Cat Spay Recovery & Aftercare

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Your furbaby is finally old enough to undertake their spay surgery. You might be wondering how to help them feel as comfortable as possible once they’ve arrived back home.

The majority of cats recover quickly and without any complications. Their body is meant to heal, but the process will be much smoother with your loving assistance. 

The love for a cat is like no other, and we want to make sure our balls of love are thoroughly cared for. We’ll discuss what to feed your cat, warning signs to look out for, and more!

Let’s jump right in!

Anesthesia Effects

First of all, your cat will be coming down from the anesthesia administered before their surgery. If you have gone through surgery before, you may know how this feels. Your cat will feel sedentary for up to twenty-four hours after their anesthesia was given. 

Additionally, they are unaware of what’s happening to them, so they’ll likely keep to themselves and sleep most of the time. Also, it’s important to note that they’re unable to regulate their body temperature entirely during this time, so keeping their environment at room temperature is a must. 

Anesthesia can also be the source of your cat’s sudden movements and sensitivity to loud noises or bright lights. During this time, it would help to keep them in a pleasant, cozy, and quiet environment apart from your kids or other pets. 

A cat curled up asleep.
Your kitty may feel tired from the anesthesia and from the surgery itself. She will need lots of rest after her spay procedure.

Medications for Cat Spay Recovery

Your vet will give your cat an injected medication shortly after their surgery. This medication is to prevent any pain your cat would have otherwise felt. The drug lasts for up to thirty-six hours after their surgery. 

Household medications containing acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or aspirin are known to cause complications in cats. Do not give your cat any pain medications that you didn’t get from your vet. If your cat shows signs of severe pain after thirty-six hours or can visibly see her stitches have ripped, you should seek your veterinarians’ attention. 

Your vet may recommend a pet-safe topical medication such as this derma gel. This is similar to Neosporin but helping heal minor cat wounds.

A light colored tabby kitten looks beyond the camera with abnormally wide eyes.
Your cat’s spay wound should heal quickly, but keep an eye on her incision site and contact your veterinarian if you see anything concerning.

Food and Water for Cat Spay Recovery

Your cat might feel nauseous because of the anesthesia. Let’s further discuss how to care for your cat after spaying concerning feeding.

Once you arrive home with your cat, see to it that she drinks a bit of water. This will help aid the healing process. But as we all know, cats aren’t vast lovers of water, so a little goes a long way. Don’t force anything. 

As for their food intake, give them a quarter or half of the portion they usually eat. Please make sure the food is somewhere that’s easily accessible. 

If your cat throws up after attempting to eat, it’s okay to take away their food and try the next day again.

Not having an appetite is entirely normal. After around forty-eight hours, if your cat still hasn’t eaten anything, you should consider giving your veterinarian a call. 

Please do not give your cat any table scraps, milk products, or try changing their diet during this time. This can disrupt their healing process. After around one week, you should be okay to change their diet if need be. 

A gray cat with yellow eyes looks grouchy.
Your cat may not have a normal appetite after surgery. Be sure she slowly begins to eat her normal diet again over the 48 hours after her spay.

Cat Spay Recovery- The Surgery Site

Once you arrive home with your cat, a couple of reminders are very important to assist in a speedy recovery. 

First off, do not let them lick or bite the area. This could create an infection if the stitches rip. 

Collars

The veterinarian should give you an e-Collar to prevent ripped stitches. If you don’t see them licking or biting, you can take the e-Collar off because it might be uncomfortable. Regardless, it would be best to keep a close eye on your cat.

If your vet did not provide a collar, you can make a simple one with a paper plate. Cut from one side to the center of the plate, and then cut a circle out from the center of the plate to go around their neck. Gently place this around the cat’s head, and staple or tape in place. A paper plate collar has the benefit of being easily replaceable if it gets wet or dirty.

Recovery suit

If your cat is not happy about wearing the collar, a recovery suit may be a better choice for her. This item of clothing is like a vest for your feline that will cover her abdomen, preventing licking or gnawing at her uncomfortable wound site. But unlike the collar, it won’t be as in her way while she eats, sleeps, and interacts with her environment.

As far as their litter box goes, make sure it is accessible without jumping so she can access it without tearing any stiches or hurting her wound. Also be sure that she can access it with a collar on and that she has enough room in the box to do her business if she needs to wear her collar for a few days. If you are using a litter box with a lid, you may want to remove the lid temporarily. If your box is inside a closet or piece of cat furniture, be sure the opening is large enough for kitty to enter and exit comfortable, or move the box out of the enclosed space until your cat is healed.

Now for some activities, you shouldn’t allow your cat to do during their recovery. 

Cat Spay Recovery- Activities

There are a couple of activities you should make sure your cat is not doing during this time, including running around or moving around a great deal. This also could increase their chances of ripping the stitches. Limit their activities for seven to ten days for a full recovery.

Likewise, keep them inside in a dry and clean environment. As mentioned previously, make sure they’re kept warm to ensure comfort. 

Cats love to jump high, but it is to their benefit to discourage them from exerting themselves that way at least for a week. 

Warning Signs to Look Out For

Although I mentioned earlier, most cats recover quite smoothly; it’s always helpful to know the warning signs to be on the lookout for.

If your cat is displaying any of the following, seek your veterinarian’s assistance quickly:

  • Pale gums
  • Decreased appetite after anesthesia has worn off
  • Unnatural breathing patterns
  • Difficulty going to the bathroom
  • Bleeding or pus from the incision area
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Lastly, let’s discuss what kitten spay recovery looks like.

Kitten Spay Recovery

Kitten spay recovery generally looks the same as a grown cat with a couple of differences. 

The Pets Nest notes, spaying your kitten early on can prevent numerous uterine disorders and breast cancer. To add, it avoids early pregnancy for your kitten, which can alter her tiny body.

One main difference is that you can expect your kitten to recover quicker from the anesthesia than older cats. 

All other recovery procedures mentioned earlier apply to your kitten as they due to an older cat. 

Watch a day in the life as three foster kittens get spayed and neutered, and come home afterwards to recover.

Conclusion

Congrats, you are fully equipped on how to care for a cat after spaying. Sooner or later, your kitten or cat will be her full cuddly and active furball just like she was pre-surgery!

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