Finding a lump on a cat can immediately create concern and send your thoughts down a rabbit hole of “what ifs.” This is completely understandable since finding any kind of lump on a person often means the next step is a biopsy to see if it’s cancer. And, oftentimes, it is.
It’s no wonder that we worry about lumps and bumps when we find them on our cats.
Since finding a lump on your cat can be serious, or it could be something to simply monitor that isn’t harmful, it’s important to have an overall understanding of what that lump might be.
It’s also helpful to start working with your cat now, so you can do a full body scan with their cooperation. If your cat is new to being handled in this way, be patient. In the end, you both benefit from taking a little extra time to work together.
Not All Lumps on Cats Are Equal
We don’t just mean lumps on cats aren’t equal in size, but also in severity. It’s entirely possible you could find a lump larger in size that is nothing to worry about, while a smaller lump is something severe.
Size is not something to put much weight into, but growth and change is.
If you are doing a body scan of your cat, which is something we highly recommend doing every month, you might come across a small lump. The next step is to document it and make note of its size.
Cats can get lipomas, although they are more common on dogs. Lipomas are fatty tumors that are not cancerous. The only way to know for sure is to have your vet take a sample of it with a needle and run a test.
If you are checking your cat the following month and that same lump has doubled in size, then you need to get your cat to the vet immediately. When a lump grows that quickly, it should be evaluated ASAP.
What About a Bump on a Cat?
Lumps are not usually visible by just looking at your cat, unless they are larger. You have to actually feel your cat to find lumps.
Bumps, on the other hand, are more skin level and often can be discoverable just by looking. You might see a bump on your cat’s skin, nose, or eyes that makes you wonder what might be growing on your cat.
Bumps on the skin, of any kind, can be harmless or potentially harmful. It might just be from a minor cut or scrap, and as long as it doesn’t get infected, it should heal on its own in a few days.
Cats can get styes that appear on their eyes too. While usually harmless, they can be irritating. You want to monitor it and consult your vet about the best way to treat it.
It’s important to check your cat all over and note any lumps or bumps you find so you can keep an eye on them.
Finding a Bump in a Cat’s Ear
Ear hematomas can form on your cat’s ear. They can look scary, but are just fluid filled bumps that have swelled up. While the reason they develop is unknown, you can have them removed.
If you notice your cat itching frequently around their ears or shaking their head, check for ear hematomas.
It’s also possible that your cat may have allergies that make their skin red and somewhat swollen. This is more noticeable around the ears since they have much less fur.
Always seek the advice of your vet if you find anything of concern when you are checking your cat over.
The Importance of Monitoring Cat Bumps
An important part of finding anything on your cat’s body is to make a habit of checking your cat over on a regular basis.
The chances that you will find something early increases with the number of times you do a full body scan of your cat.
Every day is too often, unless there is a specific reason you need to monitor a growth on your cat. We recommend a monthly check to help you get to know your cat’s body and make notes of anything that is out of the ordinary.
You should also keep a log of what you find, even if your note says you found nothing that month. It’s much easier to have a thorough conversation with your vet about your cat’s health at their annual check-up when you have made monthly notes about what you find.
How to Monitor Bumps and Lumps and More on Your Cat
Doing a body scan of your cat is not difficult, but not all cats will enjoy you handling them and feeling all around their body. Start slowly and ease your cat into the process based on how they react.
A full body scan is about feeling your cat’s body and looking at your cat’s body.
Feel them from head to tail, and through their legs, paws, and belly, but also look at their skin and fur. Be sure to check their eyes, ears, and between their toes.
When you find anything of concern, or just something that you want to make sure you check on the next month, make a note. Note where you found it, what it looked like, its size, and any other important pieces of information that will help you assess that same spot next month. Maybe there is a certain color you want to note, or a certain smell.
We all want to be advocates for our cats. We want them to live long lives with us and be healthy. Doing a monthly body scan can help you not only be their advocate, but help you have conversations with your vet about how their health is between appointments.
We can help, too. Sign up for Pet Health 5 and we’ll send you a reminder on the 5th of the month to check over 5 vital signs of your cat. We’ll even send a checklist and a downloadable log to keep track.
Together, we can create a habit of staying on top of our cat’s health and be the best advocate for them possible.