OK, What Do I Do About This Lump on My Cat's Tail?

CatChannel and CAT FANCY veterinary expert Arnold Plotnick, DVM, discusses when to become concerned about a cat's lump, and how to treat it.

By Arnold Plotnick, DVM

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Q: My cat Gracie is 8 years old. For a long time she had a lump at the end of her tail. It was small and hard, and on the upper part. I noticed last night that my cat's lump has grown and it is now soft and round. What are your thoughts? I have two cats. The other one always bites Gracie on her tail. She is eating normally and playing as usual. What are the advantages of laser removal?

I cannot put an Elizabethan collar on Gracie. She was feral, and I know it just won't work with her. I am concerned about the healing process without the collar.

A: If your cat has a lump, a small one, that has been present for years, has been looked at by your vet at least once, and hasn’t changed in appearance, it is probably benign and nothing to worry about. A sudden change in the nature of the lump, however, needs to be investigated. Have your cat’s vet take a look before concluding that you have to remove the lump.

This could be a cat-bite abscess, given the fact that the other cat frequently bites Gracie on the tail. It could also be a lipoma – a benign lump of fatty tissue. Rather than surgical removal, a diagnosis might be achieved by inserting a needle into the mass and aspirating some of the contents of the mass into the barrel of the needle and then squirting it onto a microscope slide for a pathologist to evaluate. A pathologist can diagnose the lump this way in many cases.

You might not need to remove a benign mass unless it causes problems for the cat. If the aspirate is not diagnostic, however, the lump might need surgical removal and biopsy. If you’re absolutely certain that your cat won’t stand an Elizabethan collar, your vet might bandage the area instead, depending on the location of the mass; the closer the tail mass is to the body, the more difficult it would be to bandage. In any event, have your cat’s veterinarian take a look at the mass before it gets any larger.
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OK, What Do I Do About This Lump on My Cat's Tail?

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Reader Comments

Wendy    Westmont, IL

1/14/2014 8:06:17 AM

I found a lump on my cat's tail Sunday night, he is going to the vet this Saturday morning, better safe than sorry.

Jo Ann    Lodgepole, NE

2/28/2012 8:41:59 PM

Take the cat to the vet.

Sheryl    Casa Grande, AZ

2/28/2012 8:17:01 PM

You are obviously concerned, so I would take the cat to the vet.

Frances    Tempe, AZ

2/27/2012 7:02:37 PM

My cat has a lump on his tail .

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