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Treatment Options For Feline Cancer Include Chemotherapy For Cats

Updated on May 14, 2009
Darlene Norris profile image

Darlene Norris loves cats and dogs. She has worked as a vet assistant, and draws on this experience when she writes her hubs.

Knowing your options for treating feline cancer enables you to make wise decisions when caring for your pet.
Knowing your options for treating feline cancer enables you to make wise decisions when caring for your pet.

If you're like most cat owners, you don't even like to think about feline cancer. But if your pet has been diagnosed with this disease, you have many questions you need answered.
Cancer in cats used to be a death sentence for felines, but there have been many advances in veterinary medicine over the past several years that may add several years to your kitty's life. Here's what you can expect from your vet.

What Is Tumor Staging?

Your vet will run several tests so that he or she can find out how extensive the feline tumor is. Blood tests, x-rays, urinalysis, a thin needle aspirate, and a biopsy are among the tests that will be done.

Once your vet knows whether or not the tumor has spread, a treatment plan can be finalized. Your vet will explain your pet's prognosis (what you can expect as the disease progresses), the treatments available, and the treatment goals.  

Cancer that is localized has the best chance of being cured. However, if feline cancer has already spread, or metastisized, it's probably not curable. Your vet will talk to you about keeping your pet comfortable.  

There are three main types of cancer therapy for cats.


Tumors that haven't spread are often removed surgically. This may not be possible for some types of feline tumors, since some are inoperable.  

Feline Chemotherapy

It's interesting that the same chemo drugs that are given to human cancer patients are also used in chemotherapy for cats. However, chemo in cats isn't meant to cure the disease, just to slow it down, by reducing the number of cancerous cells in your kitty's body.

Although hair loss, vomiting, and diarrhea can be side effects of chemo in cats, most felines tolerate the treatment well. Your kitty may lose his whiskers, but most of the time, a cat's fur doesn't fall out. You'll notice that in areas that were shaved for surgery, it'll take longer for his fur to grow back than it normally would.
Feline Radiation Treatments

Radiation is very effective for some types of cancer, but not for others. Radiation works by damaging cancer cells so they can't divide. Radiation treatments can be used if surgery can't be done, or if all the cancer couldn't be removed surgically.

Can Natural Remedies For Cats Help?

You may want to try treating your cat with holistic treatments that include herbal and homeopathic remedies, and dietary changes. These treatments often make your kitty more comfortable, and increase his quality of life. Most vets are happy to try alternative treatments. It's important, though, to check with your vet to avoid any medication interactions with herbal remedies.

You Need To Decide If You Should Treat Feline Cancer

Not all owners decide to go through with treatment for cancer in cats. It's very expensive. The endless trips to the vet's office for treatment eat up a lot of time, too. In some cases, the treatment must be continued for the rest of your pet's life.  

You may not be able to afford treatment, or you may not think it's worth it to extend your cat's life for a few more months. Only you can make this decision. 

When it comes to cancer in cats, there aren't any easy answers. However, you can make wise decisions only when you know what the treatment options are.  


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