Are you getting ready for your cat to get spayed or neutered?
While you probably have tons of questions — and maybe some normal worries — about your cat having surgery, it’s important to make sure you’re all ready for the TLC your cat’s gonna need after they get home.
“When we have surgery, there are always specific aftercare instructions to follow, hopefully with the help of a family member or friend!” Dr. Natalie Marks, veterinarian at Blum Animal Hospital in Chicago and Royal Canin partner, told The Dodo. “The same is true for your cat after a spay or neuter.”
“A spay incision is typically healed in 10-14 days, with the majority of healing occurring in the first seven days,” Dr. Marks said.
During this period, it’s important to follow recommendations from your veterinarian to make sure your cat is resting and healing up properly.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
1. Make sure to keep your cat in a safe space.
“Anesthesia can take time to filter from the body, sometimes up to several hours after they come home,” Dr. Marks said.
Because of this, you should keep your cat in a safe and controlled environment — like a bedroom or small office — that’s free from stairs, things to climb or other possible hazards if your cat is sleepy or groggy.
“In a perfect world, we would love for a cat in the recovery period after a spay to be contained to a bedroom or bathroom for at least the first 24 hours,” Dr. Marks advised.
But the exact time really depends on both the individual cat and the household.
“If this is a single cat living at home who is quiet during the day, then the pet parent can ease restriction … especially if the cat is stressed being separated,” Dr. Marks said. “However, if this cat lives with other active housemates, it may be necessary to separate them to help with healing.”
2. Make sure to give all medications as directed, at the right time and at the right dose.
If you’re having difficulty administering the medication, Dr. Marks suggests calling your veterinarian right away to avoid missing a dose, which can lead to your cat having increased pain and risk of infection.
3. Your veterinarian may also send home a collar to help prevent your cat from licking his or her incision.
“This is incredibly important in the healing phase to help avoid secondary infections,” Dr. Marks said.
4. Check the incision daily to look for redness, swelling, discharge or odor.
If any of these signs are seen, Dr. Marks suggests contacting your veterinarian immediately.
Your cat should recover with ease after surgery, and with these tips you’ll know you’re doing everything you can so that your cat bounces back ASAP.
“In some instances, a recheck of some kind may be indicated depending on your cat’s pre-surgical blood work or any other findings,” Dr. Marks said. “Make sure to follow through on this exam!”
While spaying and neutering are both low-risk procedures, it’s better safe than sorry — so if you have any concerns about your individual cat’s healing process, call your vet right away.