptoms of Skin Cell Carcinoma

  • Black crust on ears, nose and eyelids
  • Be more vigilant in white cats as well if you’re in a hot country

Symptoms of Mouth Cell Carcinoma

  • Bad breath
  • Excessive drooling
  • Dental problems
  • Eating problems, thus weight loss

Preventing Cancer in Cats

All cancers are being actively researched for animals and humans, obviously. Researchers and scientists are hoping for feline cancers to be prevented.

Feline Lymphoma

Feline lymphoma is directly connected to FeLV infection, vets will recommend you get the FeLV vaccination and will completely reduce the chances of your cat getting feline lymphoma. Like most vaccines, it’s not 100% effective and it’s been shown that some cats with the vaccine have developed Feline lymphoma but it’s still highly effective.

It’s also known that cats that are exposed to tobacco smoke are more likely to develop Feline lymphomas, particularly in the intestines and stomach. Thus, vets advise cats to live in a smoke-free home to reduce this cancer.

Fibrosarcoma Presentation

The main prevention of fibrosarcoma is down to vaccinations. Vets recommend you do not have your cat vaccinated unless your cat is at risk of getting the disease. If your breed is at low-risk of getting the disease, you may want to reduce the frequency of injections.

Vets are now administrating injections into the hind legs due to evidence of injections in between the neck and shoulders causing fibrosarcoma. If this is the case, it’s important to note the area and make sure there are no lumps within two weeks of the injection being administered.

Advice for Cat Cancer Prevention

The first bit of advice for cancer in cats is not to panic at any point. Also to note, there’s many cancers that can’t be prevented. It’s likely down to genes that causes cancer, similar to humans. However, if you’re wanting to take some more precautions in this case, we’ve found some below:

  • Neutering
  • High-quality food
  • Reduce Obesity
  • Reduce smoking
  • Be careful with harmful chemicals

All of these are known to prevent all the types of cancer listed above.

The most important aspect of finding cancer is constantly checking for signs of it. And also have your cat tested for viruses, like FeLV. And any concerns at all, contact a vet from your local practice. All of these will increase the chances of your cat’s survival.

Info & Resources