Neutering or Spaying Your Cat: What to Expect After Surgery

A neutered or a spayed cat is a happier and healthier cat. The procedure is simple and highly beneficial for your pet and yourself as well. Before making your cat go through the surgery, make sure you know how to take care of her/him post procedure. A freshly spayed or neutered cat needs a lot of care for the first few days post surgery. Here are some things you need to keep in mind:

Stages of Recovery

Your neutered or spayed cat will go through three stages during his/her recovery. Here is what you should look out for in each:

Stage 1

Your cat will be quite dizzy and disoriented during this stage because of the anesthesia. He/she will be quite lethargic and may refuse to eat, drink or even pee and poop in favor of a nap. It’s quite similar to how anyone would feel after coming out of surgery.

The vet will probably release your cat after a couple of hours have passed post surgery. However, if your cat is female, she may have to stay for overnight monitoring just to be safe. The grogginess and tiredness should pass after 24 hours but if it doesn’t, take your cat to the vet immediately. He/she may not have reacted well to the anesthesia.

Stage 2

The week after a neutering or spaying procedure is equally important. If your cat is female and is in heat, she will try and escape to mate. Keep her indoors at all times as she recovers. That way, male cats cannot get to her either who may otherwise injure her.

If your cat is playful, a couple of stitches may not deter him/her from doing ‘zoomies.’ Contain your pet in a small room and reduce play time for the entire week. He/she needs to rest for the wound to close. If the incision ruptures, it can get infected before you can do anything about it.

Stage 3

The last stage for a spayed or neutered cat is more relaxed, but you still need to be cautious during it. At this time, your cat should have recovered completely from the procedure. However, in rare cases, an infection may crop around the stitches followed by bleeding and swelling. If that happens, head to the vet immediately.

Why You Should Monitor the Incisions Regularly

All in all, it’s the site of the incision that you really have to worry about and monitor.

When you bring your cat home, the incisions will be fresh and prone to breakage. Check the stitches daily to check. The procedure is quite invasive – the vet actually has to cut right into your pet’s abdomen to remove the sexual organs before closing the incision with layers of sutures. Any sudden movements or aggressive behavior can make them break.

The edges of the incision should be touching each other and the skin around it should be a healthy pink, not red or enflamed. The wound may be a bit on the red side during the first few days only. After that, it should heal and turn pinkish.

Do not bathe your cat for 10 days post surgery and don’t allow him/her to lick the sutures either.  The wound has to be kept dry or may get infected. Consider investing in an Elizabethan collar for your cat to keep him/her away from it.

If you notice some redness, swelling or discharge around the surgery area, get in touch with the vet immediately. You may notice a small bump near the sutures, but that is nothing to worry about as long as it doesn’t bleed. If your cat is pale skinned, you may see some bruising about the incision but that is quite normal.

Recovery Time for Neutered/Spayed Cats

Depending on your cat’s sex, your vet will advise you on the recovery duration. Most cats can recover from being neutered or spayed in 10 to 14 days max. Males and kittens can recover faster than females. It may seem a bit much, but it will pass fast when you find yourself taking care of your fur baby and making sure the stitches remain pristine.

Your cat should be back to normal after this time. Just keep an eye on his/her behavior. Anything out of the ordinary (such as excessive vomiting, lethargy or lack of appetite that refuses to go away) should be a cause for concern.

Litter Box Habits Post Surgery

Even if your cat doesn’t eat or drink much during the first few days, he/she will need to use the litter box eventually. The box should be clean and the litter should be replaced regularly. Otherwise, the wound may be infected by bacteria. Better yet, use shredded paper litter for a week post surgery.

Place the litter box close to your cat’s favorite resting spot so he/she doesn’t have to move too much. Plus, monitor the pee for signs of blood 24 hours after the procedure. Red tinted urine is a potential sign of infection.

The anesthetic may also cause an upset stomach so don’t worry if your cat gets diarrhea or constipation. It may last for two days. However, if he/she cannot eliminate after that normally, get in touch with the vet immediately. There may be a chronic blockage due to swelling.

A spayed or neutered cat can live a healthier and happier life provided he/she is taken care of. Just because they cannot get pregnant or impregnate other cats doesn’t mean they cannot get diseases. Take your beloved pet to the vet regularly for routine checkups so you can nip any potential or life threatening issues in the bud.

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