Multiple Myeloma in Cats: A Closer Look What is Multiple Myeloma in Cats and How Can It Be Treated?

Multiple Myeloma in Cats: A Closer Look

Multiple myeloma is an uncommon but deadly type of cancer that affects cats and causes various symptoms. This article will explore the causes, signs, treatment, and prevention of multiple Myeloma in cats.

Multiple myeloma, also known as plasma cell myeloma, is a malignancy that affects plasma cells, which are a kind of white blood cell that generates antibodies to combat infections. Although cats can also be affected by this condition, it is most commonly known to affect humans. Cats seldom have multiple myeloma, which in such cases, may be serious and challenging to treat. On the whole, the purpose of treating and managing multiple myeloma in cats is to enhance their quality of life and extend survival time. 

In this article, we will highlight the causes, symptoms, treatment, and other relevant information to aid the understanding of feline multiple myeloma.


The specific etiology of multiple myeloma in cats is unknown. However, several risk factors for this disease in cats have been identified. These are some examples:

  • Age: Multiple myeloma is more frequent in older cats, often those above the age of ten.

  • Breed: Some cat breeds, such as Siamese and Abyssinian, are more likely to develop multiple myeloma.

  • Environmental factors: Exposure to certain chemicals, radiation, or poisons may increase the chance of developing multiple myeloma.

  • Immune system dysfunction: Cats with compromised immune systems are more likely to acquire multiple myeloma.

  • Genetic: While no specific genetic mutations have been linked to multiple myeloma in cats, genetics may play a role in disease development.


The signs of feline multiple myeloma differ based on the stage of the disease and the organs involved. Some cats may not exhibit any symptoms in the early stages, and the illness may be discovered unintentionally through normal blood tests. However, the following signs may emerge as the condition progresses:

  • Weakness and lethargy

  • Appetite loss and weight loss

  • Heightened thirst and urination

  • Diarrhea and vomiting

  • Lethargy, limping, or trouble moving

  • Discomfort and swelling in the bones or joints

  • Yellow or pale gums

  • Having trouble breathing

  • Nausea and diarrhea

  • Changes in behavior include despair, hiding, or violence.


Multiple myeloma in cats can be difficult to diagnose, and an array of diagnostic tests and procedures are frequently needed to reach an accurate conclusion. Some of the tests and procedures used by veterinarians to detect multiple myeloma in cats are as follows:

Feline Multiple Myeloma Prognosis

Multiple myeloma cat prognosis can vary and is based on several variables. Cats with multiple myeloma typically have a poor prognosis since the malignancy is aggressive and spreads quickly. Some cats, however, may respond favorably to treatment, which can increase their survival rate and quality of life.

Treatment and Management Options

Cats with multiple myeloma often only have a few weeks to a few months to live without therapy. Treatment, however, can lengthen the time of survival, and some cats may live for a year or longer. Multiple myeloma in cats is often treated with a mix of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and supportive care to manage symptoms and maintain quality of life. Here are some treatment and management options for feline multiple myeloma:

  • Chemotherapy: This refers to the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy is the most common treatment for multiple myeloma in cats, and it can be given orally, intravenously, or subcutaneously. Side effects of chemotherapy include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. However, these can be treated with supportive treatment.

  • Radiation therapy: This treatment uses high-energy radiation to attack cancer cells. Treatment with radiation therapy can be employed to treat bone discomfort or fractures caused by multiple myeloma.

  • Supportive care entails symptom management, such as pain, dehydration, and anemia, as well as infection prevention and nutrition maintenance. Medication for pain control, intravenous fluids, and nutritional support are examples of supportive care.

  • Bisphosphonates are drugs that can help strengthen bones and relieve bone pain. Bisphosphonates can be used to prevent bone fractures and improve the quality of life in a multiple myeloma cat.

  • Immunomodulatory drugs: These are pharmaceuticals that assist in regulating the immune system and increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy. These medications may be used with chemotherapy to improve treatment outcomes. 

  • Blood transfusions: Blood transfusions may be required in cats suffering from anemia or low platelet counts caused by multiple myeloma.

Prevention Tips

Unfortunately, there are no known preventative measures for multiple myeloma in cats, and the disease's exact cause is unknown. However, there are some general steps that cat owners can take to help maintain their cat's overall health and reduce the risk of disease development:

  • Regular veterinary check-ups: Frequent veterinary check-ups can help detect any health problems, including multiple myeloma, early on. Cat owners should schedule annual check-ups for their cats and take them to the vet if they notice any changes in behavior or health.

  • Proper nutrition: A balanced and nutritious food can assist in maintaining the cat's general health and immune system. Pet owners should feed their cats high-quality commercial cat food that is age and health-appropriate.

  • Exercise and environmental enrichment: Exercise and environmental enrichment regularly can support the physical and mental well-being of cats. Cat owners should offer their cats lots of opportunities for play and physical activity, in addition to toys and places to scratch that will keep them cognitively active.

  • Preventive care: Pet owners should adhere to suggested preventive care practices, like immunizing their cats against common illnesses and utilizing flea and tick prevention treatments to avoid infections.

  • Early detection and treatment: Early detection and treatment of health issues can enhance the prognosis and quality of life of the cat. If their cat's behavior or health changes, pet owners should seek veterinary treatment as soon as possible.

While there is no surefire way to avoid multiple myeloma in cats, following this basic health advice will help preserve the cat's overall health and lower the likelihood of certain illnesses arising. 

Was this article helpful?