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

The first stage of the spayed/neutered cat’s recovery process spans the first few hours after the procedure. Vets will release the kitties from the clinic after a couple of hours have passed, not immediately after the surgery. In some cases female cats may need to spend the first night at the clinic.

During the first recovery phase the cat will probably be dizzy, uncoordinated, and unwilling to eat, drink, play or basically do something else besides nap. Think of how you’ve felt after a surgery. It’s not all that different.

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. Your cat will feel like its old self afterwards. 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, the cat 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 a surgery, regardless of the procedure’s nature.

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 it’s possible for cats to experience bleeding, swelling, or even an infection near the incision area.

The overall recovery process takes around 10-14 days.

It’s very important 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 behalf or on your vet’s behalf could harm your beloved furball.

What To Expect From The Post-Surgical Changes

A common misconception is that all spayed and neutered cats will become overweight after the surgery.

In reality, there’s a big chance they’ll become obese simply because they 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 can’t burn off all of the energy from their food.

You may need to lower the amount of food you serve since the calories won’t be burnt off.

On the other hand, it’s completely natural for any cat to lose its appetite for a while after the procedure. But its cravings for tasty food will return after the first week has passed.

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 in order to not stress out the kitty.

The vet will want to do following check-ups in order 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.

Final 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.

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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?!

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alyssa m - January 19, 2019

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?

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    Emily Parker - January 21, 2019

    Hi Alyssa – If your cat is still not moving much, please talk to your vet ASAP!

    Reply

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