Ask The Vet

Is my cat's lump cancerous?
Is my cat's lump cancerous?PHOTO: JESSECA LIM
Should my bunny be neutered?
Should my bunny be neutered?PHOTO: SHYNNA NEO

In this fortnightly column, veterinarians from the National Parks Board answer questions about pet health and behaviour

Is my cat's lump cancerous?

I have a 14-year-old male cat. Recently I discovered a lump near his hind legs. It looks like a fatty lump. Do I need to take him to a vet to check if it is cancerous?

The last time I took him to the vet for a routine check-up, he ended up not being able to urinate when he came home. We had to take him to the hospital after that. 

Jesseca Lim 

It is not possible to tell just from its appearance if a lump is cancerous, which is why it is important to take your cat to the veterinarian to have it checked out. The vet might take a sample by doing a fine needle aspirate or do other diagnostics.

Meanwhile, continue monitoring the size of the lump to see if it grows or if there are changes in its appearance or consistency (hard or soft).

Stress could be a factor for your cat's urinary tract issues, which might have developed after a stressful event such as travel, especially if the pet does not usually leave the house.

But it is still important to make sure the issue is checked out.

Try to get your cat used to being in the carrier and associate it with positive things to reduce the stress of travelling. This could involve using positive reinforcement, such as treats, to encourage your pet to go into the carrier willingly. Over time, the pet may develop a positive association with the carrier.

Alternatively, there are also veterinarians that provide house-call services. As these consultations are done in a familiar environment at home, it could be less stressful for some animals.

Should my bunny be neutered?

  • Fun fact

  • Do you know fish feel lonely too? At least, that is the case for tetra fish, a popular freshwater aquarium fish.

    Tetras are naturally schooling fish. If they are kept alone, they tend to become stressed as it feels unsafe to them.

    That is why tetra fish are usually kept with at least five to seven other tetras in the same tank. While tetras may shoal together, they will bunch up into a tight pack only when they feel threatened.

My rabbit is a four-year-old Holland lop mixed angora dwarf.

My friends say that I should have it neutered so that it will have a longer lifespan. Is that true? I did some reading on this and found that, apparently, it is better for my bunny's emotions if it was neutered.

May I also ask what is the quantity of hay, fresh vegetables or pellets I should provide for my rabbit's nutrition?

For grooming, I am able to cut its nails and fur. But do I still need to take it to the groomer for ear and gland cleaning?

Shynna Neo

These are great questions. Reasons to sterilise your rabbit include reducing the risk of uterine cancer and other uterine diseases in female rabbits. It can also help reduce problem behaviours such as aggression and urine-spraying in both male and female rabbits.

Bunnies should be given a diet of mostly hay - for adults, timothy hay and other grass hay are preferred over alfafa hay, unless otherwise advised by your veterinarian - as it promotes a healthy gastrointestinal system and promotes proper wear of their teeth, which grows continuously throughout their lifetime.

Another important part of your rabbit's diet is a variety of green leafy vegetables, avoiding those that are toxic to bunnies, such as potatoes and iceberg lettuce.

Pellets should comprise only a small portion of the diet and should be given in amounts recommended by your veterinarian based on your rabbit's body condition.

Fruit and carrots should be given only as treats in very small amounts. Pellets, fruits and carrots are high in calories and lower in fibre, which can result in obesity and disrupt normal gastrointestinal function if consumed excessively.

If your rabbit is healthy and actively grooming itself, it should be able to stay relatively clean. You can also help by brushing it regularly and making sure there is no matted fur.


  • Answers by Dr Denyse Khor, who cares for domestic pets as well as wildlife. Dr Khor, who graduated from the University of Melbourne in 2015, is a veterinarian in the Animal & Veterinary Service under the National Parks Board.
  • Have a query about your pet? E-mail it with clear, high-resolution pictures of at least 1MB, if any, and your full name to stlife@ We reserve the right to edit and reject questions. 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 01, 2020, with the headline 'Ask The Vet'. Print Edition | Subscribe