What is and what are the symptoms of melanoma in cats?

Cancer. The single word already causes us a feeling of discomfort and immense concern. Every day people die who have not been able to overcome the battle against their disease. Children, adults and seniors. Anyone can be a victim of this terrible diagnosis. The same thing happens with cats. At any time the vet can tell us that he has, for example, a melanoma. What to do in these cases?

To answer that question, I am going to explain to you what are melanomas in cats , what are the symptoms and, most importantly, their treatment.

What is a melanoma?

It is a type of skin cancer . Beneath the epidermis are a type of cell called melanocytes that synthesize melanin, which is not stored. Melanin is the dark pigment that colors the skin, hair, and eyes of mammalian animals, including humans, dogs, and cats.

For normal melanocytes to become neoplastic melanocytes, that is, carcinogens, they must follow some steps:

  1. Initiation: is the continued exposure of the animal to ultraviolet rays.
  2. Promotion: little by little, the melanocytes are mutating. It is now when we will begin to see the first symptoms such as dark spots or lesions.
  3. Transformation: all normal melanocytes in the affected area have become neoplastic melanocytes.
  4. Metastasis: it is when these cancer cells are reaching other parts of the body.


They are known of several types:

  • Epitheliode melanoma: it is made up of rounded cells.
  • Spindle cell melanoma: These are cells organized in irregular bundles that are oriented in different directions.
  • Mixed melanoma: combines cells of the two previous types.
  • Dendritic melanoma: They are spindle cells that have spiral structures. It occurs on the skin.
  • Clear cell melanoma: Cells have a round nucleus and a finely granular cytoplasm. It appears on the cat’s skin.
  • Melanoma with “signet ring”cells : these are large, pale cells that appear in the cat’s mouth.

What are the symptoms?


The symptoms will basically depend on the state of the cancer. The first thing we will see is a dark spot that does not have to be there , either on the ears, on the nose or on any other part of the body. But we also have to check it for scabs and irritations, as those two details can tell us that you have or may have this disease.

In more severe cases, the animal will have loss of appetite and / or weight, trouble breathing normally, cough, apathy . If the cancer is in the nose, we can see that the cancer literally “eats” the nostrils, from the outside to the inside, something that is very painful for the feline.

What is the diagnosis and treatment of melanoma in cats?

If we suspect that our cat has or may suffer from cancer, including melanoma, we have to take it to the vet as soon as possible to examine it. Once there, they will perform a physical exam and take a sample of the cells for examination under a microscope . In addition, you may also have a blood test and ultrasound to see how well you are.

Then, treatment will begin, which may be removal of the tumor, if possible, and / or radio or chemotherapy.

Can it be prevented?

It can never be 100% prevented . This must be very clear. However, there are things we can do to keep the odds minimal, which are:

Give him a quality diet


The cat, as a carnivorous animal, has to eat only meat. Feed (croquettes) containing cereals usually also contain meat, but of low quality and in a low percentage. It is important to read the ingredient label and discard those brands that contain oats, corn, wheat or any cereal, as well as by-products . In this way, your immune system will be stronger.

Avoid spending a lot of time in the sun

The cat loves to sunbathe. When he sees us, it is not unusual for him to ask us to let him out on the patio or, if he does not have one, he will look for those corners of the house where he can snuggle up. We can quit. We can let it sunbathe a bit, but never during the central hours of the day . Also, if we do not trust ourselves, we can put sunscreen for cats that we can find in pet stores.

Check it daily

It does not hurt to check the cat daily. We have to take a good look at his ears, mouth, back … everything . Thus, if we detect something that should not be there, the vet can make an early diagnosis, which will help the furry have a better chance of recovering from the disease.

As we have seen, melanoma in cats is a problem that, if not treated in time, can be very dangerous for them. When in doubt, it is always best to ask the professional.




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