Having any kind of pet develop cancer can be devastating for pet parents. If you've recently bought or adopted a female cat, you may be wondering what her risk is for developing this terrible condition in the future. Here's what you should know and what you can do to help combat this problem.

Likelihood and Severity

There's good news and bad news when it comes to cats getting cancer. The good news is, in general, cats typically develop cancer far less often than dogs do. However, that doesn't mean that they're immune. When cats do develop cancer, their cases tend to be more severe than what dogs experience. This is due to a combination of the type of cancers that cats can develop and the fact that they often hide their symptoms until the disease reaches a critical stage.

Female Cat Cancers

While all cats are at risk of certain types of cancers, like skin cancer, female cats have a couple of unique cancers that only they typically are at risk of getting. For example, mammary cancer, or in other words, breast cancer, is a condition that your female cat could come down with. In addition, uterine cancer and other reproductive cancers are also a problem for female cats. These cancers typically develop because the body is producing high levels of estrogen, which can trigger changes in DNA that result in cancer developing in those areas that are particularly receptive to estrogen.

What to Do

The good news here is that there's something you can do to help eliminate those two types of cancers from your cat's future. That simple task is to have your female cat spayed. Spaying your cat prevents unwanted litters of kittens and other behavioral problems that can stem from being "in heat," or ready to reproduce. But it also reduces or eliminates the risk of the aforementioned cancers.

Mammary cancer rates drop dramatically when a cat is spayed because their bodies produce significantly less estrogen after the surgery. However, the risk of your cat developing uterine cancer is eliminated completely, which is even better. This is because the uterus is removed during the spaying operation.

Most people will never intentionally breed two cats together, so there's no real harm in having your cat spayed. Instead, she'll be able to reap the benefits for the rest of her life and may live a longer and healthier life as a result.