Progression of Cancer in a Cat with Mammary Cancer

by Ziggy's Mom


I have a question about the speed of cat mammary cancer progression.

I have just been told that my beloved cat Ziggy has died of this while at a cat kennel. I am working abroad for two months, and Ziggy had a lump under the skin around her front armpit for a year or so before I left. I had taken her to the vet twice, once when the lump was very small, and again when it had grown a bit. They both advised not to operate given that the lump wasn't causing her any discomfort and because of her age (17), and the vets didn't think it looked dangerous - the lump was loose under her skin and not attached to anything around it.

Ziggy has never shown any signs of aging, she is a happy 'garden cat' who runs up and down, eats normally and has never been ill otherwise.

The reason I'm writing with this question is that I'm not sure I believe the story I got from the kennel. I called the owner to ask about Ziggy two weeks ago, and she informed me that the lump had suddenly begun to grow very fast and she was going to take the cat to the vet.

The vet apparently said that the lump was cancer and that it was in the most dangerous spot for cats. But she said Ziggy was fine, eating lots and purring and running around and looking completely normal, as she had the whole time. She told me to call back in a week, and when I did she told me Ziggy had suddenly stopped eating.

Three days later when I called again she told me she had found her dead in the morning, and the vet had told her the cancer had 'gone into the blood' and when that happened it was very quick.

After reading others' posts about feline mammary cancer this seemed very sudden to me. I wondered if others have experienced that their cats pass very suddenly, from seemingly perfectly healthy despite the lump. Does this fast progression sound realistic?

I'm especially worried as I have since discovered that the kennels in question has a record of cats running away and I'm worried this is what really happened - the owner claimed she paid vets bills herself (i.e. no documentation for me) and won't tell me what she has done with Ziggy's body.

I'd really like to hear your thoughts. I'm broken-hearted about losing her, but being away and not being sure what really happened is just awful.

Thanks, and sorry for the long post.

Ziggy's owner

I am so sorry for your loss. The explanation you have been given about the lump suddenly becoming so large, then finding it was cancer, then suddenly going into the blood and killing her sounds very strange.

Other things can happen quickly - kidneys can fail, liver disease can set in if she was not eating well, the stress of boarding could lead to either of those, plus her age ....but the cancer explanation is a bit strange.

Also, it disturbs me what you are being told about records. Regardless of who paid for the treatment, she was your cat and the kennel owner was acting as your agent when she took her to the vet. You are entitled to all boarding records and all vet records. Contact the veterinarian and demand copies of all records.

Also, she was your cat and you have a legal right to know what was done with her body. She should not have done anything with her body without permission from you unless you signed a pre-approval in the event something happened to your kitty.

I personally would not accept what you are being told and I would want to know a lot more and see a lot of documentation.

Dr. Neely

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