Your cat has a tumor or lump on her vulva

How bad is this?

Fortunately, a tumor or lump on a cat’s vulva is not common. And in most cases where it does occur, it does little harm. Your cat usually has little trouble with it. In this article we will tell you what the tumor or lump on your cat’s vulva could be and what you should do about it.


cat looks strait into the camera.

How do you recognize a lump or tumor on your cat’s vulva?

You can recognize a lump or tumor on your cat’s vulva quite easily. The normal surface of the vulva is then somewhat raised. Depending on the cause, the lump or tumor may resemble a small pale pink mushroom, an inflamed and purulent lump, or it may appear to be a bit of a watery blister. Your cat may experience some discomfort and lick it a lot, but that is usually not the case. Your cat will then probably not want to be touched in that region at all.

    What is the difference between a vulva and a vagina in a cat?

    We talk about a vulva when we mean the outside of the vagina. So the opening that can be seen externally, although in cats it is very small and hardly noticeable. The vagina is the inner part of the opening. So the light pink part on the inside of the cat’s genital opening. In a cat, a lump or tumor can be located internally in the vagina or externally on the vulval skin.


    Schematic drawing of the uro-genital-system of a cat.

    What symptoms could you notice if your cat has a lump or a tumor on her vulva?

    In general, a cat is not bothered by a lump or a tumor on her vulva. So you will see a bump on your cat’s vulva, but nothing more. Very occasionally, the lump or tumor on her vagina can cause her to have some difficulty urinating. Or that urination is even a little painful if there is a little damage from the surface of the lump or tumor on her vulva. The urine then stings the wound a bit, which is of course painful for her.

    It is also possible that you see that your cat is bothered by it. In that case, your cat will likely wash and lick her vulva excessively. This can cause further damage to her vulva skin and therefore the bump on it. An inflammation will then develop and possibly also a bacterial infection. The result is that you can see some pus on the lump or tumor in her vagina. That is, if she hasn’t licked it long enough.

    Causes of a lump or tumor on your cat’s vulva

    Lumps or tumors on a cat’s vulva are not common. Good thing, too. But if there is one, it is often a cyst. A polyp also sometimes occurs, although it is more often in the vagina, i.e. on the inside of the vulva. Abscesses occur quite regularly in cats and very occasionally they can be found on a cat’s vulva. If you see a lump or tumor protruding from your cat’s vulva, this could also be a vaginal prolapse.

    A cyst

    A cat’s vulva contains glands in the skin. These glands can become clogged, causing the glands to swell. You will usually see a bit of a bluish watery glow shining through the vulval skin of the lump or tumor on her vulva. It tends to have a gray-blue glow. They are also usually almost perfectly round. They vary in size from 1 to several millimeters. Your cat normally does not experience any discomfort or irritation and will therefore not lick her vulva region frequently.

    A polyp

    A polyp is a small mushroom-shaped lump or tumor that grows from the upper layers of mucous membrane. This means that it occurs more on the inside of the vulva, i.e. the vagina. Such a polyp is usually 1 to several millimeters in size. So small. The lump or tumor will then look slightly pink, unless it has become inflamed or infected. Then it may look a bit fiery red or a bit purulent. As long as there is no inflammation or infection, your cat will have little trouble with this. If there is, your cat will wash itself more often in the vulva region.

    An abscess or skin inflammation

    It is possible for the skin of the vulva to develop inflammation or infection. In that case, the skin can swell considerably and look red and irritated. Especially when an abscess is forming, it can become quite large (several centimeters) in a few days and eventually open up. At that time, a lot of bloody and purulent fluid comes out of the lump. It is also pretty painful for your cat. 

    A uterus or vagina prolapse

    You can imagine the uterus and vagina a bit like a balloon. In cats, the uterus is split into 2 parts. So actually 2 balloons that come together in 1 vagina. You can imagine that (part of) the uterus or vagina can fold inside out. Then the inside of the uterus and/or vagina comes out through the vulva. Normally the uterus is firmly attached. But if she has been pregnant, the uterus is quite stretched and a uterine prolapse occurs more easily.

    A fold of the vagina may also become so swollen for some reason that it comes out through the vulva. In both cases, you will usually see a somewhat dark red colored tissue protruding from your cat’s vulva as a ball or lump. This can be half a centimeter, but also 5 centimeters or more. This is a medical emergency as the blood circulation in the uterus and vulva is disrupted at that time. If nothing is done, the uterus will die and an infection can easily occur in the uterus. This will spread through the body and ultimately lead to the death of your cat.

    Cat with a tumor on her vulva is being examined by the veterinarian.
    Cat with a vaginal tumor is being examined by a veterinarian.

    Can a lump or tumor on your cat’s vulva cause harm?

    As we wrote before, vaginal prolapse or uterine prolapse can be life-threatening. In that case, it is important that you see an (emergency) veterinarian as soon as possible. So also in the evening or during the weekend. An abscess will break open and in most cases heal on its own. But it is a painful region as urine will burn the wound. Even in that case, we advise you to visit a vet so that he or she can prescribe a course of antibiotics and a painkiller. In principle, a cyst or polyp only needs to be treated if your cat is bothered by it. If they grow too big, they can block the urethra, but we almost never see that happening in case of a lump or tumor on the vulva of a cat.

    What can you do about a lump or a tumor on your cat’s vulva?

    If you believe that it is a polyp, cyst or minor inflammation, you can choose to treat the lump or tumor on your cat’s vulva in such a way that no infection can develop. Or, if there is one, that it will go away. It does not work for an abscess, but if there is a superficial inflammation or infection, you can clean the vulva with special cleaning wipes.


    chlorhexidine wipes

    When should you go to a veterinarian with a lump or tumor on your cat’s vulva?

    If your cat licks it vulva area a lot, she will suffer from the lump or tumor on her vulva. When something is clearly protruding from her vulva opening, it is important that you have this examined by your vet. If you can clearly see that it is on the outside of her vulva, you can clean it with those special cleansing wipes 2-3 times a day for 5-7 days. Does the problem not diminish, it is still wise to have the lump or tumor on your cat’s vulva assessed by your vet.