Even Cats Get Cancer

January 20, 2010 at 11:12 am , by

IMG_0674My wife and I learned a term the other day, a term we wish we had come across earlier so that when we did hear of it—from our vet—it would not have knocked our happy family so hard: feline fibrosarcoma. This is a rare form of cancer in cats that’s malignant and fast-spreading; the tumor that hit our nine-year-old Lydia (at right), showed up in mid-December on her left side. The biopsy results confirmed our vet’s initial suspicion. He’s seen a few other recent cases, and since feline fibrosarcoma is caused by vaccination, he could read Lydia’s shot history in her medical file. The vet did surgery as quickly as he could and now we’re waiting for Lydia to heal. So far the sarcoma has not spread but the vet says it’s likely to.

Anyone else have this happen to their beloved cat? I’d love to find someone out there who’s been through this, so if you have any experiences to share, thanks in advance. Feline fibrosarcoma is not an immediate death sentence but its survival rates apparently vary widely. Lydia has used up a couple of her lives already so we’re hoping she has quite a few more to count on!

28 Responses to “Even Cats Get Cancer”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by LHJ Health Editors, Jennifer Ragland. Jennifer Ragland said: I know :( RT @lhjHealthLadies Even cats get cancer http://bit.ly/75vMLE [...]

  2. Oscar, our 3 year old had a fibrosarcoma. It was devestating for us but the good news is that he survived. We had a fabulous vet oncologist and surgeon who worked as a team and we attribute Oscar’s survival to their skill. We know that the disease can come back so we check him regularly; but one year later he is in great shape.

  3. In September, my healthy 9-year old indoor cat developed a fibrosarcoma that came out of nowhere and grew very large within a few weeks. We had it surgically removed, and biopsy confirmed fibrosarcoma. The doctor noted that it would most likely grow back within 3 to 12 months. Well, it did. It grew back by January and I decided not to pursue another surgery(the doctor said it would keep returning and radiation would not do much to prolong her life). By the first week of February I finally saw my cat suffering(prior to then, she was acting perfectly normal even with the large growth) and I had her euthanized during the second week of February, because she couldn’t even move, eat or drink anymore. The doctor said it was probably vaccine-related and very rare, and there was not much more I could have done for her. My poor baby…I miss her but I know she’s in a place where she’s not suffering anymore…

  4. My 13 yr old indoor cat, Punkin, was diagnosed with fibrosarcoma YESTERDAY and i am very scared.
    A week ago he was perfectly fine and now…this.
    i am so scared for my boy.
    i had to go to a new vet to hear this devastating news too. Our former vet moved away…this is such a horrible time for our family and without the support of our beloved vet, i am at a loss as to what to do for my Mr P.
    It is located in his right shoulder and the nasty vet doesnt think it can be surgically removed as there isnt enough tissue there…
    i am waiting on the needle biopsy results now.
    Please purrr for Punkin.

  5. Dale Eggers, I am so sorry to have heard your bad news. I wish there were something I could do for you and Mr. P. My understanding is that with fibrosarcoma you can cut out the cancer but because it so fast-growing and hard to totally remove it will return—perhaps with a terrible vengeance. So far our Lydia is holding up well—her mass has returned and gotten bigger and it is not operable but her appetite is great (ferocious!) and she is getting around well, so we are just hoping against hope that she will be with us for a long time and not in pain. Good luck to you and your family (including Mr P) and please keep me posted. Ciao, Tom and Lydia

  6. Amy, Sorry, I was away from my desk for a LONG time owing to having been unable to get home because of the air traffic stoppage from the Iceland volcano and when I did get back have been so busy I neglected all blogging. I am sorry to have heard your news—that prognosis is the exact one that our vet prescribed for Lydia, one which we hope to forestall for a while, at least. I can tell you that once a few years ago my wife and I had to euthanize a longhaired red female, Molly, who was with me for 23 years. Then Lydia found us a couple of years after that and gave us a litter one of whom we kept, Dinah, spit and image the same as Molly. Some things you can never figure out but there is a meaning to it all. I hope another cat comes your way soon and that he or she is everything you want and need. Ciao, my heart is with you, Tom

  7. Lori, that is GREAT news and I hope that Oscar is cancer free forever. Please keep us posted, thank you, ciao, Tom

  8. Hi, everyone, as of this evening Lydia is JUST FINE!!! Hugs and kisses keep every cat healthy everywhere . . .

  9. Hi everyone. I work on a cruise ship and just got a phone call from my mom. My handsome Shelby, a long hair ginger cat – a true Garfield that loves everyone, has a growth on his leg and the vet said they think it’s Feline Fibrosarcoma. Has anyone had to go through amputating their cat’s leg? I hate that I’m not home. My next day home is in January. I miss my baby like crazy and my mom is terrified. She loves him as much as I do and spoils him terribly while I’m gone at sea. She has an appointment on Tuesday with a specialist.

  10. My cat (Scooter) had a sore on her ear which turned out to be cancer. I had the ear partially amputated. The results were the area was clean. In about 2 months, the same ear had the same type lesion. Turned out it was cancer again. Had the ear totally amputated. Lump appeared right below the ear, had this removed. It is cancer again. I have decided not to do anything else to her because it has taken so long for the last excised area to heal. All this happened in April, 2010 until present. I do not want to inflict any more pain on her. She is eating but losing weight. I am supposed to carry her back to the vet tomorrow for a follow up. She now has two more of these cancers. She is still a loving cat. The vet techs also had to bind her leg and this was too tight and no blood circulation> I did not know this had happened until the bindings were removed. Would not recommend unless the vet does it and it is not too tight. I am still praying for the best outcome.

  11. Mary: Good luck with Scooter, I am hoping for the best. Lydia is not doing well at all and I think my wife and I will be taking her for her final ride to the vet before the month is out. It is a hard question when: Is she in terrible pain? Agony? Can she eat? Would she be better off if she were not here? Hard questions all. Good luck, Scooter . . . Ciao, Tom

  12. Hello. Tom, if you check in, is Lydia still with you. Any news on Scooter, Oscar, Shelby and Mr. P? Bless you all. If anybody is out there I’d love to hear from you. My 13 year-old and very robust Ella came up with a fibrosarcoma on her left shoulder some months back. We had it removed and our vet recommended taking her arm to her shoulder should it return. That time has come. We had a CT scan that confirmed cancer was not beyond the shoulder and that there are no abnormal lesions seen within the rest of her body. Our vet says by removing the limb Ella will be cancer free. Does anyone know if cancer returns with any regularity elsewhere in the body after having an affected limb removed? Thank you. Rhonda & Ella

  13. Dear Rhonda: Sorry, I can’t answer your question. I can hope though that your vet has his or her info right. And that Ella pulls through. I haven’t had the heart to update Lydia’s story but truth be told, my wife and I had to take her to the vet for a final visit. It was three Fridays ago today and we probably should have done so earlier because her tumors eventually broke through the skin and we had at that point to wait for our vet to get back—he was out for two days. We buried her under her favorite catnip plant, a huge well-established plant that has deep roots. I could tie the stalks back to give myself clear digging room; once the earth was replaced and the catnip untied Lydia would be forever in its penumbra . . . Good luck to Ella, please keep us all posted, thanks. Ciao, Tom

  14. my cat was diagnosed with fibrosarcoma in march of 2006. we decided to have her leg amputated and she made out ok. now a new lump has appeared and they think it is fibrosarcoma again. my cat is 13 yrs old and i have decided not to put her through another surgery. i hope i am making the correct decision.

  15. Heidi: My heart goes out to you and your cat and yes, I believe that you are making the right decision, both for you and for your cat. My wife ad I probably waited a week too long—by the time we acted Lydia’s masses were rupturing and it was not pretty. We had to jury-rig a poultice of sorts and the smell of blood permeated our bedroom. Let’s not revisit that. Suffice it to say that you gave your poor cat an extra few years and for that there will no doubt be a place reserved in heaven for you, just as there is one in cat heaven for him or her. Good luck, ciao, Tom

  16. Tom -
    thanks for the note, you do not know how much it helps to hear the advise of others who have gone through the same things.

    Thanks, so far she shows no sign of anything being wrong, but i know that will change soon enough.


  17. Hello Tom, did Lydia have any type of chemo or raditation therepy after her tumor removal? My cat was just diagnosed with Fibrosarcoma. The tumor has been removed and my vet recommended chemo and/or radiation. I am hopeful this treatment will prolong Emmitt’s life, so I am curious if Lydia had this type of treatment.

  18. Dear Erin: Our vet offered chemo to us but with the forewarning that it would not put off the inevitable, so we opted not to do it. With luck and great love and care (and hopefully an early diagnosis and removal), your cat will respond well to chemo. I certainly hope so, for your sake as well as Emmitt’s. Take care and have a wonderful holiday season, ciao, Tom

  19. I have a 12 YO Egyptian mau that was diagnosed in March with this. We removed a huge section but a few months later it was back. The vet felt it was pointless to remove again. It has been rgeowing very rapidly and is now at the point you’re talking about. he has licked it too mich and it is ruptured and bleeding just starting today. I really hate making this call, particularly when my kids look at me with their sad eyes. for now he is eating and fairly normal, though unhappy about being confined to a cage. however, I think even with the best care his life is down to weeks now.

    I am annoyed with the medical community on this though. they tout that it is “very rare” and I think they are very wrong. I think it is very undiagnosed as being vaccine related. And there are safe vaccines out there like purevax, but most vets don’t stock them because they are more expensive. If vaccines for children caused this type of problem or in this frequency there would be an outlaw of the vaccine, but they force it on tons of people who have no idea of the risks. My guy’s must have come from the rabies vaccine . He is completely indoors and isolated, zero risk of rabies, so now he will die for something that in my opinion was never necessary. So sad.

  20. Beth W: Thank you and I agree totally with you. I do believe that the vaccine makers have discovered that the adjuvants in some vaccines were the cause of this grave disorder/problem and that that situation has been addressed. Please remember that not every cat gets fibrosarcoma owing to vaccination—for instance, our Dinah, Lydia’s daughter (one of four in her litter), rec’d her vaccinations on the same day that Lydia did and Dinah has not gotten ill (and we check her every day). Why Lydia proved susceptible and Dinah did not is a mystery. I do know however that my wife and I felt (it has lessened a little with time) guilty for having been so complacent in seeing to it that our cats got their shots annually. As though we were protecting them, when in fact we hurt one of them. That is sad. Also sad is the fact that Lydia did not deserve to die. It was too soon and should never have happened. I used to blame myself. Now I am not so sure. But it is still so close in time that I get teary even thinking about it and her last moments. I only hope that spring comes quickly and with it that the catnip bush she is buried under blooms so magnificently that all the bees in Fairfield County come to visit her grave site and pay her homage, and after that that the American goldfinches and hummingbirds and butterflies (Eastern swallowtails and monarchs mostly, though there are some sulphurs too) do too. She deserves it, as she does a place in my memory. I never had or held a cat quite like her. Exquisite ball of fur and fire. My wife’s computer wallpaper, my sweet memory.
    My heart goes out to you. I hope you do the right thing by your cat (we waited too long) and that no matter what else, you and your family make it through the new year with smiles enough to go all the way around and wonderful memories of your feline visitor/friend. I sometimes think that cats are not ours but that they let us borrow them for a while just to tease us with what a really beautiful form means, to tantalize us with what life on the other side might be like . . .
    I am truly sorry for your cat and your family, ciao, Tom

  21. Tom,
    I found this blog looking for more information concerning Fibrosarcoma. Here is my story:
    My fiance’s 13yr female has just got her biopsy results earlier today; the result was Fibrosarcoma. It was removed last week. The events surrounding the surgery were very stressful for Ariadna(fiance). The fact that we live on opposite sides of the Pacific Ocean do not help, I wish I could be there for her.
    Unfortunately her cat, Luby, has another, although smaller, palpable tumor. She is debating whether to sugicaly remove this one also. Both are surrounding the mammaries. This last surgery involved removing one Mammary.
    If it were my choice I would not put her through more surgery with the chance of cancer returning so high. It’s hard to say this to Ariadna, she loves her cats so much.

    Since I’ve seen previous mention of Vaccines – Luby has never been to the vet in all of her 13yrs, always indoor and not one Vaccine prior to diagnosing the lumps. Other than lumps, Luby seemed exceptionly healthy for her age.
    Logically, I think it’s genetic.

    Thank you everyone for sharing your stories, it helps to hear what others have done in this situation.

    I will light a candle with some prayers for all of our loved little creatures. :D

  22. Dear Robert: Best of luck to everyone concerned and your story is news to me—I had thought that feline fibrosarcoma was a direct result of the adjuvants that formerly had been put in vaccines to make them immediately effective, some cats (only a small percentage) getting cancer therefrom. But no matter, I hope your fiancee’s cat pulls through. Good luck and keep your head up. Ciao, Tom

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  27. I took my 3 very healthy cats to the vet end of September 2012 and had them checked out and updated on their vaccines after losing a stray kitten that I had taken in from distemper. Just two nights ago, January 2013, I found a lump in the back of my large and lovely female’s leg. It was hard and about the size of an egg. I got her in to the vet yesterday fearing the worst, especially after doing a little online research the night I found it. It’s likely a fibrosarcoma at the vaccination site from the September vaccines. The biopsy results will be in late today or tomorrow. The more I read, the more upset I get. My heart hurts. Even with putting her through a radical amputation (which I’m torn over whether to even do or not), the prognosis seems grim. She’s not even 5 years old. I watched her bathing herself on the couch last night and was sad to tears wondering if she’s even aware of how dire her situation is. I asked my vet is this happens often and she said no but as I’m reading all of these stories here an elsewhere, I’m finding that very hard to believe. The manufacturers and veterinarians seem all too aware of it for it to be so ‘rare’. The fact that many vets now give these vaccines in the hind legs for the express reason of easy removal (amputation) in the chance this cancer appears tells me that it happens way more often than is being admitted. I’m so angry that my cat has to go through either amputation in order to have a few more years of life or even death all because of ‘preventative medicine’. The fact that this is a known occurrence but is not offered to pet owners to make an informed decision before these vaccinations are given absolutely infuriates me.

  28. I am so sad right now, two hours ago I got the call from my vet saying that my13-year-old cats tumor that they removed on Saturday is Vaccine related fiber sarcoma, I caught it fairly early and the tumor was not connected to the muscle, My mother lost her cat about two years ago her tumor was in the muscle And there was nothing they could do for her, I’m trying to keep my hopes high but I will be taking her to see an oncologist