October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Did you know that cats can develop breast cancer? My cat Theresa passed away from it in October 2001. I found the first tumor when I did a monthly exam on her. I read in an article (I think it was early 90’s) in Catnip (a newsletter from Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine) about breast cancer in cats and how to do an exam on your cats. It’s simple to do. Just feel down your cat’s chest along the mammary glands and feel for any pea size lumps. If you do, make an appointment with your veterinarian. What happened with Theresa was that I felt the lump and took her to the vet the next day. It was cancer and it was devastating to learn. She was twenty years old at the time she was diagnosed. After much soul searching and talking to my uncle who is a veterinarian I decided to have her operated on. She had her first mastectomy and removed the lump and the mammary gland along with it. Then another lump was found and another mastectomy was done. Then another lump was found on her head and a lumpectomy was done. However, after a couple of months since the lumpectomy I found seven tumors in various places. That’s when I decided enough with operations. I just made her comfortable until she passed away in my arms at the age of 21. I was a heart wrenching year but if I hadn’t found the first lump that year would never had been. We spent as much quality time together as possible and that I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
So please check your cat monthly for mammary tumors.