Like dogs, cats suffer from a wide range of cancers, particularly as they get older, however there are some forms of cancer that are more common than others:
· Intestinal cancers – tumours affecting the intestine or connective tissue associated with the intestine are sadly all too common in older cats and typically lead to symptoms including going off food, weight loss vomiting and diarrhoea. Diagnosis is generally made manually by the vet feeling a lump in the cat’s abdomen, with confirmation coming with a ultrasound scan or exploratory operation. Unfortunately these tumours tend to be very difficult to treat as they commonly spread around the abdomen and in most cases despite modern medical therapies, the outlook is very poor indeed.
· Skin cancer of the ear tips – this may sound like a rather unusual disease but cats with white fur are very susceptible to cancerous growths on their ear tips which have little pigment or fur to protect them. In fact this problem is so serious that in Australia white eared cats routinely have their ear tips removed to reduce the risk of them developing cancer. Thankfully it is less of a problem in the UK but it still does happen and the best way to deal with it is by using high factor sun block – simply apply this to the tips of your cat’s ears each morning in summer if you have a cat with white ears.