How My Cat Fought Cancer

💬 Elizabeth “Liz” Italia: “I never thought much about cats and cancer, although I knew they got it. I imagined it was a higher risk with older cats and that if one of my cats got the diagnosis, it would be the end.

Treating cancer in cats wasn’t something I could ever see myself doing. In early 2018, I was about to get schooled, and my assumptions proved wrong.

Here’s what it was like to face cat cancer head-on with my soul kitty, Vito.”

The Discovery

One day, I was watching TV and petting Vito, who was 13 at the time. My hand went down the back of his neck. What was that? I pet him again. And again. It was definitely a lump. My heart sunk. He had just been at the vet a month before, plus I pet him all the time – where did this come from and what the heck was it? Something about it just didn’t seem right.

We went back to the vet, and the exam itself wasn’t overly concerning. Using a needle, the vet withdrew some fluid from the lump and said he’d send it out and see what we got.

It was likely a cyst, but regardless, we could either wait and see or take it out. I’m someone who wants anything out that isn’t supposed to be there, so I was pretty determined to do surgery. The vet suggested we wait for the results first and then decide.

The results showed inflammatory cells, but really nothing conclusive. I told him again, I wanted it out, so Vito went in for a dental and lump removal. That day, the vet called, and his tone alone had me concerned, “It was … very, very deep, and intertwined with lots of blood vessels. I doubt I got it all.”

“What do you think it was?” I asked.

“I don’t want to say until we get the biopsy results … but the fact that it was so deep … I don’t know. Let’s just wait and see what the results say. They’re going to take a few days. He’s doing awesome and is his normal sweet self so you can come get him whenever you’re ready.”

After picking up Vito, I did what anyone would do – Googled deep tumors in cats. What I found was something called fibrosarcoma, a type of cancer. I didn’t read a ton about it, but after reading what the tumors were like, it matched exactly what my vet said, so I wasn’t optimistic.

A number of days later, the vet called with the results, “It’s a type of tumor called fibrosarcoma, and it is a type of cancer. I threw the results at the wall and I’m so mad at the universe. Vito doesn’t deserve this. He’s the sweetest cat.”

The vet was expressing exactly what I was feeling. I asked, “What are my options?”

“You can consult with a veterinary oncologist, and then they can tell you what can be done. We don’t treat cancer here. You can also choose to just love him and monitor him, and not do anything else. It’s totally up to you.”



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