How to care for your cat after spay or neuter surgery

Your new pet has just had surgery for the first time, and because you are feeling a little stressed or overwhelmed by the situation, you may have forgotten the vet’s instructions. With an understanding of the basics, you can ensure that your kitty has a safe and speedy recovery. Full recovery from surgery takes 10 to 14 days, and recovery for male dogs from spay surgery tends to be faster than recovery for female dogs from spay surgery. With that said, here’s what you can expect for the next two weeks.

Immediately after surgery

Your vet will stay with your cat for a few hours after surgery to monitor him before he is allowed to go home. Many vets schedule these procedures early in the day for this reason. Depending on the situation, your vet may choose to keep your cat overnight for monitoring.

the first 24 hours

Expect your kitty to feel lightheaded, dizzy, and uncoordinated as the anesthesia wears off. He or she may also feel scared or confused. During this time, your pet’s top priority is rest, so provide a comfortable, stress-free environment for your pet to recuperate. Be sure to check back regularly to monitor for any issues.

Abnormal signs of recovery include:

  • bleeding
  • shaking
  • pale gums
  • vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Increase or decrease in body temperature.
  • Difficulty breathing

If a problem arises at any time during recovery, contact your vet or local emergency vet.

Food and water

Do not feed your cat until the anesthetic has completely worn off. Your cat may not be interested in food or water right away, but this is normal. Make sure fresh water is available and when he is ready to eat you can provide a small amount of food. If your cat is still not eating on the third day after surgery, call your vet.

Day 2 to 10

For the next 7-10 days, it’s important to keep your activity level low and encourage your cat to continue resting. If your kitty is a jumper or climber, do everything you can to prevent her from reverting to her old habits just yet. You can return to feeding your cat his normal amount of food at this time. Take a look at the wound every day to make sure he is healing properly. You may need to get a recovery collar or cone to prevent licking your wound.

To avoid further complications and ensure a speedy recovery:

  • Keep your cat inside while he recovers to prevent the incision area from getting dirty or infected.
  • Isolate them from other pets.
  • Keep young children away from a recovering kitten
  • Do not bathe them or let the area get wet for at least 10 days after surgery.
  • And more important, never give your cat human pain relievers – this is dangerous and can even be fatal

Day 11 and beyond

At this point, your cat should be back to normal and the wound should be nearly or completely healed. Often times, this surgical procedure involves sutures that will dissolve, but your vet will let you know if your cat needs a follow-up appointment to remove the sutures. Now you and your cat can get back to regularly scheduled playtime and cuddles!

Thank you for spaying or neutering and doing your part to help prevent pet overpopulation.

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