Feline Cancer Resources - First Step
In loving memories of Phil and Holly
Hurricane Katrina and Rita had not only shattered the lives of so many people in the Gulf Coast region, but the devastation also affected thousands and thousands of animals. Please check these Web sites for the ongoing efforts to help animals affected by the hurricanes:
Lakeview Cats Roaming - This is one of the cats who were roaming the area in New Orleans, called Lakeview. This cat greeted a volunteer feeder with a friendly meow, but recently found deceased. Most likely killed by a stray dog (who also might have been someone's lap dog before...). It is just one of so many heartbreaking stories still going on in New Orleans and other places in the Gulf Coast.
Katrina Creatures & Critters - A blog written by a person who lives in Metairie (suburb of New Orleans). You need a box of Kleenex...
Animal Emergency Response
Network - Listings of Lost/Left and Found animals affected by hurricanes
Katrina, Rita, and Wilma.
Animal Rescue New Orleans - Animal Rescue New Orleans (ARNO) is a grass roots organization founded by Jane Garrison, Pia Salk and David Meyer. It is now run by a local voluteers in New Orleans. The need still remains, and the job is not yet completed.
Lost Katrina Pet from PetFinder - The Lost Pets of Katrina; Photos of Missing Gulf Coast Pets from Petfinder.com LOST Reports; The owners of these pets are believed to be still actively looking.
Lost Katrina Pets - Katrina's Lost Pets | Help find these missing pets
Flickr sites by yepitsme770 - Photos of lost/found Katrina pets
Flickr sites by spiritsmom - Photos of lost/found Katrina pets
Eric's Dog Blog - "This blog provides vivid descriptions directly from the operations of various animal rescue groups in New Orleans, LA and surrounding areas."
Help for Katrina's Forgotten Victims - Kinship Circle
Vermilion Animal Aid (blog) - Helping humans and their animals in Vermilion Parish
Aid - Official Web site of Vermilion Animal Aid
Welcome to Feline Cancer Resources. This site is intented to be a gateway or clearinghouse for the numerous information available on the Internet on cancer in cats. Please use this site to explore various issues you will face in the battle against cancer in your beloved cat. If you are looking for information on a specific type of cancer, check "Types of cancer" section. There are several different resources listed, so make sure you check all on the page.
If you are here because your cat was recently diagnosed with cancer, or your cat is suspected to have cancer, I am so sorry. I know how devastating it is and how scared you are right now. I felt the same way when my Phil was diagnosed with oral squamous cell carcinoma and again my Holly was diagnosed with her lymphoma. Both Phil and Holly fought their cancer head on. Although they both eventually succumbed to the disease, their spirits were never defeated. This site is their legacy. Their fights were not in vain if this site can provide even a little help to other cats and their owners who are fighting this disease.
- Phil and Holly's mom
The signs of cancer in cats vary depending on the type of cancer. Oral cancer is suspected if a cat is drooling excessively, has difficulty eating or swallowing, or is bleeding from the mouth. Cats with lung cancer will have rapid and labored breathing. Cats with cancer in the digestive system may vomit (sometimes projectile) and/or have diarrhea, or they suddenly stop eating. Bone cancer in limbs might cause lameness and stiffness. Any lumps and bumps (see PetEducation.com's descriptions of lumps and bumps) on any parts of the body are cause of concern, especially if it is rapidly growing, is warm or painful, is ulcerated or bleeding, is irregular in shape or is well attached to the tissues under the skin. Sores and wounds on ears and nose that don't heal could be skin cancer. Chronic nasal discharge might indicate nasal cancer.
Detecting any of these signs and acting quickly is the first weapon for fighting cancer (or any other serious illnesses in our cats for that matter). It is always better to be safe than to be sorry later. Some cancer is so aggressive that it might become too late when you finally take your cat to the veterinarian. When in doubt, act immediately. Take your cat to the vet!
If your cat is getting older, it is a good idea to routinely examine the body by stroking and petting and going over the entire body. Such regular grooming sessions will serve two purposes: Detecting "anything out of ordinary" as well as deepening the bond between you and your cat. Annual or biannual geriatric complete physical examination is also very useful in catching geriatric illnesses early such as hyperthyroidism and chronic renal failure as well as cancer.
Here are some more guidelines on what to look for in detecting cancer in your cat:
The 10 Warning Signs of Cancer - By Dr. Gerald S. Post, Animal Cancer Foundation.
Signs of Cancer in Small Animals
All these signs can be symptoms of other diseases as well. Call your veterinary clinic right away if you notice any changes in your pet.
If you suspect that your cat has cancer, the first thing you should do is to get a definitive diagnosis. It is not possible for a veterinarian to give you an accurate assessment of you cat's cancer, or develop an appropriate treatment plan for him/her without a definitive diagnosis. Your veterinarian needs to know the type, stage, and behavior of the cancer to start treating it properly.
Once you get a definitive diagnosis, learn as much information about the specific type of cancer as possible. Join the excellent support groups available online. Ask lots of questions to others who have experiences with the type of cancer with which your cat was diagnosed. Read some of the very valuable resources listed below that will help you sort through your initial turmoil and prepare for your fight.
Don't take one doctor's opinion as the only option that you should pursue. If need be, get a second, or a third, or even a fourth opinion. It is highly recommended that you consult with a board certified veterinary oncologist or internal medicine specialist even if you are planning to treat your cat holistically. Knowing exactly what is happening to your cat and what to expect is empowerment. It will help you make appropriate decisions along the way.
Don't be intimidated by all those difficult medical terms. If you don't understand, ask for clarification until you feel comfortable. Write down any concerns and questions on paper. Take a pen and paper with you along with the list of questions you jotted down to your visit to the veterinarian. When you meet with the veterinarian, take a detailed note. It is very likely that you will be overwhelmed by the information and won't be able to remember most of what was discussed during the visit.
Request copies of the results of bloodtest, pathology report, and any other important records of your cat's treatment.
If you feel alone, don't despair. There are lots of people who understand exactly how you feel; your anxiety, fear, anger, dread, sadness, and most of all, your deep love for your furbaby. Find the support group that fits your situation and share your journey with others. Having other people who are walking the similar rocky road and who really understand your struggles will make your journey more bearable. You are not alone.
It is a devastating blow to hear that your cat has cancer. You might be experiencing numbness, anger, confusion, and all the other whirlwind of emotions. It feels like it is the end of the world. However, even though you might not be able to "cure" cancer, you will be able to "treat" it and make your cat's remaining days as comfortable and dignified as possible. Please use this site to explore various issues you will encounter while you take care of your beloved furry friend.
Cancer - National Cancer Institute. Online tutorial that "discusses
and illustrates what cancer is, explains the link between genes and cancer,
and discusses what is known about the causes, detection and diagnosis
of the disease." Information is for human cancer but the basic principles
apply to animal cancer.
Neet To Know About Cancer - An Overview - National Cancer Institute.
Also human cancer information, but basically parallel to veterinary cancer.
Cancer Information - National Cancer Institute. Table of Contents of Cancer Information.
Caring for Pets with Cancer - By Dr. Kevin Hahn, D.V.M., Ph.D., Diplomate A.C.V.I.M. (Oncology) (& Overall Nice Guy), Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists. One of the best resources that are available online. Check all the links on the left side column on the page, especially "Rules of Treatment" and "Patient Care Tidbits."
Where to begin? - Animal Cancer Center, College of Veterinary Medicine, Colorado State University. They advocate "compassionate cancer care." Their pages are written with very caring tone.
OncoSite Frequently Asked Questions - An educational and resource site for animal oncology. Easy-to-understand explanation. Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine. The questions answered include:
Guide to Making Decisions About Cancer Therapy - Eli Lilly and Company at Oncolink, University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center. Although this guide is written for human cancer patients, it equally applies to animal cancer patients.
Cancer FAQ - Animal Cancer Center, College of Veterinary Medicine, Colorado State University.
Cancer is a treatable disease - Overview of cancer in animals, how it's diagnosed, what are the treatment options, and brief description of common cancers. All Care Animal Referral Center (Fountain Valley, CA).
Cancer in Dogs and Cats - Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine
Ask the Experts (Cancer FAQ) - Most Recently Answered Questions. OncoLink Vet, University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center.
Ask the Experts (Cancer FAQ Archive) - Previously Answered Questions. OncoLink Vet, University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center.
Valley Animal Medical Foundation - Cancer FAQs.
Anticipatory Grief Complexes Cancer Management - by Alice E. Villalobos, DVM, Veterinary Practice News article.
"Pre-Loss Bereavement" and the Power of Bargaining - by Moira Anderson Allen, M.Ed., Pet Loss Support Page
Online support groups - List of online support groups for cancer and other feline illnesses.