Cat’s Xiphoid Sticking Out – Should I Worry?

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Feeling a bone sticking out of your kitty’s sternum when you stroke her? You probably wonder what this protrusion is and ask yourself if your cat’s in pain and needs medical attention. Most of the time, it’ll be a mild injury, but there are other causes that may be concerning.

We are here to outline several possible reasons why your cat’s xiphoid may be sticking out.

Why Is Your Cat’s Xiphoid Sticking Out?

Your cat’s xiphoid may be sticking out because your cat’s still young, and her bones are still developing. The lump on your cat’s chest may also be because of an injury that has led to a mild trauma or bone fracture/breakage. Also, your cat’s sternum protrusion might not be the xiphoid at all. Instead, abscesses and tumors may be the cause.

Reasons For Cat’s Xiphoid Sticking Out

You may feel a protrusion in your feline friend’s sternum for several reasons, some more serious than others. The most common possible causes are listed and explained below.

Kitten’s Bones Are Still Developing

In some instances, the protrusion of the xiphoid (cartilage part of the breastbone) in cats results from defective development while still in the mother’s womb. In kittens, the xiphoid is often still flexible. You can tell if your kitten’s xiphoid is abnormal by observing if it flattens out, remains hooked, or stays protruding when gentle pressure is applied.

Even if you can still feel the protrusion, there’s probably no need for concern. Your cat is still young and developing, and with time, the bony lump on her sternum is likely to go away on its own.

Cats that have a prominently protruding xiphoid up until even six months of age can develop a perfectly normal sternum when they’re one year old. As your cat grows and her muscle mass fully develops, the protrusion will likely become much less pronounced.

If it doesn’t, it may give your feline friend a slightly strange appearance, especially if your cat’s short-haired. But If your cat’s showing no signs of pain or breathing problems, and is perfectly fine in every other regard, then you have nothing to worry about.

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Mild Trauma Or Fractured/Broken Bone

Cats are highly curious and active creatures; they are always up to some mischief. So naturally, cats that go outdoors are more susceptible to mishaps. But even if your cat’s always indoors, she can get injured while exploring, running, and climbing different things around the house.

The protrusion on your cat’s sternum is likely to be due to injury if you see changes in your cat’s behavior, such as lethargy, decreased appetite, visible discomfort, or whining when you pick her up. Your feline companion likely has a broken or fractured xiphoid. It is also possible that your cat’s injury is minor, and the lump on her chest is merely a mild trauma or contusion.

What You Should Do

In the case that the lump on your cat’s sternum isn’t going down by itself, you should consult your vet right away. They are likely to conduct an x-ray or a needle aspirate on your cat in order to come to a precise diagnosis.

The most common way to deal with a broken xiphoid is through pain and anti-inflammatory medication and ensuring that your cat isn’t putting herself in situations that can cause further harm and aggravate the existing injury. It’s unlikely that your cat will require surgery unless the injury is highly serious.

Alternative Reasons

There is a wide range of reasons why you may feel bumps on your cat’s body in general. When these bumps are in the sternum area, they may be mistaken for a xiphoid protrusion. Some of these reasons are cause for concern as they may be a sign of serious health hazards in your cat.

The most serious reasons for bumps on your cat’s body are abscesses or tumors. Unfortunately, there’s no way for you to identify the cause of the bump by just feeling it. It is best to take your furry pal to the vet and have them run tests on her to be sure.


If the bump on your cat’s sternum is red and is causing her pain, it’s likely to be an abscess. Abscesses are swollen, pus-filled growths that can form on your cat’s body if she’s been scratched or bitten.

They cause your cat to be wary of being touched and to have a reduced appetite. Your vet is likely to prescribe antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medication. If the abscess is large, your cat may need surgery.

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The abnormality you feel on your cat’s sternum may also be a tumor. Sometimes, cats develop fatty tumors (lipomas), and this occurs more frequently in overweight or older cats. Lipomas are not an issue unless they’re causing difficulties in your cat’s ability to move. Your vet may suggest surgery to remove a lipoma if it’s getting larger.

However, your vet may find the tumor to be a cancerous one when they conduct tests on it. This, of course, is a major cause for concern.


There’s a variety of reasons why you may feel a protrusion in your cat’s sternum. If your cat’s showing no signs of pain, discomfort, or changes in behavior, then it’s most likely that this protrusion is a harmless deformity or a benign fatty tumor. In this case, your cat’s xiphoid sticking out is no cause for concern.

If your cat’s in pain, shying away from your touch, avoiding exercise, and eating less than usual, then she may have broken or fractured a bone. Your furry pal could also have developed an abscess or a cancerous tumor.

In all cases, you should pay your vet a visit to get a precise diagnosis of what’s going on with your kitty. Getting your cat tested and knowing for sure what’s causing the protrusion is the best way to ease your mind. It’s also the best way to ensure that your cat will get any treatment or medication that may be necessary.