Cat Palliative Cancer Care

Veterinarian Reviewed on April 1, 2014 by Dr. Janice Huntingford

Cat Palliative Cancer Care

In most homes, cats become part of the family. Therefore, finding out that they have Cat Cancer can be a devastating experience. More specifically, finding out they have a serious form of cancer or tumor can leave you with many questions and future decisions on what you should do. Palliative care helps to reduce the amount of symptoms and pain that your loved one is feeling, which is usually one of the most important things you can do.

Treating the Feline Cancer Patient

Today, advancements in technology now allow palliative treatments for cats with cancer. Generally, euthanasia should only be a last resort after all treatment options are explored. Treatments usually consist of palliative or curative and are dependent on the type of cancer.

In most cases, all efforts should consist of ridding the cat of the cancer cells that harming their body. By doing this, there is always a chance the cat can go from receiving palliative treatments to receiving curative treatments. In any case, it is never a good idea to wait before treating. Doing so could decrease the chances of obtaining a cure for your cat. Two types of treatments that are considered as palliative are Cat Cancer Chemotherapy and immunotherapy.

Deciding on whether to Use Palliative Treatments or Not

Usually, a diagnosis of things such as Cat Lymphoma Cancer or a metastatic tumor in a cat gives them very little chance of a cure. However, the use of palliative treatments can potentially increase the cat’s life, considerably. Mainly, the goals of palliative treatments consist of giving the cat a good quality of life in addition to reducing the tumor mass (remission).

Palliative Treatment Options

Immunotherapy – This type of treatment works by increasing the immune system of the cat or cat in order to help their body fight against the cancer. This tends to give them the positive benefit of making the cat healthier and able to withstand more treatments. Often, this type of treatment is used in combination with chemotherapy or another type of treatment seen fit by the Veterinarian.

Chemotherapy – Generally a series of drugs are given to the cat in order to help them fend off the cancer on their own. In addition, this works by reducing the size of the tumors that are already present. Usually, this type of option is utilized when the cancer has spread throughout the cat’s body. Some of the common adverse effects or complications with this type of treatment are perivascular tissue necrosis, gastrointestinal issues, and myelosuppression, in addition to other Cat Chemotherapy Drug Side Effects and complications.


Some of the various types of medications sometimes used are opioids, steroids, gabapentin, and tramadol, in addition to other types of non-steroidal medications for anti-inflammation. Most medications are used to reduce the amount of pain the cat experiences.

Alternative Treatments

In some cases, people turn to alternative treatments for their cat. Usually, the type of treatment will depend on the clinical signs and diagnosis. Some of the different options consist of:

  • Aromatherapy
  • Herbal therapy
  • Acupressure
  • Acupuncture

Overall, the quality of life should be the most important thing to consider for palliative cancer treatments of a cat. Therefore, it is essential to set goals from the start of treatment in order to ensure the treatment options remain within the best interest of the cat. If things come to a point where the cat’s quality of life can no longer be maintained, it is always better to relieve them of the pain than allow them to continue living and suffering.

Read also: Cat Eye Cancer
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Our Expert

Dr. Janice Huntingford
Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for over 30 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan

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