Nasal tumours in cats

If your cat has been diagnosed with a nasal tumour, knowing more about the disease can help you provide them with a better quality of life.

Nasal tumours represent about 1% of all feline cancers. 

What is a nasal tumour?

A nasal tumour is an uncontrolled growth of cells on the nose surface or in the nasal cavity. The majority of nasal tumours in cats are malignant and locally invasive, but do not usually spread to other organs. 

Nasal tumours can be an external squamous cell carcinoma, intranasal lymphoma or carcinoma. Intranasal tumour signs can mimic a foreign body in the nose, fungal or bacterial infections, chronic rhinitis, tooth root abscess, or blood clotting disorders.

What are common nasal tumour signs in cats?

Early signs include:

  • Crusting on the nose
  • Loud snoring
  • Sneezing
  • Reclusive behaviour

Intermediate or advanced signs include:

  • Oozing lesion on the nose
  • Rubbing or pawing at the nose
  • Frequent nosebleeds
  • Eye discharge
  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Facial deformity
  • Disorientation

Redness or crusting of the nose are signs of nasal tumour in cats.

How are nasal tumours managed in cats? 

The first step in nasal tumour management in cats is addressing pain and any underlying infection. The preferred treatment is radiation therapy, but chemotherapy may be considered. Cryotherapy or surgery can be used for a small squamous cell carcinoma. 

Cats with nasal tumours need regular veterinary visits to monitor their status and prognosis. Discussing a personalised management plan with your vet and a veterinary oncologist is important for the best outcome for your cat.

What is the prognosis for cats?

The prognosis depends on the tumour type and how early the cancer was treated. Without treatment, the median survival time for cats with a nasal tumour is less than three months. 

Complete squamous cell carcinoma excision can be curative. The median survival time for cats after radiation therapy ranges from 6 to 18 months.

Management tips for a cat with nasal tumours

At-home needs include:

  • Easy access to food, water, and litter box, and a comfortable location
  • Consistency with any prescribed medications
  • Monitoring breathing, nasal appearance and discharge, appetite and energy level
  • Avoiding smoking in the house and using an air purifier
  • Keeping your cat with a squamous cell carcinoma out of the sun

For end-of-life care:

In a crisis:

Immediately contact your vet if your cat has uncontrollable bleeding, excessive sneezing, or difficulty breathing; appears disoriented; collapses; or vocalises in pain.

It is vital to begin end-of-life care discussions before your cat’s condition becomes unmanageable, or they begin losing their quality of life. 

The team at Goodbye Good Boy offers individualised support to help you and your family navigate this progressive disease by providing quality-of-life checks, in-home euthanasia, cremation and aftercare services, and personalised memorialisation options. Our services can even be pre-paid to help ease the financial burden at the time of your pet’s passing. 

To learn more about our pet end-of-life services, give us a call on 1800 953 619 or visit our website

This article was reproduced with permission from Goodbye Good Boy advisor Dr Dani McVety, of Lap Of Love.