Cat Spaying And Neutering Recovery Timelines And What To Expect

Feline overpopulation is a problem of massive proportions for the US, as well as for other countries across the globe.

It’s also one of the main reasons why pet parents opt for spaying or neutering their cats. And while the idea of spaying or neutering is a bit controversial, it’s an effective way to cope with overpopulation, widespread diseases like feline herpes, and common behavioral issues.

It’s only natural for cat owners to worry about their spayed or neutered pets, and if you’re worrying, don’t panic at the physical and emotional changes your cat may be experiencing.

Recovery Timeline: What To Expect After Neutering Or Spaying Your Cat

Your vet has most definitely told you that there will be changes in appetite, playfulness, energy levels, and so forth after the surgical procedure. But maybe you were too busy worrying during the doctor’s explanations, and now you’re not quite sure what to expect.

First Stage

During the first recovery phase, the cat will probably be dizzy and uncoordinated. She will likely be unwilling to eat, drink, play, or do anything besides nap.

Think of how you’ve felt after surgery. It’s not all that different.

A vet will typically release the cat from the clinic after a couple of hours have passed. In some cases, female cats may need to spend the first night at the clinic.

Young kittens and most male cats experience the fastest recovery, regardless of their breeds.

The lethargy and grogginess will pass during the first 24 hours after the surgery. If the dizziness hasn’t passed after 24 hours, you should immediately call your vet.

Second Stage

The week following the procedure is crucial for your spayed or neutered cat’s recovery.

If a female was in heat when the procedure took place, she should be kept strictly indoors for at least a week. This will lower the chances of any males attempting to mate with her. Needless to say, if such a situation occurs, the spayed kitty will receive severe injuries.

If you own a notoriously hyperactive and playful cat, you must lower its activity levels during the recovery process. Try to contain the cat in a small room and limit its play time during the upcoming week. Like people, all felines need to rest after surgery, regardless of the procedure.

Third Stage

The third and final stage occurs 10 days after the surgery.

By this time, your pet should have fully recovered from the spaying/ neutering procedure. However, in some rare cases, cats can experience bleeding, swelling, or even an infection near the incision area.

The overall recovery process takes around 10-14 days.

It’s imperative to use a reputable vet’s services. You should also monitor your pet for any side effects during all recovery stages. Any type of negligence on your or your vet’s behalf could harm your beloved furball.

What To Expect From The Post-Surgical Changes

Most cats will try to lick or sniff the incision area. You might need to get a recovery collar or cone to prevent the kitty from accessing the area.

You should also keep other pets and kids away from the cat during the first few weeks to minimize your cat’s stress.

Your cat may lose his appetite for a short while. But its cravings for tasty food will return after the first week has passed.

Your vet will want to do follow-ups to make sure all is well with your fluffy pal.

Keep in mind that feline healthcare doesn’t come cheap, and be prepared for extra fees in case of emergencies.

Will my cat gain weight after being spayed or neutered?

One common fear is that a spayed or neutered cat will soon become overweight.

There is some truth to the fear. Spayed or neutered cats aren’t as restless and as active as they once were.

Since they no longer have heat cycles and aren’t hyperactive while searching for a mate, they don’t burn off all of the energy from their food.

As such, you may need to lower the amount of food you feed your cat. Or better yet, invest in some interactive toys to keep your kitty moving.

Post-Surgery Care Tips

Unlike post-surgical care in humans, it’s not necessary to buy pain medications for spayed/ neutered cats.

Some cats will fully recover during the first week, whereas others will need around 14 days. Be patient with your feline furball, and don’t panic.

Don’t bathe your cat during the first few weeks after the surgery. If it needs an emergency bath, opt for a dry shampoo for pets, but don’t apply it near the incision area. Applying any substances to the incision will result in possible irritation or inflammation.

Limit your pet’s activities after the surgery. That, however, doesn’t mean that you should stop paying attention to your kitty.

Don’t be afraid to pet it or to engage in a short, lazy play session. It’s important for the furball to know its pet parent is there and still loves it, regardless of how long the recovery takes.

Emily Parker

Emily Parker is the Content Manager at Catological. She's passionate about helping cat parents love their cats better by providing the best information and recommendations about everything you'll need to know about your cat, from kitten to senior years. She believes natural, biologically-appropriate products are best...why wouldn't you provide the best for a member of your family?!

6 thoughts on “Cat Spaying And Neutering Recovery Timelines And What To Expect”

  1. Hello. I got my female cat spayed almost 48 hours ago. She has not gotten up from my bed since I put her there. She hasn’t eaten or gone to the bathroom. All she does is sleep I can see she is in so much pain and can barley get up. Im very worried. What should I do?

  2. our little man oliver was neutered today, i read this article(even though ive done this with our other cats) to help ease my anxiety and it did. very well written and helped to alleviate my stress 🙂

  3. It has been 8 days after my cats spat surgery, we have kept it dry she managed to take her cone off while the family was asleep 2 or 3 am. I woke up and saw she had licked herself and it looks slightly raised. Should I be extremely worried(because I am)!. I’m calling her vet at 8:00am. Just need some advice or some words of encouragement. Thank you

  4. Thank you so much for this article. My nala is in recovery stage from her spaying. I’ve had so much anxiety and this helps me know everything is going to be okay.

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