5 Ways To Prevent Maine Coon Cancer

Owning a cat that develops Maine Coon cancer is one of the scariest things that could happen.

We all want our pets to live long and happy lives, but a cancer diagnosis is catastrophic for Maine Coon cat owners.

Maine Coons can develop many different kinds of cancer including bone cancer, brain tumors, and more. Spaying and neutering your cat can reduce the likelihood of cancer. While treatment options are available, they can be aggressive, so it is essential to focus on prevention by visiting your vet for frequent checkups.

Fighting cancer is exhausting and painful for humans, and it can be even more difficult for cats.

Thankfully, there are lots of ways you can prevent cat cancer, and many treatment options are available.

Read on to find out what you can do if your cat is diagnosed with cancer.

5 Ways To Prevent Maine Coon Cancer

The Maine Coon is a loving and loyal breed that is known to develop strong bonds with its family members.

These cats love to follow their owners around the house, and they are so sensitive to human emotions that they often comfort their owners when they are sad!

This is a hardy breed, with a Maine Coon lifespan usually lasting between 12 and 15 years.

While there is no way to prevent cancer completely, there are some steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of it developing.

Here are five things you can do to prevent cancer in your Maine Coon (source 1,2):

1. Spay And Neuter

There are many great reasons to spay and neuter your cats, but did you know it can also have an impact on your pet’s health?

Cats are especially prone to the following cancers:

  • Mammary Cancer
  • Uterine Cancer
  • Testicular Cancer

After spaying or neutering, however, the likelihood of these cancers developing is greatly reduced.

This is the best age to neuter a Maine Coon cat.

2. Vaccinations

Feline Leukemia Virus and Feline Immunodeficiency viruses are infections that greatly increase a cat’s risk for developing leukemia or lymphoma.

You should get your cat vaccinated against FeLV and FIV as soon as possible, and avoid contact with outdoor cats until then.

3. Proper Nutrition

Obesity and malnutrition are associated with a higher risk of developing cancer.

Furthermore, obesity and malnutrition can cause or exacerbate many other health problems.

If you are not certain whether your Maine Coon cat is obese, take a look at this article.

4. Limit Exposure To Carcinogens

Keep your cat away from smoke, resin, cleaning chemicals, and other known carcinogens.

Even residual nicotine from smoking can collect in a cat’s fur and potentially lead to cancer after the cat licks itself.

Also, avoid too much sun exposure; even long-haired cats can still get skin cancer on their nose or around their eyes.

5. Regular Checkups

It is important to take your cat in for a checkup at least once a year.

However, if you have a senior cat, you may want to take them to the vet more frequently.

If cancer has begun to develop, regular checkups will help your vet catch it early on.

What Types Of Cancer Can Cats Get?

It is impossible to list every single type of cancer that cats can get because unfortunately there are a great many.

Here are some of the most common cat cancer types (source 1,2,3,4,5):


Leukemia cancers develop in the bone marrow, where the blood cells are made.

These kinds of cancers typically spread through the bloodstream.

Cats with this type of cancer have weakened immune systems that are not as capable of preventing and fighting infection.


Lymphoma spreads through the lymphatic system through lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell that transports fluid to the lymph nodes.

The abnormal lymphocytes multiply and hinder the many vital operations of the lymphatic system.


Carcinomas are types of solid cancers that develop in the tissues of internal organs like kidneys.

Carcinoma begins in the epithelial cells, which can be found (but is not limited to) the following places:

  • Skin
  • Organs
  • Blood Vessels
  • Urinary Tract


Adenocarcinomas are one of the two main subtypes of carcinoma.

Adenocarcinomas include cancers of the:

  • Lungs
  • Breasts
  • Colon

Mammary carcinoma is an especially common type of cancer found in female cats.

Thankfully, the likelihood of a cat developing this type of cancer is greatly reduced if the cat has been spayed.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous Cell Carcinoma is the other main subtype of carcinoma.

Squamous cell carcinoma is a type of skin cancer that is typically slow growing. It develops in the epidermis, specifically in the squamous layer.

Cats with Squamous cell carcinoma usually have a better prognosis than cats with other kinds of skin cancers, but if left untreated long enough it can spread dangerously.

Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common kind of skin cancer.

It occurs most commonly after exposure to UV radiation.

This type of cancer is usually slow growing and easy to treat in its earlier stages.


Sarcomas are typically categorized into soft tissue sarcomas and sarcomas of the bone.

Sarcomas are much rarer than carcinomas and specifically develop in the connective tissue of the body.

This includes the:

  • Bones
  • Cartilage
  • Nerves
  • Blood Vessels
  • Deep Skin Tissue
  • Fat

Even though sarcoma cancers are rarer than carcinoma cancers, they are usually harder to treat.

Mast Cell Tumor

Mast cell tumors target a specific white blood cell.

These white blood cells, known as mast cells, regulate inflammation and respond to allergens.

Here are some of the places they can develop:

  • Skin
  • Spleen
  • Intestines


Meningioma is the most common type of brain cancer found in both cats and dogs.

Early signs of meningioma include:

  • Behavioral Changes
  • Listless Behavior
  • Dizziness
  • Staggering
  • Swaying Gait

This type of cancer in cats is easier to remove than in dogs.

Injection-Site Sarcoma

A specific type of cancer that cats are prone to is Injection-Site Sarcoma, also known as ISS.

This type of cancer develops from infections from an injection of anything from antibiotics to saline.

Each time your cat gets an injection, pay close attention to the affected site to make sure there is no infection.

What Causes Cat Cancer?

Our bodies rely on cell division to stay alive.

The cells within our body reproduce asexually, splitting chromosomes in half so that each cell has the DNA to instruct its functions.

At the ends of each chromosome are small caps known as telomeres.

These telomeres prevent the chromosomes from degrading, and their length means that cells can divide multiple times.

As we age, these telomeres shorten until our cells can no longer divide.

The cells die and, eventually, so do we.

Many people once thought that, if we could simply elongate our telomeres, we might unlock the secret to mortality.

As it turns out, however, the relationship between cancer and our telomeres is a delicate balancing act.

When a cell becomes cancerous, its telomeres are extended, which allows the cancerous cell to divide and multiply many times so the cancer can spread even more.

As it turns out, the longer one’s telomeres are, the more likely they are to develop cancer.

Of course, the development of cancer is a lot more complicated than that.

The length of one’s telomeres is just a factor; there are also many substances and environmental factors that affect how likely your cat is to develop cancer.

Furthermore, in many cases, there is no way to know for sure what caused certain cancers.

Still, there are lots of factors that can increase a Maine Coon cat’s likelihood of developing cancer.

Here are some things that are associated with a higher risk of cancer in cats:

1. FeLV And FIV

FeLV and FIV are two contagious viruses that greatly increase a cat’s risk of developing either leukemia or lymphoma.

FeLV puts cats at a much higher risk of developing cancer than FIV.

Thankfully, both infections are easily preventable since cats can be vaccinated against them.

2. Poor Nutrition

Poor nutrition is another factor that makes a cat more likely to develop cancer.

Cats need lots of protein and a moderate amount of fat, but they only need a very small amount of carbohydrates.

There are also many essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that cats need to stay healthy.

This is how much and what Maine Coon cats eat.

3. Lack Of Exercise

Just like in humans, cats who do not get enough exercise are at a higher risk for developing cancer, although scientists do not exactly know why yet.

4. Outdoors

Outdoor cats are at a significantly higher risk of developing cancer than indoor cats.

There is no way to stop your outdoor cat from doing activities like:

  • Climbing under cars
  • Drinking from dirty puddles
  • Eating rats that have been poisoned

Outdoor cats are also more likely to come into contact with cats who have FeLV or FIV, both of which are highly contagious and associated with a significantly higher risk of developing cancer.

Sunlight Exposure

Even though Maine Coons have long, thick fur, too much exposure to sunlight can cause skin cancer, especially in areas where the fur is thinner like on the face.

Keep in mind that windows do not block UV radiation from the sun, so even basking in the sun indoors for too long can cause problems.


Known carcinogens that can pose a threat to your cat include, but are not limited to:

  • Tobacco smoke
  • Prolonged exposure to sawdust or other debris
  • Oil paints
  • Burning plastic

Keeping your house well-ventilated and working on big projects like woodworking or painting outside can reduce exposure to carcinogens (source 1,2).

Symptoms Of Cancer In Cats

If you want to know how do I know if my cat has cancer, there is no way to find out for sure until you visit a vet.

However, there are many signs of cancer in cats that might indicate something is amiss.

Here are some symptoms to look out for:

  • Decreased appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Lumps on the skin
  • Sores or lesions
  • Slow-healing wounds
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Bad breath
  • Unexplained bleeding or discharge
  • Coughing
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing

Are Maine Coons Prone To Cancer?

If you want to know are Maine Coons healthy cats, the answer is yes!

Maine Coons are generally considered one of the healthiest cat breeds out there.

While they are not more prone to cancer than any other cat breed, there are some cancers cats are more likely to get than others.

Here are the most common cancers found in domestic cats:

Mouth Cancer

If you are dealing with Maine Coon mouth cancer, it is most commonly oral squamous cell carcinoma.

This type of cancer can develop in the gums, tonsils, tongue, and virtually anywhere else in the mouth.

Caring for your cat’s oral health is especially important.

Brushing your cat’s teeth or even providing the best dental treats can help prevent mouth cancer.

Skin Cancer

The most common type of skin cancer in cats is Basal cell carcinoma, but squamous cell carcinoma is another dangerous type of skin cancer.

Too much exposure to sunlight is considered a big risk factor for developing skin cancer.

Mammary Cancer

Mammary cancer is one of the most common types of cancer found in cats.

This type of carcinoma is most likely to develop in intact female cats over the age of ten.

My Cat Has Cancer, Now What?

If your cat has just been diagnosed with cancer, you are probably feeling terrified and overwhelmed.

If you want to know what to do if your cat gets cancer, here are the cat cancer treatment options available:

1. Surgery

Surgery is the most common treatment for cancer in cats, and it is also the treatment option with the best prognosis.

However, surgery is more likely to be successful if the cancer is in its earlier stages.

If the cancer has spread or is too difficult to remove, you may need to try radiation or chemotherapy instead.

2. Radiation

Radiation therapy uses focused beams of radiation to kill cancerous cells.

It is often used alongside chemotherapy or surgery.

3. Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy uses medication to treat or reduce cancer.

Chemotherapy often has extremely painful and difficult side effects in humans.

While it is believed cats tolerate chemotherapy better, it is much harder to tell when a cat is in pain than a human.

4. Pain Management

In many cases, once a cat has been diagnosed with cancer, treatment may extend the cat’s life but will not cure the cancer.

Since treatment options are often aggressive and painful, some owners opt out of treatment and instead focus on managing their cat’s symptoms.

While it can be hard knowing your cat does not have that long left, you can focus on making that time as comfortable and loving as possible.

5. Euthanasia

Nobody wants to have to think about it, but euthanasia may be necessary in cases of extreme pain or reduced mobility.

If your cat is unable to eat or use the litter box on its own, then it may be time to say goodbye.

Euthanasia is a very personal choice, but most vets recommend it when the affected cat has more bad days than good ones ahead.

How Long Can A Cat With Cancer Live?

If you want to know if my cat has cancer when do I put him down, the important thing is not to panic.

A cancer diagnosis can be scary, but it is not necessarily a death sentence.

When it comes to cat cancer life expectancy it depends on lots of factors including:

  • Cat’s age
  • Overall health
  • Type of cancer
  • How much the cancer has spread already

If you want to know how long can a cat live with cancer without treatment, the answer is usually a few months.

Slow-growing cancers like certain types of skin cancer may take much longer before they become fatal, but conditions like lymphoma are more aggressive.

Unfortunately, many cats with cancer do not survive longer than a year, even if they are receiving treatment.

Overall, how you treat your cat’s cancer is up to you, but you should keep in mind that you are only an advocate for your cat.

At the end of the day, you decide whether your cat gets treatment or not, and how aggressive that treatment is.

Your cat, however, has no concept of what is happening, and cannot choose to receive treatment or not.

Your cat cannot speak up about its pain or quality of life, so it is your responsibility to assess your cat’s living conditions.

Ask your vet about how painful or difficult treatment is expected to be, and decide based on what you think is best for your cat (source 1).

What Age Do Cats Get Cancer?

Cats can develop cancer at any age, but it is most common in cats over the age of 10.


Dealing with a Maine Coon cancer diagnosis can be devastating, but there are numerous treatment options available that can cure cancer or, at the very least, reduce its side effects.

Cancer is much easier to treat the earlier it is found, so it is incredibly important to take your cat in for regular checkups.

Preventing exposure to carcinogens, getting your cat vaccinated, spayed, or neutered, and providing adequate nutrition and exercise can all reduce the risk of your cat developing cancer.

Related Questions

Maine Coon Sudden Death

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, cancer, and other serious health complications can cause sudden death in Maine Coons. Take your cat in for frequent checkups so you can catch complications early on.

Maine Coon Health Issues

The main health issues Maine Coons are prone to are Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, Polycystic Kidney Disease, Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency, spinal muscular atrophy, and hip dysplasia.

Maine Coon Central

Hello! My name is Katrina Stewardson, and I’m a CRAZY CAT LADY! I've been in love with the Maine Coon cat breed ever since we welcomed an adorable male Maine Coon kitten into our home 10 years ago. We called him 'Pippin', but he also goes by the name ‘Pipsteroo’! Our enormous, kind-hearted cat genuinely thinks he's a dog and has convinced me that cats are Man's True Best Friend! UPDATE: We recently adopted two 4-year-old male Maine Coon cats. They are named Mika and Bali.

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