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Is My Cat’s Weird Side Bulge a Cause for Concern or Harmless Growth?


Dear VetBabble,

I’ve noticed my cat has a weird bulge on his side. How do I know if it’s something I should be concerned about, or if it’s just a harmless growth? What should I be looking for to determine if I need to take my cat to the vet?

Understanding Your Cat’s Weird Bulge and When to Seek Help

As a caring pet owner, it’s natural to worry when you discover any lumps, bumps, or bulges on your cat. Although many growths end up being harmless, it’s crucial to monitor these changes and consult with your trusted veterinarian if you notice anything unusual. In this article, we’ll discuss the different types and potential causes of bulges in cats, when to be concerned, and recommended actions to take.

Possible Causes of Bulges

A bulge on your cat’s side can be caused by various factors, such as:

  • Benign fatty tumors (lipomas)
  • Hairballs
  • Liver disease
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Abdominal hernias

Most lumps, like lipomas, are benign and typically don’t harm your cat. However, always be cautious, since your cat’s bulge could also indicate a more significant underlying issue. For instance, a phenomenon known as ‘hairballs’ could lead to vomiting- find out more about Hairballs and Cats: What Should I Know?. Alternatively, bulges can be a symptom of liver disease – here’s an article on Liver Disease in Cats: Common Causes, Symptoms, and What to Expect. Lastly, hyperthyroidism may sometimes cause protrusions on the cat’s abdomen. To learn more, check out our article on Hyperthyroidism in Cats.

When to Be Concerned

To determine urgency, there are several factors to consider. Look for these following signs to evaluate if your cat’s bulge warrants concern:

  • Rapid change or growth in size
  • Discomfort or pain when touching the bulge
  • Impedes your cat’s movement
  • Other accompanying symptoms such as vomiting, lethargy, or changes in appetite

If you notice any of these signs, consult with your veterinarian as soon as possible. One recommended diagnostic method to determine the nature of the lump is by needle aspirate biopsy. This procedure allows your veterinarian to analyze the makeup of the bulge and determine the appropriate course of action, be it monitoring the growth or pursuing treatment options. Read more about this in our article: Lumps and Bumps: When to Worry.

What You Can Do

As a responsible pet owner, it’s essential to:

  1. Regularly monitor your cat for any growths or lumps.
  2. Take note of any changes in size, shape, or your cat’s behavior in relation to the bulge.
  3. Keep up with your cat’s routine checkups and inform your veterinarian of any concerns.
  4. If you notice any alarming signs, consult with your veterinarian for further examination and advice.

It’s always better to be proactive and regularly check your cat for any abnormalities, even if they seem insignificant. Regular checkups and consultations with your veterinarian will help ensure that any potential issues are immediately addressed, allowing your cat to maintain a happy, healthy life.

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