Alternative treatments for cat cancer: Should you try them?

Dr. Hardy + her cat Moof

Liz Hardy + her kitty Moof

This is a guest post by Liz Hardy, PhD, of Meow Cancer Clinic.  (For even more on this topic, see this page and this other post.)

Before my cat got cancer, I thought alternative treatments were only for the desperate, a last resort when all hope is lost.

But then we got the diagnosis: “cat cancer,” and everything changed. The very words are terrifying, heart-stopping. It takes a while for the news to really sink in.

When your head clears, of course the first place to go for advice is a trusted vet. That’s exactly what I did when Moofy’s big lump turned out to be a fibrosarcoma – a fast-growing, aggressive kind of cancer.

I had a long talk with my vet about treatments.

She basically gave us two options.

First off, Moof could have surgery. The tumor could be removed – but a large margin of surrounding tissue would also need to come out. The tumor’s on Moof’s flank, so her spinal cord could easily be damaged in the process. And even if the operation was a success, a new lump would be back within months.

This seemed like a dangerous and pretty futile option to me. “What’s the alternative?” I asked hopefully.

Well, choice number 2 was potentially even worse: do nothing at all. We could wait until the tumor got too big, and then have Moofy put to sleep! That was also out of the question. Clearly, it was time to look beyond traditional medicine, and see just what else was out there.

We’ve found that the world of alternative treatments is far more than a last resort when all hope is lost. This avenue has given us some viable treatment options, and practical ways of tackling cat cancer.

Moof’s now tried many carefully-chosen natural therapies – from homeopathy to energy healing. It’s now 10 months since her diagnosis, and she has more energy than me. Her tumor’s still there, but she may be the only cancer patient in the world to scramble happily up the living room curtains every night!

Alternative treatments for cat cancer are definitely the right way to go for us. If your cat has cancer, they might be helpful for you, too.

3 questions to ask yourself when looking at natural treatment options

Here are 3 key questions to ask yourself before you dive into the often weird and wonderful world of natural therapies.

1. Do you have enough information to make a sound decision?

As with all kinds of cancer, you want to choose a treatment, and get started ASAP.  But to make the best treatment decision, you need to weigh up all your options.

It helps to get a range of advice. You could talk to:

  • A traditional vet – what are the success rates (and side-effects) of surgery or chemo? Will these suit your cat?
  • A holistic vet – can you combine traditional and natural treatments?
  • An animal naturopath – is there an effective (and gentler) approach?

Once you know what the options are, you can make a fully informed decision.

2. How will your treatment plan look?

You may combine traditional and alternative therapies. Or if traditional medicine can’t help your cat, you might choose all-natural treatments.

Either way, you’ll need to design a treatment plan – an ongoing strategic approach which consistently supports your cat to heal from cancer.

For example, there are three things I do every day that form the foundation for Moofy’s treatment plan.

  • I’ve changed her diet from kibble to high quality wet food.
  • She takes homeopathic drops that have been custom made for her.
  • She takes Life Gold immunity support twice a day, to strengthen her ability to fight the disease.

I supplement these with other treatments such as light therapy and energy healing, but in my experience, the key is to find some core treatments you can commit to doing every day.

3. How safe are the treatments you’re considering?

When you’re deep in panic mode, you want to believe all the promises you hear about “miracle” cat cancer cures. There are a lot of products out there, and some have worrying side-effects.

“Do No Harm” is rule number one in my Cat Cancer Ground Rules. The goal is to help your cat resist this disease, rather than create more symptoms (or suffering) in the process.

So when choosing alternative treatments for cat cancer, you want to make sure you read the fine print, search for testimonials, and find out about user experiences.

Alternative treatments for cat cancer have opened up a whole new world of options for Moofy and me. We haven’t cured her (but neither could traditional medicine). In the meantime, Moof’s loving all the extra attention, wolfing down her special dinners and tearing around the garden after butterflies.

I know I’m helping her, and that makes all the difference to us both.

About Liz Hardy, PhD

Liz Hardy is the founder of the Meow Cancer Clinic, which offers accessible information on natural treatments for cat cancer. Her little cat Moofy has an aggressive tumor, and surgery is not an option. So she and Moofy are treating the cancer with all-natural therapies.

Dr. Hardy’s PhD background, while not in veterinary science, did give her the wherewithal to face and sift through mountains of material on caring for cats with cancer. Now she and Moofy are on a mission to show other cat owners how to help their own furry little cancer patients to heal. Sign up at Meow Cancer Clinic for a free copy of  “Cat Cancer – Help!”…discover 5 ways to help your cat fight cancer, starting today.

 

19 Responses to Alternative treatments for cat cancer: Should you try them?

  1. Cindy Cameron October 19, 2018 at 6:10 pm #

    My hand raised cat of 15 yrs. has fibrosarcoma. We were putting him down today. Because it was beginning to open up. I was not ready to part with him. Nor him with me. He is very finicky with food. Will only eat Temptations Treats. I know it only feeds the cancer. But he got down to 10 lbs. He is now 12 lbs.

    I am desperately looking for anything to help him. I’m on a fixed income and bad health also. But I’m taking a holistic approach too.

    Where do I start? Is there anything I can apply to the area that is necrosing? It appears to be an abscess.

    Thanks for any pointers💖

  2. Renee Nahan March 14, 2017 at 6:47 am #

    This is a follow up to Cecilia’s post. Our 8 year old Russian Blue just received the exact same diagnosis this last week. She has an inoperable oral fibrosarcoma. We are working on building up her weight with a new feeding regimine of rotisserie chicken and cream. She is also on pain meds. She has an excellent vet in a traditional practice who will work to aggressively manage and prevent pain. However, I am also interested in Life gold (in the mail) and other holistic treatments that can hopefully slow the progression of the disease and provide her more time. What vet administered holistic treatments should we add? I would like to suggest them to my current vet. Please provide the names of the products.

    • Liz Hardy (@CatMamasDotCom) March 14, 2017 at 2:36 pm #

      Hi Renee, Life Gold was the main one I was using for my cat Moofy; I tried various other treatments but it quickly leads to overload and she started rejecting them. I also used homeopathic drops to try and reduce the toxins in her body – as I’m not a vet myself, I always advise people to talk to a holistic vet – you could always do a consultation with one and then take what you learn back to your current vet, who sounds great.

  3. Cecilia kaczala February 12, 2017 at 2:23 pm #

    Hello Liz I too just learned my cat has fibroscarcoma in the mouth. The y oncologist said because of the location in the mouth Sur gery, chemo and radiation not an option. I would appreciate holistic advice as I am getting confused. Thank you

  4. Jim Storm February 3, 2017 at 6:19 pm #

    Hi Liz, we just returned from seeing our very competent vet who took blood samples and an aspiration for a sarcoma in the shoulder area of our 16 year old bengal, Lily. We heard the news about complications and returning cancer. We love Lily, do not want to cause her harm but want to fight to save her.

    What do you suggest?
    JimInAncram @ aol.com

    • Liz Hardy (@CatMamasDotCom) February 14, 2017 at 2:21 pm #

      Sorry to hear that, Jim; I know how horrifying the diagnosis is. We went the alternative route because surgery was impossible. But for most people, it’s such a hard decision to make – whether you’ll get the surgery or go the less invasive route. The sarcoma we were dealing with had a high recurring rate and the tumor was in a dangerous place (near the spine) which also confirmed surgery was not the way for us to go. You could always get a consultation with a holistic vet and see if there’s a compromise that will still make a difference for Lily? I have a whole bunch of my thoughts and experiences with alternative meds for cat cancer on my site (http://www.catmamas.com/cat-diseases/), but this is only my personal experience and it’s different for everyone. I wish you and Lily many more years of healthy companionship.

    • Liz Hardy (@CatMamasDotCom) February 14, 2017 at 2:22 pm #

      That’s so hard to deal with, Cecilia! I’m sorry to hear it. If I were you I would book a consultation with a holistic vet – they combine alternative and traditional treatments and can offer professional advice. I hope you find a way forward.

  5. Liz Hardy (@CatMamasDotCom) August 22, 2016 at 9:04 pm #

    Great, Michele! Glad you found it useful – I found the combination of natural treatments really worked together to give my pussycat amazing quality of life for almost 2 years. I wish I could find a cure for cat cancer, but in the meantime, quality of life is also quite an achievement! Good luck to you.

  6. Michele August 18, 2016 at 9:23 am #

    This is what we’re experiencing and what I wanted to hear. My (bundle of love) cat was diagnosed with fibrosarcoma 3 days ago. I feel guilty for not opting for surgery, but it doesn’t make sense to put him through all that for it to quickly reappear. He’s always had grain free food, but now I’ve switched to a higher protein, less carb brand. I’ve just started my research, but you’ve summed it up quite nicely. I get body/energy work for myself so I’ll explore that as well. Thank you. He’s loving the extra attention too. Here’s to many more months ahead.

  7. Kelly May 24, 2016 at 3:18 pm #

    Hello. I know this is a bit off subject, but hoped you could point me in the right direction. My cat was diagnosed with CHF, and is currently on Furosemide and Benazapril. I researched Primalix Heart Hardy as a holistic option for treating Heart Failure, and would like to try this based on other reviews. The cardiologist is skeptical. The heart hardy warns not to be used with other heart meds. Why is that? I cannot find this out. ideas? I would prefer holistic methods and so far have loved what I read about Heart Hardy and DuraAid for a natural version of Lasix/Furosemide.

  8. Carolyn July 24, 2014 at 12:19 pm #

    This is a great article! My cat just went through a yearlong chemo treatment to treat his gastric lymphoma. Though my kitty is in remission now, I wonder if a more holistic method would have worked, instead of putting him through all the suffering of the chemo. I’ve also wondered if the food I’m feeding my cats now isn’t hurting them. I usually feed them Friskies which are much cheaper than gourment brands like Fancy Feast and Sheba. And since I’m buying around 30 can a week (I have 4 hungry cats!), the grocery bills adds up so I buy what’s cheaper

  9. Carla Rothacker July 23, 2014 at 10:59 am #

    I’m glad to see this kind of information sharing and discussion online. I, too have had PhD level education, but not leading to a DVM. Currently I am studying ND curricula, for my own benefit, not a career.

    I have also found a raw diet restorative (avoiding “curative” to appease the FDA et al, and because without invasive methods and costly tests, it’s hard to say “cured” in the scientifically defined way.) I likewise don’t like to say “cured” in reference to the cut-burn-poison orientation of Allopathic (Westernized) medicine. The other reader is correct: in human medicine, we already say “Complementary and Alternative” Medicine to describe a best of both worlds approach. Ex: surgery may be appropriate for a critical care situation, but those drugs and that additional physical and emotional trauma also need addressing – and Conventional allopathic approaches do not usually give that any attention, even for a human patient!

    A low-additive, low-dairy, no-wheat, less processed diet is generally used in Naturopathic and Complementary medical practices…for *humans*…isn’t that familiar?…lol, they are just catching up to success we see in animal care!

    Back to the cancer discussion. I had to euthanize both cats with cancer, after long term misdiagnosis by a general vet (I determined the problem, but it was too late for the 13y/o cat) which is unforgiveable, imho. I had to insist on a kind death, versus taking him home yet again, unable to keep down even KMR and baby food chicken. :-(( At a weight of 4.5 lbs, down from 7. Obvious now, is that he had GI cancer of some sort, not just intermittent IBS symptoms. Yes, he was on a raw diet for several years: this due to my search for a remedy to reverse/relieve Feline UTD and blockages. (very expensive bills!) and give him the best quality of life, with a congenital defect – a hepatic shunt. (liver defect) He was an Ocicat, a breed related to Siamese, and males should be 12-15lbs.

    Aramis had an allergic kind of dermatitis along his back and upper flanks, with flaky skin. He improved with wet food, and no dry commercial food – even good ones like Katzenflocken or Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover’s Soul. He also had feline herpes from early life in a kitten mill. These improved on a home made raw diet. The inflammation of his eyes went away, and the outbreaks of runny nose and sticky eyes became much less. He grew a glossy, soft coat where his chocolate spotting became clear, instead of blurry. No more butt scooting. No more frequent throwing up (til years later) and no more urinary crystals! He did not develop any more bladder stones either.

    My other cat, Izzy, developed a very aggressive, cancerous mass in his sinuses/pharynx at age 9. From stuffiness on one side to facial deformity took only 2 weeks! This was inoperable, and was affecting his ability to eat or breathe – plus the probability of severe pain from the internal pressure. (His kind, gentle disposition never wavered though. Not one hiss.) Cancers of this sort have 15-25% survival rate, if caught early and removed, then followed by chemo…adding maybe 6 months of life. I wasn’t going to treat my best friend that way.

    He also was a raw diet only pet. He preferred raw to commercial, and would be vocal, protesting when I had to serve canned or dry, til I could make more raw food! The vets have never supported the switch to raw, but could not deny the cats looked like completely different animals.

    One word of warning: the sanitation regulations are more lax for human grade meat in supermarkets, as they assume it will be cooked. I went through a period last year, of both cats getting severe, sudden, GI infections (overnight) that I blame on supermarket meat. The feline specialist noted elevated neutrophils and white count, indicating the presence of “sudden and overwhelming infection”. Antibiotics produced dramatic reversal of symptoms within 1-2 days. One time, though, I had to force feed my balinese high calorie “surgical diet” after such an episode…so I began grinding my own meat, and sanitizing the cuts with a solution of GSE. (standardized grapefruit seed extract – NOT “essential oil” of grapefruit.)

    I now buy frozen, pre-ground raw from My Pet Carnivore, monthly. They can make a more “whole-prey” diet than I can, and there have been no more mysterious infections. They certify that they do NOT use 4-D carcasses in the raw mix, as some do.

    I believe this is a reason that pets are getting such high rates of cancer, IBS, etc. The pet food industry has a long history of using 4-D condemned meat, along with the filthy scraps from the slaughterhouses (tumors too) and worse. IF cancer is due in some cases to a virus – eating infected tissues is a death sentence. I do not think there are enough studies on cancer viruses to state that they are rendered “inert” by conventional canning or cooking. Even so, “inert” would still leave the viral proteins present in the final product…with unknown consequences.

    The presence of factory-farm residues in animal tissues used for pet food is also suspect. Pesticides, herbicides, GMO feed, hormones, antibiotics…concentrate in organs and body fat. Processors use EXACTLY these leavings in commercial food. It’s cheapest, so has the best profit margin. Clearly a business decision. Not a concern for pet health, or respect for the customer – which I consider a gross breach of public trust. (another topic?)

    I have since learned that Ocicats and the British Shorthair have some hereditary issues with HCM (heart disease) and the website of Embrace Pet Insurance gives some indication of incidence of certain claims – incl cancer and HCM – by breed. We might do well to treat our pets proactively, armed with this information.

    Ongoing pet activism and self education needs to be encouraged – our health and our pets’ depends on it. Hopefully, our vets will eventually be won over too.

    • Liz at Meow Cancer Clinic July 23, 2014 at 2:10 pm #

      Carla, you raise some absolutely vital questions here, (and it’s interesting that there are so many parallels between the animal and human cancer causes and treatments). I have tried the raw diet, but find it harder to administer when I have my cat on 3 herbal treatments for her specific kind of cancer – the meds are hidden in her food. I also found your comments on the idea of a ‘cure’ really interesting – in the absence of any miracle breakthrough (so far!) I am focusing on quality of life and treating the cancer as a chronic, long term disease that can be managed with a wide range of natural treatments.

  10. Suzy June 28, 2014 at 2:49 pm #

    I love that you are exploring natural healing modalities and sharing what you learn! I am sending my very best wishes that all goes well and a long and happy life is enjoyed by you both!

    I also love the name of the new venture!

    I would only make one suggestion: changing the word “traditional” to describe the current paradigm to “conventional.”
    Here’s why — “Traditional” medicine is the form of healing which has been with us for thousands of years, and is not an alternative but the mainstay of health and healing for most of the world.
    “Conventional” is the current allopathic medical system in our country, the one with the motto ‘Cut, Poison, Burn’ even though physicians are asked to pledge the Hippocratic oath which begins with the tenet “First, Do No Harm.”

    Bliss you for being such a good kitty mom!!

    • Liz Hardy June 28, 2014 at 3:45 pm #

      What an interesting point, Suzy! Hadn’t thought of that! Many thanks for your kind wishes. I’m really hoping to be able to help people move out of despair and into gentle, effective action for their furry cancer patients.

  11. Jenna June 25, 2014 at 8:07 am #

    thanks Liz for this article. Many will be helped from this information. cats and people alike!

  12. Jolie Cosette June 24, 2014 at 7:19 pm #

    In what field – and from what school – did Dr. Hardy obtain her PhD? I haven’t been able to locate this information.

    • Liz Hardy June 25, 2014 at 2:31 pm #

      Hi there Jolie,
      My PhD is in the Humanities, so it involved advanced research, critical thinking and analytical skills. I found these skills came in really handy when I saw how much confusing information was out there on cat cancer! I’m not pretending to be a vet or anything like that – I’m just hoping that my hundreds of hours of reading and analysis (and trying out the safe treatments on my little Moofy) can help other cat guardians who otherwise may not know where to start.
      All the best to you. 🙂

  13. Liz Hardy June 24, 2014 at 7:12 pm #

    Thanks for sharing my story, Liz! I hope I can help other cat guardians facing this confronting disease… 🙂

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