Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Don't forget the kitties #breastcancerawareness



When the world first started talking about breast cancer it was a very very good thing. Too many people suffered in silence. Back then one simply did not talk about any part of the body that was even remotely sexual, so if anything went wrong with them you were embarrassed and hid away from the world to deal with it. Today it is such a common topic that it has almost turned into a punch line.

Terms like 'pink-washing' are starting to permeate this 'save the boobies' culture and we are starting to see that a lot of what is going on in support of breast cancer is a sham. This is also a good thing, but I hope that because of all this people don't stop talking and learning and saving people with breast cancer.

But in all of this, and as a cat blogger, I want to say: Do not forget the cats.


Mammary cancer is thought to effect 1 in 4000 cats, roughly half the rate that it does in dogs, but when it happens in a cat it is often malignant. It is the third most common form of cancer among cats and it generally strikes cats between the ages of 10-12 but is not limited to that time frame. Siamese, Oriental and DSH are affected more frequently.

Mammary cancer in cats is hormone driven. Cats who are spayed before their first heat cycle have a 91% reduction in their chances of developing it and cats who are spayed before their first year have an 86% reduction. Be aware that there is still a risk. Also, having a male cat doesn't exempt you from keeping an eye out for this. While it is rare, male cats can and do develop it.


Discovering mammary cancer is as easy as patting your cats belly. Some cats love this and some cats don't, but it is necessary to put your hands on your cat on a regular basis so you can feel the lumps and bumps on your kitty and find any new ones while they are small and hopefully easier to take care of. It is a good idea to do a self kitty exam on a fairly regular basis, not only to discover any possible tumors, but also cysts, matted hair, even arthritis.


I am guessing you are probably thinking that you have no idea what you are feeling, and if so you aren't alone. It isn't important that you know what you are feeling, but that what you are feeling feels the same as it did last week and the week before. Not sure if a lump you are feeling is 'something', make note of it.  Try to make a reference in your head of what size it is; is it the size of a lentil? pea sized? lima bean sized?  You will want to see if it grows over time - but do yourself a favor, don't play with it every day, you'll obsess. If you can't ignore it, then it is time to get your kitty to a vet for a professional assessment if it is an issue or not.

Early detection is key. Knowing your cat is key to being able to detect these things early. So manhandle your kitty and do it in the name of keeping them healthy.

references for more reading:

21 comments:

  1. I'm glad I was spayed when I was, so my breast cancer risk is so much lower. And of course I do not mind the exams. Tummy rubs are always welcome!

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  2. Wow, very informative. You guys rock! These informations are very appreciated.

    Emma and Buster

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  3. Excellent post! I worry about my cats getting this because so many were strays and not fixed until I got them.

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  4. Thank you for sharing this! I've been affected by breast cancer more than I would have liked in the past few years, unfortunately. I'd like to write a blog post sometime this month, but am not sure which angle I want to use... Back in 2012, I had my cat put down due to malignant breast cancer.

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    1. Oh Ann, I'm so sorry about your kitty. And I am sure you'll come up with a wonderful blog post

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  5. This is a good post.

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  6. An excellent post! Since I've just begun to pet Sweetie, my friendly feral, I know I can touch her belly now. I'll check her out, and I am sorry that Ann lost her kitty. My sister has survived breast cancer, and I get my screenings yearly, because it could run in the family. The Hubby's mom died from it back in the 1960's, when he was a wee lad...so sad.

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  7. manhandle for their health - sounds like a good tag line :) great advice too

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    1. it is what I tell my cats all the time, I am manhandling you for your own good,

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  8. Pawsum posty. Weez lost a few kitty furiends to mammory cancer. And mommy must give us exams daily, cu we always get a thorough lookin' over and pat down. MOL

    Luv ya

    Dezi and Lexi

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  9. Such good information. Humans don't think about the fact that cats...and dogs, too...can get breast cancer.

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  10. I had no idea about this, I just didn't think about cats getting breast cancer so thank you for enlightening me

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  11. Thank you for sharing this.This was tough for me to read, because my Rosie had mammary tumors, but it's also an important read. Do you mind if I link it on my blog? I know I have about five readers, lol, but this is great information and you've done a really nice job of presenting it (as you always do).

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    1. I would be honored if you linked it.. You never know who might need it, even if it is one of your five readers ;)

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  12. Excellent post. Thank you so much for sharing what can be a scary topic!

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  13. What a terrific post! Thank you for all of the facts about breast cancer in cats. I have been fairly lucky in the fact that both of my cats love having their bellies rubbed. My heart goes out to all of the people who are affected by this disease whether in humans or cats. I think my heart would be in my stomach if I ever felt an unusual lump on one of my kitties.

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    1. Jack has had a couple of cysts, and Ollie had Vaccine associated sarcoma. I can attest, finding a lump on your kitty is a heart stopping moment.

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  14. I love your tip about getting an opinion, rather than checking and rechecking and rechecking the size of the thing yourself every day. I know I would fall right into the obsession camp, if I found something like that. You're so right about the value of just getting an expert to loooook at it!

    Jean from Welcome to the Menagerie

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  15. True, this is less important for boycats but Maxie needs his belleh rubbed daily, so we check it by default.
    A good friend lost her girlcat to it at age 5. She was SO devastated....

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  16. Humans. Cats. Dogs. I guess everyone is susceptible to cancer nowadays. I don’t know if it’s the diet or a combination of genetics and food. It’s heartbreaking for our loved ones to get sick – humans or pets. As a parent of a Golden Retriever and a Beagle, I can’t control the future but I can get enough information to make me aware of the risks involved. That being said, here’s a great site that tackles the Big C in our pet dogs. This is worth reading http://dogsaholic.com/care/breast-cancer-in-dogs.html

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