Non-Cancerous masses and tumours in cats

Julia Dicconson
Content Manager
September 27, 2021

If your cat has been diagnosed with a non-cancerous (benign) mass or tumour, or multiple tumours, knowing more about this condition can help you provide them with a better quality of life. Non-cancerous tumours are common in cats. 

What is a non-cancerous mass or tumour?

A non-cancerous mass is an abnormal growth of cells that do not display cancer characteristics or malignancy. Common non-cancerous tumours in cats include basal cell tumours of the skin and lipomas, also known as “fatty tumours”. 

Benign tumours can arise from many cell types and occur anywhere in the body. Some non-cancerous tumour types can become malignant if not surgically removed.

What are common signs of non-cancerous mass or tumour in cats?

Early signs include:

  • A lump on or under the skin surface

Intermediate or advanced signs include:

  • Difficulty walking or moving around normally
  • Difficulty breathing, if the tumour puts pressure on the lungs
  • Vomiting or diarrhoea, if the tumour is in the gastrointestinal tract
  • Neurologic signs, if the tumour puts pressure on the brain
  • Abdominal distension or fluid accumulation, if an abdominal tumour grows large

While your cat’s tumour may be non-cancerous, it can still cause life-threatening complications if it grows large, invades nearby tissue, or interferes with normal body functions.

Lethargy can be a sign of a non-cancerous mass, or tumour, in cats.

How are non-cancerous masses or tumours managed in cats? 

A small, non-invasive tumour may not cause problems for your cat and can often be monitored for changes. Surgical removal is typically recommended for tumours that grow rapidly, are invasive, interfere with normal body functions, or may become cancerous. Discussing a personalised management plan with your vet, and possibly a veterinary oncologist, is important for the best outcome for your cat. 

What is the prognosis for cats?

The prognosis depends on the size, location, and invasiveness of your cat’s tumour. Small, non-invasive tumours often cause few or no issues for cats, but larger, more invasive tumours, or those that interfere with normal body functions, can cause life-threatening complications and have a poorer prognosis. 

Management tips for a cat with a non-cancerous mass or tumour

At-home needs include:

  • Easy access to food, water, and litter box, and a comfortable location
  • Consistency with prescribed medications
  • Close monitoring for tumour growth or systemic disease signs
  • Post-surgical care, as recommended by your vet

For end-of-life care:

In a crisis:

Immediately contact your vet if your cat develops loss of appetite, vomiting, or diarrhoea; has difficulty breathing, neurologic signs, seizures, or abdominal distension; 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. 

At Goodbye Good Boy, we provide home euthanasia services to support loving owners in providing a peaceful passing for their beloved pets.

The team at Goodbye Good Boy offers individualised support to help you and your family navigate this difficult time by providing quality-of-life checks, in-home euthanasia, cremation and aftercare services, and personalised memorialisation options. 

To learn more about our pet end-of-life services, give our team of passionate pet lovers a call on 1800 953 619.

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