Hard Mass on my Cat?
December 19, 2011 7:35 PM   Subscribe

Family cat has some kind of hard mass between his left leg and his crotch, and another small one around the groin area. What should I do?

We have had this cat since 2000. He is 11 years old, but is still very healthy. I discovered the larger mass a few months ago when I was combing him. It really didn't freak me out at the time, but I've been watching it. And it seems to have gotten a little bigger? And today, I was feeling it again, then discovered the smaller one, feels like a large pea or small grape. The masses don't seem to bother him at all, he doesn't do anything when I start feeling them. My only guess is its some kind of cyst? But I'm no vet.

I'm 18 and I live with my parents, I told me mom we should take him to the vet and get him checked out. My mom keeps turning it around and keeps saying "you pay for it" or "we will when it starts to hurt him". Were doing fine financially. The lack of compassion is really getting to me.

What should I do?

posted by NotSoSiniSter to Pets & Animals (9 answers total)
Can you pay for it? A growing mass seems like something that is definitely worth getting checked out by a vet ...
posted by DingoMutt at 7:39 PM on December 19, 2011

Do you work? Tell your Mom that you'll pay for the vet visit, but it may need to be in installments. The cat needs medical attention (most likely) and you're an adult who is taking care of it.
posted by xingcat at 7:40 PM on December 19, 2011

As always, I forget something.

It would be nice to have some kind of $$ estimate on how much it would be for a visit, getting a biopsy done, or getting it removed.
posted by NotSoSiniSter at 7:41 PM on December 19, 2011

"It would be nice to have some kind of $$ estimate on how much it would be for a visit, getting a biopsy done, or getting it removed."

You can call the family vet and ask this. My vet's office is always able to take a message about my concerns and have the vet call me back, and they are happy to give cost estimates -- it figures into many people's decisions about treatment.

I think I pay like $38 for a plain checkup (no shots, tests, or treatments), but cost varies a LOT by region. But the vet's desk staff can tell you these things.

You can probably also pay installments to the vet. Most will do payment plans.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:45 PM on December 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Lots of times, these are fatty masses. (They're actually called tumors, even if they're not cancerous.) It could be all kinds of things.

Different people have different thoughts on pet health care. Some of us treat our animals like we would people, with preventative health care and non-crisis vet visits. Some people—especially people of your parents and grandparents generation—grew up with animals who lived outside and came and went and died and got sick "naturally." You'll have your own values and your parents will have their own, is what I'm saying.

Definitely what Eyebrows said is a good point: call the vet and ask, for one thing. They're totally clear about payments, because lots of people make their cat choices based on cost.

I guess what else you could do is then take that information to your mom and say, "Hey, I want the cat to live and be healthy. This visit will cost x dollars and tell us if the cat needs help or if it's all clear. I would like us to take care of this animal that we have agreed to care for." (Uh try not to be passive-aggressive; I would have a hard time with that!)
posted by RJ Reynolds at 7:52 PM on December 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

I assumed my cat had a "fatty mass" in her abdomen and didn't do anything about it for a long time. It turned out to be cancer, and by the time we got her in there, it had spread to her lungs and there wasn't anything they could do about it.

My vet said that dogs are prone to fatty masses but cats, not so much. I'd get him looked at ASAP. It cost a couple hundred dollars for the initial visit... they took blood tests and I forget what else.

There is a credit card you may be able to get to finance the vet bills: CareCredit. I'm not sure how hard it is to qualify for one but might be worth a try.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 8:15 PM on December 19, 2011

Vet's offices are also often willing to split the cost over several payments.

Can you strike an agreement with your mom that you will pay X% of the treatment cost whatever it turns out to be? Or that you will pay the first $X, and then set up a payment plan with her for the rest?

Or you could tug at the heartstrings and say that medical treatment for kitty is the gift you want most for Christmas!

The problem with "we'll wait until it hurts him" is that it can be very hard to tell when an animal is hurting. Something like what you describe could be an infection which is progressing, and which will be easier (thus cheaper) to treat the sooner it's diagnosed.

I can say that I would be taking my cat to the vet the next day, and I am super broke.
posted by ErikaB at 8:29 PM on December 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Vet's offices are also often willing to split the cost over several payments.

For what it is worth, none of the 10 or so vets that my wife and I have worked for over the last 15 years have ever accepted payment plans (other than Care Credit) as anything but a grudging last resort.

You can always go in for a regular appointment, without any further tests or procedures being done. This will probably run in the $50 range. They will probably suggest a fine needle aspirate, which should be less than $20 or a biopsy, which could be a bit more than that, especially if they want to send it out to a lab. Your vet should be happy to discuss costs and future estimates with you at that initial visit.

ErikaB is right in that you should suggest to your parents that it could be significantly cheaper to deal with this problem now, before it becomes a larger, more systematic condition in a more elderly cat.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:34 PM on December 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

We have a cat who had a hard lump on his throat. We freaked out a bit at first, but kind of forgot about it for months. Then we noticed it again, and weren't sure if it had changed at all. We took him to the vet, who asked us about his behavior (was he eating less, sleeping more, acting differently?) and we said no to all. The vet talked to us about the range of possibilities and potential costs, and my wife and I agreed 1) we had the money for the tests and procedures, and 2) we wanted him to live a longer life.

The vet ran a number of tests on his blood, urine, and then the lump. Everything came back clean, except for the lump. The vet offered to remove the lump, again telling us of the costs and the chances for things to go poorly (the lump might be very close to a major artery), and again we proceeded. The lump was tested, and there were a range of possible readings, so it was re-tested, and re-tested a 3rd time. Then he had a chest x-ray done, to see if there were any internal growths.

After a number of unclear findings, we're assuming that the growth was benign. He's still doing fine, now without the weird neck lump. We were charged for everything except one or two of the re-testings, because that wasn't our fault that the diagnosticians couldn't figure out what they had (our local vet made sure we didn't pay - she was annoyed they came back with conflicting information). It cost us around $2,000 (I think), but we have the peace of mind that the vets couldn't find any signs of cancer elsewhere at this point.

To be honest, I'm sliding towards your mother's "lack of compassion," not because I don't love our cat, but because he's just a cat, and $2,000 is money that could have gone to take care of a lot of other pets, or people. But we had the money, and my wife and I agreed to spend it to know more about our beloved pet.

When was the last time your cat had a check-up? Do your parents take your cat for regular check-ups? If so, and it's been a while, get a general evaluation, with attention paid to the lumps. Ask about his life expectancy, if those lumps weren't a concern. Figure out how much it would cost to know what those lumps are, then how much it could cost to treat whatever it is. Also find out how long that would extend your cats life.

We were told that if our cat had cancer, we could pay a lot of money and extend his life a few months to maybe a few years. Or we could treat him well now, and put him down when he was in pain, we could have him put to sleep.

I know pets are important, and your cat means a lot to you. But you're 18, he's 11. You will outlast him, one way or another. You will outlast many pets. Figure out what that means to you, and to your parents, and how that all factors in to the costs and possibilities. But first, get a general check-up, as that's the cheapest way to know your options. People on the internet can only give you anecdotes and vague data.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:12 AM on December 20, 2011

« Older Proceed with a magistrate vs. a district judge?   |   How do I keep my recommenders happy and responding... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.