Bump or Lump on Cat? | PetFirst Pet Insurance
Pet Care & Health

Bump or Lump on Cat? Cat abscess, feline acne, tumors… we break it down

by PetFirst Pet Insurance
4 years ago
These are only a couple of reasons for lumps and bumps to occur on your cat. Be certain not to jump to conclusions if you find any lumps or bumps on your cat. Visit a veterinarian as soon as possible and allow the veterinarian to take a look at it. The lump or bump could be as simple as a bee sting.

Cats can develop small bumps, known as papules, or large bumps, known as nodules, on their skin. If you hear the word “tumor,” this means your cat has an abnormal growth and tumors are often associated with some type of cancer. When you hear a cat has a “lump,” you may also immediately think cancer is the cause; however, there are many reasons your cat would develop these.

Common Lumps and Bumps on Cats

Cat Abscess

A cat abscess is essentially a bubble of pus on your cat which is resulting in a lump. An abscess in a cat is often caused as a result of a bite from another cat and indicates an infection is present. When you feel these, they will feel firm and you are often able to tell they are full of fluid. These vary in shape and size.

Cat with an abscess on its head from a bite wound

Symptoms which accompany a cat abscess include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Depression

When you take your cat into the veterinarian, your veterinarian will analyze your cat’s history and will often needle aspirate the abscess.

Treatment for an abscess requires surgery. During surgery, the veterinarian will open the abscess, drain the abscess and clean the abscess. Following surgery, antibiotics will be prescribed.

Basal Cell Tumors in Cats

Basal cell tumors are the most common skin tumor in cats. These tumors begin as benign tumors and may become cancerous if not taken care of.

Symptoms of a basal cell tumor in cats include:

  • Single, fluid filled modules on the skin
  • Generally located on head, neck and chest
  • May be a different color than your cat’s skin

Your veterinarian will perform a biopsy to ensure the tumor is not cancerous.

If the biopsy results indicate the tumor is cancerous, surgical removal is necessary. If the tumor is non-cancerous, surgical removal is optional and may or may not be recommended based on your cat’s age and history.

Bee Sting

Although surprising, your cat may develop lumps and bumps from a bee, hornet or wasp sting. Skin reactions can vary from minor to major dependent upon how your cat’s body reacts.

Symptoms from a cat bee sting vary but often include one or all of the following:

  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Itching
  • Pain
  • Hives

Your cat’s history will be taken into consideration for the diagnosis. A physical examination will also be performed.

Treatment of a bee sting varies dependent upon the severity of the reaction. Antihistamines and/or steroids are the common treatment.

Feline Acne

Feline acne can occur one time or multiple times. This is most commonly noticed in the chin area and can become severe if not recognized.

Symptoms of feline acne include:

  • Blackheads on chin and lips
  • Nodules on chin
  • Itching
  • Swelling

A physical examination is necessary to diagnose feline acne to ensure there are no underlying medical problems. A skin biopsy is also often necessary.

Treatment of feline acne often includes some type of medical shampoo, Vitamin A to be placed topically on your cat’s skin and/or antibiotics.

Fibrosarcoma in Cats

Fibrosarcoma is an aggressive tumor which often occurs at the site of a vaccination or injection. This may be induced by FeLV. These tumors are rapidly growing.

Symptoms of fibrosarcoma in cats include:

  • Irregular-shaped, firm nodule on your cat

In order to determine if your cat has fibrosarcoma, a biopsy is necessary.

If the results of the biopsy indicate your cat has fibrosarcoma, surgical removal may be recommended. Since the tumor is aggressive and invasive, a large area around the tumor must be removed as well. This sometimes takes a large portion of your cat’s muscle and/or bone. If the tumor is on the leg, amputation of the leg is often recommended. Chemotherapy and radiation may also be recommended.

Mast Cell Tumor

Cat Mast cell tumors are common forms of cancer and are graded on a scale of 1-4. A one is a slow-growing tumor whereas a four is a rapidly forming, aggressive cancerous tumor. Most cats are found at grade 1.

Symptoms of a mast cell tumor include:

  • Tumor of any size, appearance or number

A biopsy is utilized to determine if the tumor is cancerous. If the tumor is cancerous, the veterinarian will then grade the tumor on a scale of 1-4.

Treatment varies based on the severity of the tumor. Surgical removal of the tumor and surrounding area is often the first step. Once the tumor is removed, chemotherapy and radiation may be necessary.

Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.

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