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I am sorry that you have been waiting for a response. I recently just logged onto the site and noted that your question hasn't yet been answered. I am a licensed veterinarian with over 25 years’ experience and would be happy to work with you if you are still needing assistance.
The mass in that picture definitely looks like something that needs to be removed or at least have a biopsy performed. That is the only way to find out what it is and if it is anything to be worried about. If Chouchou has no other underlying problems, there is no reason to think that he would not do will under anesthesia. Ten years old is not that old for a cat and as long as the anesthesia is monitored, should pose no significant risk.
I would advise that you have a vet evaluate him right away and make plans to have it taken care of . If your vet is not answering your calls, I would seek out a new vet.
I hope this is helpful. Please let me know if you have ANY other questions. My goal is to give you 100% satisfaction and if you are not yet satisfied, please reply so I can clarify for you.
It is impossible to diagnose most lumps just by the way they look or feel, so I cannot comment on the consequences of doing nothing. There are other ways to determine the seriousness of the lump and what to expect as far as it's behavior or effect on the body. There is a test called a fine needle aspirate (FNA) which can be performed by collecting a sample of cells from the mass with a needle and then examining under the microscope. This can usually be done right in the clinic. It is not always definitive enough to let you know the exact cause of the lump, but it may help to make the decision of if anything else needs to be done, like surgical removal. Some growths are easily identified as benign and that is all that needs to be done unless the growth is of a size to be bothering the pet. This mass does not appear typical to what we see when a cat has an infection secondary to a fight, but it is hard to say without an in-person physical exam.
The cost of surgery can be highly variable depending on many factors including his general health, the extent of the surgery, etc. I would say that you are more likely talking hundreds, but not thousands of dollars. Good luck!
That sounds like a good idea, but keep in mind that in order for someone to give you an accurate estimate, they would need to examine Chouchou and review his medical history otherwise they will only be able to give you a ballpark figure.