Caring For Your Cat After They've Been Neutered

If you're thinking about getting a kitten or young cat, the first thing you need to do is make sure you source your new pet from a reputable and well established breeder or responsible private seller. This will guarantee the kittens have been well bred and cared for. It also reduces the chances of them having any of those nasty infectious diseases that often prove fatal. Whether you choose to get a male or female cat, unless you intend on breeding from them, the next step is to organise for them to be spayed or neutered as soon as they are old enough.

It can be  little stressful, taking a new pet to the vets to have this done, but with all the modern medicines and techniques at their fingertips, vets consider both of these surgeries to be pretty routine and therefore safe. However, it's the after care that's really important and it's up owners to make sure their pets are comfortable and that no infection sets in.

Some owners find their cats behaviour changes after they have been spayed or neutered which leaves them feeling a little anxious, but there is nothing to worry about because this is something that's to be expected when you first get your cat home. Pretty soon, your feline friend will be back to their old selves but it will tke a day or two. Below are a few tips on how to look after your cat when they've been neutered right from the moment you pick them up from the vet after they've had the surgery.

When You First Get Your Cat Home

Most vet practices like to perform this type of surgery in the morning so they can reunite anxious owners with their precious cats that same evening. When you do pick your cat up, someone at the surgery will discuss everything they did and how the operation went with you. This is a great time to ask any questions you may have about the all important after care.

The majority of cats don't really like travelling in cars so you need to minimise the amount of time they are in the vehicle, which means taking them straight back home as soon as you pick them up. Once safely back in the house, it's best to let them out of their carriers and then leave them in peace. Most cats have a favourite “quiet” corner in a home and this is the best place for them to be. If you have any other animals in the house, you should keep them away. If you have any children the same applies.

The reason you need to keep kids and other animals away from your cat is because they may show a little bit of aggression. This behaviour is simply because they will be feeling disorientated due to the anaesthetic they were given. The other reason being in the wild and injured animal's typical reaction is to show aggression as a means of self-defence. As your cat starts to feel better, they will soon be back to their old, friendly selves.

Strange Behaviour After Surgery is Normal

As previously mentioned, you should expect to see a little stranger than usual behaviour when you first bring your neutered cat home. They will need to recover from the anaesthetic which means until they do, their co-ordination will be a little bit “off”, and will be for at least 12 hours after they have had their surgery. Your little cat will seem groggy, and may even vomit which you would need to keep an eye on. They will want to sleep a lot – more than usual – which again is perfectly normal behaviour for a cat that has undergone any sort of surgery.

However, if your cat's behaviour does not go back to normal after 18 hours or so, then you should contact your vet and see if they would like to see your cat back at the surgery again. This would be to do a little check up to make sure nothing untoward is going on.

Food and Water

You have to make sure your recovering cat has access to lots of fresh clean water. When it comes to food, you should offer them a small amount of their favourite dish – but don't be alarmed if they are not interested in anything you offer them. This is to be expected and cats normally don't want to eat anything from 12 to 24 hours after they've had the surgery. However, if your cat does eat and then vomits, there is no need to panic because this is the anaesthetic again – it has that nauseous effect on them.

You may also find your cat uses its litter tray a lot just after they've been neutered. Again, this is perfectly normal because it is a cat's way of flushing out all the medication they were given for the operation. The one thing you might want to do is to place their litter tray close to where your cat is recovering so they can reach it quickly and easily. Occasionally, a cat will go into a deep sleep and will mess themselves – again this is nothing to worry about too much as long as it does not continue.

Checking On the Incision

It's a good idea to check your cat's incision on a daily basis to make sure it is healing properly and that it's clean. The incision will seem a little swollen for the first few hours after they've had the surgery and there may a little redness as well as some discharge from it. This is nothing to worry about and the swelling, redness and discharge will gradually go down over the following 48 hours.

However, if after 48 hours the swelling does not go down and the redness appears to be getting vivid, then you need to get in touch with your vet and take your cat to the surgery. If you notice there is a rather nasty smell coming from the incision, this is serious and you would need to get your cat to the vet as soon as you can because it means there's a serious infection setting in.

The Do's & Don'ts

  • You have to keep your cat inside and in a nice quiet corner they like to be in. Try to prevent them from jumping although most cats just want to curl up for the first few days after they've been neutered. If you need to use an Elizabethan collar or tube sock to stop your cat from licking the incision, then you should do so – but this only needs to be done if your pet will not stop licking at the cut
  • Handle your cat very gently and try not to pick them up, unless you absolutely have to
  • Do not use cat litter in their trays, instead use good quality shredded paper but never use newspaper. You can buy shredded paper from good pet stores. This is to prevent any dust from the cat litter getting into the incision which may lead to an infection setting in
  • If you own a hairless cat – make sure you don't bath them for at least a week after they've been neutered

If your cat hides away and will not come out after the initial 48 hours of bringing them home, the chances are things are not quite right and they are in too much pain. You need to contact your vet immediately and get your pet to the surgery as soon as you can.

Spaying and neutering does cause quite a bit of stress to cats, so you need to be patient and give them all the time they need to fully recover. Their immune systems will be low so you need to keep a close eye on things and in particular to watch out for any respiratory diseases which some newly neutered cats are prone to get.

If you notice any symptoms of the following symptoms after 48 hours of surgery, you need to get your cat back to the vets as soon as you can:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Refusal to drink
  • Nasal discharge
  • Sneezing
  • Any other unusual behaviour

Conclusion

It's really important to have cats neutered unless you intend on breeding from them, it's the best way to cut down the numbers of unwanted cats. The after care you give your cat is important, because you need to know everything is okay and no infection has set in. If there is an infection flaring up, the sooner you get your pet back to the vet, the better. It is also very usual for cats to behave a little strangely for the first two of so days after they have been neutered, so this is nothing to worry about. If they continue to be aggressive or try to hide away 48 hours after their surgery, then things are not right and your furry feline friend will have to go back to the vet for a check up.


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