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Felinexpress.com Home > Cat Health > Lumps on Cats

Lumps on Cats

Cats will occasionally get lumps under their skin.

  • Lumps can be caused by an infected cat bite that has turned into an abscess.
  • Lumps can occur if the cat has a reaction to an injection.
  • Lumps can be hernias
  • Lumps can happen if the cat suffers some sort of trauma.
  • Lumps can be cysts or tumors
  • Lumps can also be cancerous. Though, not all lumps ARE.

Abscesses in cats
If your cat has been in a fight, let the cat calm down for a few hours. Unless the cat bite is so severe that it is immediately visible, waiting a few hours for the cat to become calm won’t matter.

Once the cat is at rest, go and sit down next to him. Take your hand and pass it over his body. Do not touch his hair or skin. You want to be just above the hair by about half-an-inch. Your palm should be downward and your hand flat.

Pass your hand all along the body, paying special attention to the chest, under the front legs, the neck and base of the tail. These are typical areas where cat bites occur.  You are looking for heat to come up and hit your hand. Heat indicates infection. If you meet heat with your hand, then slowly circle the area feeling for the hot spot. Once you find the hot spot, you will locate the cat bite.

Cat bites do not abscess right away. If your cat has a lump and the lump is giving off heat or draining fluid, get your cat to the vet immediately. The vet will debreed the wound and prescribe antibiotics to stop the infection. Untreated abscesses can take a cat’s life. Get to the vet quickly.

Reactions to vaccines
Cats can react to getting an injection. The tissue can become sensitive and inflamed depending on what type of shot the cat received and if the serum was a dead virus or a live one.

 The danger with some injections is known as VAS Vaccine-Associated-Sarcomas.  VAS is a complex issue. VAS is currently being studied and researched with procedures in play to help remove the cancerous tissue.   

Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine as assembled a VAS Task Force to tackle this complicated issue. A report of their findings can be found in the June issue of The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. 

Cats can also abscess at the injection site. If that happens call your vet immediately.

Fibro sarcomas can also form at injection sites in some cats. This is a malignant form of cancer and needs to be dealt with swiftly.

If you are vaccinating your cat, please use caution and speak to your vet. Try to pace out the vaccinations. Instead of taking a three-way, ask to break it up into individual injections. Be sure that your vet is injecting in the leg and not between the shoulder blades.  Also talk to your vet about intranasal vaccines.

Hernias in cats
If the lump has been visible for a long period of time, or the cat has recently had a traumatic fall, the cat could have a hernia. 

Hernias are tears in the body wall. These tears allow for the passage of tissue or organs that should otherwise stay in one place. Hernias can also be formed at birth.

Some hernias are just a cosmetic problem while others can be dangerous to the cat’s health or even become deadly. 

If you suspect your cat has a hernia, call your vet for an appointment.

Trauma in cats
If your cat has recently suffered a traumatic injury, he may come down with swelling and lumps. The blood collects under the skin, causing the swelling. The lump will need to be examined by a vet. He will then choose the best course of action.

Cysts or tumors in cats
Cats can get cysts and tumors from trauma, or for no apparent reason:

Fatty Tumor in cats- Obese, older cats are most at risk for this.  The loose fat collects into a small pouch which over time forms a soft cyst. Your vet should perform a biopsy just to be safe.

Dermoid cysts- rare in cats, but they do occur; an epidermal cyst that will appear on the head of the cat, or midline down their back. They are more common in certain breeds of dogs.

Cutaneous horns- these growths resemble warts with a hard crusty surface. There should be a biopsy performed immediately as these horns can indicate the presence of FeLV or squamous cell sarcoma.

Horn cysts- hard crusty lumps that appear on the cat’s face or the pads of the feet. 

Basal Cell Tumors- The most common type of tumor to appear on cats. Generally these tumors are benign, but they still need to be dealt with because left intact to grow they can become malignant.

Cuterebra- this lump shows movement when looked at closely. The cuterebra fly burrows in under the skin and lays her eggs. When the vet opens up the lump, he can then destroy the larvae.

Cryptococcosis- found in outdoor cats, these lumps form from exposure to infected bird droppings. Unable to fight the fungus due to a lowered immune system the cat develops lumps.  The cat needs to see a vet.

Sebaceous cyst- one of the most common types of cyst on a cat. These cysts are benign.

Lymphoma- malignant cancer that needs to be immediately dealt with

Mammary cancer- 85% of this type of cancer is malignant. Found only in female cats that have not been spayed. Without veterinary intervention the cat can die. Sometimes, even with a vet’s assistance, the cat will die.  The best way too prevent this cancer? SPAY YOUR CATS!

Skin cancer- Common in white or light colored cats. Even inside cats can get skin cancer if they lay in the sun to long. Sunblock  can be safely applied to the nose and ears.

Cats can get lumps from allergies, insect stings, and insect bites tick invasion. If the lump is bothering you, or if it is bothering your cat, see your vet! Better safe than sorry.


Mary Anne Miller is a freelance writer, website content provider and member of The Cat Writers’ Association. Her expertise lies in feral cat socialization, bottle babies and animal abuse issues.

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