Lipoma (Fat Lump) in Cats: Everything You Need to Know

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Lipoma is a benign tumor consisting of adipose tissue.

The tumor can occur anywhere in the body’s connective tissue, but is usually located in the subcutaneous tissue.

Fat lumps, or lipomas, are not very common in cats and they are seen mainly in older individuals. Lipomas are benign, but can have an unfavorable location so that they are mechanically in the way. In more rare cases, lipomas can be found inside the body, such as between muscle bundles, in the abdominal or thoracic cavity.


Pet owners usually most easily detect lumps in the subcutaneous tissue when they pat or feel through the cat. In short-haired cats, such a lump may appear as a bulge. Lipoma usually feels like a round or oval, slightly soft lump.

A cat with a lipoma in the subcutaneous tissue normally has no disease symptoms, but if the tumor is located in an area where the skin is tight, such as in the face or on the leg, the cat may experience that the skin tightens.

When lipomas in rare cases occur elsewhere in the body, symptoms may be observed from the organ that the tumor squeezes / presses against: A lipoma behind the eye causes the eye to bulge out. A tumor inside a muscle can cause stiffness and lameness if it presses against vessels and nerves, and the bone can become swollen if the tumor prevents the outflow of lymph.


During the clinical examination, the veterinarian feels the tubercle and the lymph node closest to the tumor. Although lipomas often have typical characteristics, it is not possible to make a definite diagnosis simply by feeling the lump. Ideally, tissue from the tuber should be analyzed in a laboratory, which, however, requires a surgical procedure for biopsy or removal of the tumor.

Therefore, a less invasive examination is often performed in the form of so-called fin needle aspirate, in connection with the veterinary visit. Then cell samples are taken from the tuber with the help of a thin cannula and examined under a microscope. If you only get fat during the sampling, this indicates that it is a lipoma, a fat lump.


The only way to get rid of lipoma is through surgery. In some cases, the tumor is left if it grows slowly and sits in a place where the cat is and is judged to remain unobtrusive by it. This is especially true for older individuals or cats who for other reasons have an increased risk of anesthesia.

In cases where surgery is being considered, this should be done as early as possible, as the procedure and thus the healing becomes more extensive the larger the tumor.

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