Types of Rare Cancers In Cats

Tired looking cat laying in bed

The following tumors and cancers are rare in cats.


Some brain tumors start in the brain. They’re called primary tumors and are very rare. Secondary tumors, on the other hand develop as a result of a different cancer that has spread to the brain. Brain tumor symptoms may include:

  • Seizures
  • Head pressing
  • Bumping into things
  • Abnormal behavior
  • Meowing more; purring less
  • Vision problems that affect movement
  • Oversensitivity to pain or contact in the neck area


Some liver tumors start in the liver, but it’s rare. Like brain tumors, liver tumors are more likely to develop due to a different cancer that has spread. Hepatocellular carcinoma is a rare but malignant tumor that affects liver tissue.

Symptoms in an advanced stage can include:

  • Lethargy
  • Anorexia
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weakness
  • Weight loss
  • Excessive thirst
  • Abdominal haemorrhage


Primary lung tumors (tumors that start in the lungs) are very rare. Secondary lung cancer from tumors that metastasize (spread) are more common. Symptoms can vary greatly and may manifest in different ways.

  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Excessive hiding
  • Excessive coughing
  • Excessive meowing
  • Labored or rapid breathing
  • Coughing up blood
  • Sudden lameness


Mammary tumors are very rare in male cats and only occasionally seen in spayed females.

Unfortunately, they are very common in intact females.


Unlike many brain and lung tumors, nasal tumors tend to originate in the nose and are often difficult to detect. While uncommon, nasal tumors are known to be really aggressive. Types include lymphoma (a cancer of the lymphatic system) as well as carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma (skin cancers).

Signs and symptoms:

  • Bloody nose
  • Loud snoring
  • Nasal discharge
  • Excessive sneezing
  • Rubbing or pawing at face
  • Swollen or asymmetrical face
  • Facial deformity
  • Bulging eyes
  • Seizures

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