Why do so many cats seem to have lymphoma?

A friend of mine just lost her cat to lymphoma. I’m sure I don’t have to explain to any pet owner what she is feeling right now. They so insinuate themselves into our lives, don’t they? Weirdly, their absence is felt more than when we lose people. Maybe because, unlike people, they are always there, even if only quietly in the background, curled up in a ball nearby. And then they’re not. It’s awful.

Then all you have left is just the remnants of them. The litterbox, the food bowls. It feels like a betrayal to get rid of them, like you’re getting rid of the cat, like they’re just something to clean up. Like they didn’t mean everything.

My cat Buddy has lymphoma. He was first diagnosed on January 10, 2010, so he has passed the two year mark. He’d been showing symptoms for a year before that though, and we were trying everything until we finally did an ultrasound and then a biopsy.

He’s fine today. I try not to think beyond that. You hang in there little dude.

Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

View all posts by Stacy Horn →

3 thoughts on “Why do so many cats seem to have lymphoma?

  1. Interesting question, and something I’ve been wondering about. The FDA seems to be unwilling to take a stand on Bisphenol A, but at the same time has cautioned parents to limit their children’s exposure because they can’t rule out endocrine disruption.

    I wonder how many cats with lymphoma eat wet food? All of those cans are lined with BpA, just as are most canned foods (canned [acidic] tomatoes terrify me).

    I do tend to be kinda conspiracy-theorist – I’m a little knee-jerk by nature, so take that with a grain of sand.

    Buddy looks awesome. I’m glad that you’re all doing so well!

  2. I just lost a cat last week. She had been wasting away slowly for about 6 months, and I took her in for a complete work up in February. They said that none of the blood work showed anything. The vet said give her metamucil for the diarrhea. Then last week she was so emaciated I took her in again. She was only 3 1/2 pounds. Again, blood woork showed “nothing”. Then they were able to x-ray her and found a big mass in the stomach. Surprise surprise. They suggested that euthenasia was the only sensible thing to do, she obviously had only days to live. The more I read the more misgivings I have. I wish I had known about this before, and I wish they had looked a little harder. She was a good kitty. She had a great 15 year life, but I can’t help but recriminate a little.
    Thanks for letting me vent this.

  3. I am so sorry about your cat. I feel terrible for you. Honestly, the vet is at fault for not doing this sooner, not you. How were you supposed to know? The only reason I knew to ask was because I was posting here and someone suggested lymphoma in the comments section.

    Also, you never think you did enough for your cat when the time comes to let them go. I thought that with one of my cats, so with the next one I went all out trying to save his life, and now I feel terrible about prolonging his suffering. No matter what you do there will be recriminations. 15 years is a good run.

    mosprott, I am going to research Bisphenol A, thanks for the heads up.

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