Skin Growths in Cats
Not all growths are dangerous but you should never overlook any of them

Skin growths in cats will most always be in the form of bumps or lumps that are on or under the skin.

The mere term can often bring immediate fear to cat owners as it is most often associated with cancer.

But that is not always the case.

There is a misconception that these types of skin growths are common in dogs and rare in cats. Nothing could be further from the truth.


These skin conditions will need your immediate attention as an owner as they could be a very serious threat to your cat.

There is a huge list of potential causes for these bumps, and although some may be forms of cancer, many are not; but they should all be treated very seriously.

Small bumps on your cat’s skin are referred to as papules, and if they are larger or almost lumpish in size, they are referred to as nodules.

All cats can be affected with these at some time in the lives, but they are especially common in older cats.

The term lump often is almost always thought of as a tumor or an abnormal growth.

There will be several factors and questions that will have to be addressed in determining the cause of these growths.

They will include how long have they been there, has it changed size or appearance as well as is it attached to the underlying skin

But the key question is how fast it has been growing.

Other factors may include a recent injury, is there more than just one lump, and has your pet demonstrated any radical changes in their behavioral patterns.

Here are some of the most common cause’s skin growths in cats.

Tick Bites

Ticks can cause the skin to become inflamed and will produce the larger from of lump called nodules. These nodules will remain even if the tick has been removed.

They will produce a red color in your cat’s skin that may also develop a crusting effect that will be very discomforting and itching.

However, if tick medication is applied, this nodule will eventually dry up and disappear.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

This is one of the most common forms of skin cancer in both humans and pets, as the squamous cells make up most of your cat’s upper layer of skin.

It can form on your pet’s ear, lower lips, face, neck, and their legs. It is most always caused by either sun damage or skin that is chronically infected.

There can be two forms of this skin cancer in your cat. The first will be a cauliflower type lesion that in most cases will be ulcerated and almost always attacks your pet’s ears.

The second form will be crusting in appearance and most likely will develop on your cats head or their feet.

Feline skin growthsSkin growths in cats should never be ignored

The symptoms will be changes in pigmentation as well as a loss of elasticity of the effected areas.

These will have to be surgically removed and than followed up with radiation. These are very dangerous skin growths in cats.


Pyoderma is a bacterial infection in your cat’s skin, and is divided into two varieties.

The first will be an infection on the surface of the skin, or superficial, and the second is an infection within the skin, or deep.

This is the form you need to worry about. The cause of this infection is almost always secondary to another type of skin disease.

It can be caused by a self-inflicted trauma such as severe scratching of the skin, a wound, allergies, or seborrhea, a common skin problem in cats.

These nodules are ulcerated and will form a crusty and thickening skin layer. Antibiotics can be used to treat these skin growths in cats as they are not cancerous.

Miliary Dermatitis

This is a very common allergic reaction in cats and can produce rodent ulcers. These ulcers or sores can develop on the lips or the mouth of your cat, and they are extremely painful.

Other allergic reactions from this type of dermatitis may be caused by a hormonal disorder or a nutritional disorder in your cat.

Outside of the rodent tumors, it can also cause crusty bumps to form over your pet’s neck and thighs that produces a severe itching.

Treatment will depend on the exact cause, but in most cases fatty acid supplements will cure these skin growths in cats.

Mammary Cancer

This can be either single or multiple nodules that are under your cats skin, will vary in size if multiple, and will ulcerate and drain.

It is found in non-spayed females in the vast majority of cases, and is almost always malignant.

It will have to be surgically removed.

Mast Cell Tumors

These nodules will vary in size and in appearance, and can also be small in count or numerous in counts.

Mast cell tumors are always graded on a scale of 1 to 4. 1 is a very slow growing tumor and 4 is a very fast growing tumor.

These are very, very serious. Treatment will depend on the grade. If less than rapid in growth, they can be treated with radiation.

However, if rated high, they will be removed and in doing so a large area of your pet’s skin around this tumor also has to be removed.

At this point, survival may be a question with these skin growths in cats

Basal Cell Tumors

These are far and away the most common skin growths in cats. These tumors are usually benign but can turn cancerous if not treated.

They are single fluid filled nodules that will be found on the neck, the head and the chest.

If benign, surgery is optional as they can be treated. What is especially challenging about these growths is that there is no known cause for them.

Feline Acne

As innocent as this may sound, this skin condition can produce growths that may appear to be more than what they are.

If chronic, this condition can develop into a serious health threat for your cat.

They will appear on your pet’s lips and chin in most cases. Treatments with Vitamin A and fatty acids usually cure feline acne.


This is a nodule that is caused by the Cuterabra fly and most always occurs in the late summer or early fall.

The nodule will form around the larva infected by the fly on your cats head or neck. When the nodule becomes large enough, the larva escapes but the damage has been done.

It is extremely important not to squeeze this nodule and let your veterinarian handle it, as squeezing can cause a severe allergic reaction.

Treatment is done by surgically opening the nodule and removing any larva or remnants, and then treating the nodule with antibiotics and in most cases this will eliminate these skin growths in cats


There is a multitude of other causes such as allergic reactions, abscesses, cysts, bee or hornet stings, as well as mites.

Only a complete physical examination by your veterinarian can determine the actual cause of the skin growth.

There are several different reasons for these growths.

Some very severe, and some not as severe, but you can never be certain and all skin growths in cats need to be checked as soon as they are discovered.

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