Elderly cat with lump on inner cheek inside mouth
December 4, 2011 10:28 AM   Subscribe

I've got a 14-year-old male indoor cat with a large lump inside his mouth, on his cheek. He doesn't seem to notice or care much—he's been eating/drinking and behaving normally (alpha male). He accidentally bites down on it sometimes and causes it to bleed. It's not a substantial amount of blood, but that doesn't seem healthy.

He eats and acts normal and he's got a history of fatty lumps (one on his back) and sebaceous cysts (one below his armpit), so I haven't been too concerned. But when he yawns, I see the big ol' lump (it's red, the same color as the rest of the skin inside of his mouth) on his cheek and it makes me wonder.

He's had the lump for a few months, and it doesn't seem to have grown or shrunk or changed in any way. It seems like it suddenly appeared one day. He's got stinky breath, but I don't know if it's more than usual. He doesn't tolerate people messing with his mouth (normal behavior) so I can't squeeze the lump to tell if it's soft or hard.

I've looked online and I can't find any mention of lumps growing on a cat's inner cheek, I only see stuff about oral cancers involving lumps growing elsewhere in the mouth.

I know the obviously solution is "take him to a vet" but I'm curious to see what exactly this could be, and whether I need to worry about possibly putting him down or subjecting him to surgery (risky) before I take him in. :(

Here's a picture of him! Lump not pictured.
posted by autoclavicle to Pets & Animals (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Take him in. The vet will tell you what options you have (putting him to sleep, surgery, medications, leave as is until x, y or z happens, etc) and you can think about it then. No vet is going to tell you to put him down for something that, even if potentially progressing, is not significantly impacting his quality of life right now. And if he does you can refuse.

More info is better, in this situation. Then you can think about it and make an informed decision regarding his care.
posted by lydhre at 10:49 AM on December 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Could be some kind of lymphoma.
posted by Apoch at 10:55 AM on December 4, 2011

Best answer: He's gorgeous. Please, please, please take him to a vet and get a real answer. Please.

It could be nothing, it could be serious, so you already know that this could require eventual surgery or eventual euthanasia. That has already been settled -- anything could be causing this.

Stop worrying, start doing. Please take him to the vet tomorrow.
posted by maudlin at 11:15 AM on December 4, 2011 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Nthing take him in, especially because it could a) become infected when he bites down on it, and b) continue growing and interfere with his ability to eat.
posted by thomas j wise at 11:56 AM on December 4, 2011

Best answer: Vet student here. I agree with everyone encouraging you to take him in for a visit. None of us can tell you what is going on, if it is truly harmful or not. Only a thorough examination by a veterinarian will be able to tell you what is going on. If untreated, your kitty may reduce or stop eating, which could lead to metabolic derangement, which would make treatment far more difficult.

In order to really get an idea of what's going on, the vet may have to sedate kitty to take a good look at his mouth. Cats hate having their mouths messed with, and it is not likely that any kitty will allow this to happen while awake. Factor in the additional cost when you are making the appointment.

Your vet may advise a biopsy. If the kitty will be sedated for a biopsy, consider having the lump removed at the same time. This would negate the need for anesthesia x2, which would be both expensive for you and potentially stressful for kitty.

Good luck! I hope all goes well with Mr. Handsome Kitty.
posted by Seppaku at 12:23 PM on December 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: My old kitty had a nasty lump in his mouth earlier this year that was interfering with his ability to eat. I prepared myself for the worst possible diagnosis, had him put under and the vet did a biopsy of the lump. It turned out to be Feline Eosinophilic Granuloma and has been totally treatable. He was put on oral steroids for the worst flareup, but since then he's been doing just great on a hypo-allergenic diet.
posted by makonan at 1:06 PM on December 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I don't know what it is but I do know that just because he isn't showing distress doesn't mean he's feeling well. It's normal for sick cats not to say anything because showing distress in the wild only attracts predators. Because of this any visible signs need to be checked by a vet even if the cat hasn't asked you for help.
posted by tel3path at 3:34 PM on December 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Go get it checked out. Hope that it's nothing, grumble & pay if it's something. Pray it isn't mouth cancer. If it is, understand that euthanasia can be a kindness. I say that as someone who watched her beautiful little girl kitty's lump destroy her and waited way too long to put her out of her pain.
posted by Ys at 4:02 PM on December 4, 2011

Best answer: Another vote to take him to the vet. The list of what it could be is fairly long (tumour (benign or malignant), abscess, cyst, etc.) and there's no way to really know on the internets.

PS: Such a handsome boy!
posted by deborah at 8:11 PM on December 4, 2011

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