Hi all,
This may sound like a daft question, but bear with me. I’m thinking of getting a kitten. I’m worried though that cats scratch, and wonder if I’m putting myself at risk of infection or lymphoedema in my bad arm (mast 2006, chemo and node clearance). Any of you ladies out there had any bad experiences with cats?

I love cats and they are such fantastic company … especialy if you are ever under the weather …

… it all depends on the cat - they have very different personalities - could try getting an adult rescue cat that is known to be lovely …

good luck love FB xxxx let us know who you get and what you call him … or her!

Hi Rosemary,
I have three, much loved cats, one I had from a kitten and two as adult cats. They are all lovely, I am careful with them now because they have a tendency to put their claws out and drag when getting cuddled, but I have never actually been scratched when they do this.
My daughter has just got a kitten and it has scratched her arm, so I guess that with a young cat you would have to be careful…
I was very happy with having my two that were older, they very soon adapted and no loo training.
I did have another who had been very badly treated and she was very difficult with scratching until she settled.,but I realised this before I had her as she cowered down so much and was very nervous.
So I would say that a kitten be wary of, but cats generally - I wouldn’t be without them.

Hi Rosie

I was dx last january and already had a parrot. My docs told me not to handle him but I still did throughout chemo and he even slept in my bed with me when my hubby was in OZ on business. We then got another parrot after chemo and we now have a gorgeous 10 month old Bichon Frise puppy.
The parrots scratch and nip all the time and of course a puppy can be nippy too but I have never had any problems.

I throughly recommend getting yourself a kitten. We got our puppy as kind of a baby substitute as we can not try for a baby unitl 5 years on Tamoxifen (i’m 28) and even then it may not be successful. She is well and truely by baby. She sleeps in my bed and follows me everywhere. And I am just about to start a new job (the first since being dx) working night shifts just so my hubby will be there to look after her and she won’t need to be left on her own.

I love her so much and she has brought much joy into all of our lives after such a terrible year.


Reading these messages makes me want to cry, my lovely silver tabby cat was run over and killed outside my house 2 days after I was diagnosed, it was just the worst possible end to an awful week. She was such an affectionate little cat and great company, I would dearly love another one but am so scared of he/she meeting the same dreadful fate.

I know it sounds absolutely ridiculous, but I have even thought about getting a 3 legged rescue cat that couldn’t climb out of the garden - I even feel stupid writing that but I am so lost without my cat.

Good luck to all of you,

Tracy x

Hi Rosie

All I can say is go for it. I had 2 rescue Cats in January they were 6 months old. They have kept me going through my BC (DX DEC 07) they are lovely and cuddly and really good company to be honest they gave me something to get out of bed for, they have brought me joy and love. They say stroking a cat is therapautic , and I totally agree, when I was having my bad days on chemo they would lie on the settee with me and jump on me too!!! I never thought about being scratched, and I would not be without them. I have always had cats and I lost my last one last April 07. If you have rescue cats you are doing them a favour and like others have said they are house trained and not quite as wild as kittens. Have you thought about having two they are really good fun when you have 2 as they play with each other.

Good Luck



I have 4 cats - 1 outdoor (aged 8) and 3 indoor (aged 3)

The indoor ones we have had since 8 week old kittens (found in a cardboard box in the local woods - to die - got them from cat resuce)

My outdoor cat has a tendancy to nip and scratch but having kept the indoor ones as indoor ones - they are such different temprament and never ever lash out. They are absolutely wonderful - and great company. Their claws do get a little sharp (more worried about my furniture than me!) so we have some clippers and they get their claws trimmed every few months (they dont need them to defend themselves)

Go for it and let us know how you get on

Anne xx

I have two gorgeous cats both 10 years old.They have been such gentle companions.Wear gloves if you have to change a litter tray and use TCP at once if you get a scratch.It will be wonderful for you do let us know if you go ahead.Love Valx

Hi Tracy,
Before I had the three cats that I have written about above I also had one who was runover and killed. When I felt able I got another but a house cat that stayed in all the time. After a while I decided that staying in all the time wasn’t fair and so gradua;ly weaned him to going outdoors. Since then I have got the other two, I have had them all for three years and nothing has happened.
I know that losing these lovely little friends is so awful, but from my experience it doesn’t mean that the same would happen again.

Hi Ladies

I am aware that because of certain medical conditions we are wary of having pets. All I can say is that it is obvious that pets provide a huge source of comfort. I have had dogs all my life and could not imagine life without them. I get scratched and yes, they are muddy etc, but so are children - I got badly scratched from one of my sons once. Do we isolate ourselves from everything in case they are infective, harmful etc etc when the flip side is that they provide so much joy?? Rosie, get a kitten, if you have the time and space to care for one properly. Their scratches are only minimal usually. If you fell against a rosebush, you would scratch yourself more!. And Tracy, get another cat. It is awful when they are killed. My lovely cat was run over years ago and it was devastating, but dont let it deter you from trying with another. Most adult cats learn to keep away from the roads. Mine was a kitten when killed.

Good luck all of you with your pets!

Hi all,
Thank you for all your replies, didn’t expect so many. This site keeps me sane!
It was my son who suggested a kitten for my birthday. We lost our old cat of 21 years last November.
My hubby isn’t best pleased though as we’ve just got a new 3 piece suite!!!
I’ll let you know what happens.
Take care all.

I am sorely tempted to get a cat from a rescue centre soon, I think I was just very unlucky with Babs she had spent her time a cattery at her previous home so she wasn’t used to being out and about - and I do regret not keeping her as a house cat, and blame myself in a way.

I don’t live too far from the Celia Hammond rescue centre, they have been rounding up a lot of the cats from the Olympic site in Stratford and are anxiously looking for new homes, especially as it is now kitten season they must be unindated.

Take care,

Tracy xx


Are cats to be added to our list of no nos while living with cancer and chemo. I live with a diabetic cat which came with my partner…I don’t like her much (the cat that is) but that was the deal. The cat is diabetic, occasionally has little accidents (Grrr…) doesn’t often scartch and never caused any problems through 25 plus chemos and what is now permanent lymphoedema which I blame on the cancer not the cat.


I dont have any cats but do have 4 dogs , which occasionally scratch me but that has never bothered me, the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages.

I don’t know what I would have done without my cat last year. She is a gorgeous long haired tortoiseshell called Susie and when I was really ill and could only stay in bed and watch TV she never left my room. I used to doze off and wake up with her lying on my chest with her little forehead against my cheek - I think they tune into the fact you are poorly.

She is 15 and has to take medication for hyperthyroidism now, and she really is a true little friend.

I would say go ahead and get a cat. Ihave been so glad on mine’s company through my chemo as he would change to my sleeping pattern and quite often keep me company on the 4 am tv watch. I’m lucky in that he doesn’t have a litter tray to clean out and tends to nip rather than scratch but stops when let down.

When I was in hospital the nurse just said to ensure I washed my hands after handling him to prevent infection but not to treat him any differently than before.

Go for it!

Love Kate xx

If it’s any help, I got the gorgeous Mr Mij (who is helping me on the computer right now!) aged 5 moinths from the RSPCA. He and his brother we absolute gents - no scratching or messes and we only needed a litter tray for a short while 'til the boys knew where home was.

Good advice to wear gloves for any litter tray work (or, better still, get someone else to do it) and splash tea tree oil or TCP liberally on any scratches.

Good luck!

I have three great cats and all are rescue one of which I got after my Mastx etc. I just try to be careful and move them if they start pawing with their claws. They are great company and good for you when feeling low so just take a bit of extra care and make sure you clean any scratch carefully.
I get more snags with the gardening!!

I have a rescue cat I got in January. I lost my other cat to thyroid disease in December ( he was only 6). The month after i got my new cat I got my diagnosis. I f I have a tired day on chemo he sits with me all day. He never makes a mess and has occasional scratched but I am not going to get worried about it as his therapeutic value is immeasurable to me. Definately get a cat !!! I am nearly all the way through my chemo and not had any infections or problems.

Rach xx