After spaying or neutering, your cat must be confined to an enclosed area for about 10 to 14 days to ensure safe and fast healing and prevent any infections or complications.
While the surgery itself may not be painful thanks to the general anesthesia, the post-operative period can be trying for both you and your cat.
After any kind of surgery, it is important that your cat gets the time, space, and environment to rest and heal.
One of the most basic and important things in post-op care is to keep your cat confined to the safety of your house.
Whether you’re a first-time owner of a cat or an experienced cat parent, this period of post-op care and confinement can be a daunting experience. But don’t worry, as we’re here to help you and your little furry buddy get through this recovery period smoothly.
Read along as we navigate through the importance of confinement, and work through the Dos, DONTs, and everything in between that you need to know about post-op care and recovery.
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Why Should I Keep My Cat Confined After Spay?
- A spay is a major abdominal procedure after which you should keep your cat confined in indoor places so that it does not take huge leaps off fences or walls, risking its incisions.
- Keeping your cats indoors keeps your cat safe from-
- Hitting or falling while they are in a disoriented state.
- Causing their sutures or skin stitches to loosen up, hence delaying their skin from healing.
- Failure of internal sutures or skin stitches can cause leakage of urine or bacteria into the abdomen, bleeding, etc.
- It can cause the bone plate, pin, or screws within your cat to move.
- Slipping off the bandages could cause a lot of pain or damage to your cat.
Must Read: How To Tell If My Cat Is In Pain After Spay?
What Are the Potential Problems After Your Cat’s Surgery?
Even strictly indoor cats love to run around the house and play all day. And while ordinarily, even you might enjoy watching your cat josh around the house and have fun, the recovery period calls for tough love from your side.
Running and jumping around the house can cause injuries and complications and delay the healing process. Some of the potential problems you might face are listed below.
1. Accidents due to the cone put in after the surgery
Your cat’s cone might get stuck into constricted spaces. The cone tends to obstruct your cat’s natural field of vision, thus making it more prone to accidents.
2. Loosening of stitches
Especially if you have a female cat, the loosening of stitches due to physical movement and exertion can cause the incision to reopen. This can lead to infections.
3. Injuries over the incision
If while jumping around the house your cat accidentally hits the wound against a piece of furniture or any other object, it can again lead to the reopening of the wound.
4. Physical exertion
During the recovery period, it is pertinent that your cat gets enough rest. Your cat’s body is still healing and is therefore at lower levels of strength and energy.
Too much physical exertion can cause weakness in your cat and cause general discomfort and uneasiness.
You might also like to read about how to keep your cat from jumping after surgery
Precautions To Take After My Cat Is Spayed
1. Secluded Room
Keep your cat in a secluded area or room which is away from noises and other animals for a few days.
2. Comfortable Bed On The Floor
Make sure your cat has a comfortable bed on the floor around her so that she does not keep jumping.
3. Clean Litter Box
Make sure to keep a clean litter box next to your cat, so that it doesn’t strain much.
4. Clean Water
Your cat should have access to clean water around her.
5. Keep Your Cat Indoor
Keep your cat indoors until it recovers properly, contact your vet before giving your cat any freedom to move or for another activity.
Interesting Read: Why Do Cats Not Use Litter Boxes After Being Spayed?
For How Long Should My Cat Be Isolated For After Spay?
Your cat should be isolated for at least ten days from the date of spay. But still, if you feel your cat has not recovered then keep it isolated until medical attention is required b your cat.
Keeping your cat isolated within your own house not only allows you to monitor your pet closely in terms of its activity but also helps in the healing process.
When you keep your cat restricted for ten days it allows the tissue to heal and prevents the incision from opening up.
Keeping your female cat in a cat-proofed room after the surgery is really necessary as they have had abdominal surgery.
Hence keeping them away from other cats who may play or harass her during her recovery period is important too.
The isolated room should not have any heightened furniture.
Also, check out whether is it ok to confining a cat to a room at night
Can I Let My Cat Walk Around After Being Spayed?
For at least 24 to 48 hours after the surgery, your cat should not be allowed to walk around.
As anesthesia takes time to wear off, your cat should strictly not be allowed outdoors during that period. Do not leave your cat unattended when it is under the effect of residual anesthesia.
Even if your cat is a strictly indoor pet, it should still not be allowed to move around for the first 2 days after the surgery.
After the surgery, your cat’s body is weak and low on energy for a couple of days. So, walking around can cause accidents, injury, and physical exertion that delays healing.
Also, check out when can i get my cat spayed after having kittens
Where Should I Keep My Cat After Spaying?
Mainly your cat should be kept in a small room or a crate to sleep in.
There are many more comfortable and secure options for keeping your cat after the surgery.
1. Large Carrier
A large carrier (plastic dog crate) is an airplane-style dog crate that is used to keep the cats for their post-operation recovery. This space is large and has enough room for a bed for your cat.
In this space, your cat can relax and lounge without getting into trouble.
You can even keep their litter box and food inside the crate.
Hence a plastic dog crate is a good success among pet holders.
Interesting Read: Can I Feed My Cat After Neutering?
2. Laundry Room Or A Small Bathroom
If you cannot spend on the large crate, you could consider keeping your cat in a small bathroom or in the laundry room.
Though there are chances your cat could hurt itself as there will be surfaces.
Your cat could jump over from the toilet or the window shield. Jumping is not good for your cat as it could open or loosen the stitches.
Hence make sure it is a cat-proof room so that your cat does not have an access to medication, detergent, etc.
You could keep your cat in a small bedroom but make sure it is cat-proof.
Make sure there is no chance of your cat jumping from the bed or furniture. It would be preferable to keep a low-lying bed and no furniture around.
If you cannot remove the furniture out of the room, then you should put pet stairs or pet ramps close to the furniture so that your cat can use them and then jump.
Though stairs are not to be used too after the spay.
4. With Your Vet
If you feel you cannot handle your cat at home or don’t have an appropriate place to keep it safe then you could ask your veterinarian or local veterinary ER if they have any medical boarding facility available.
You should take this step if it is risky for your cat at your house.
If you get to keep visiting your cat on a daily basis then it is the best option for you to take.
Also, find out why cat is very active after spaying
When Can Cats Play After Spaying?
Your cat should take about fourteen days to recover from the spay operation. Running and playing around would only slow the healing process for your cat. It could even open the wound.
You could pet your cat and keep it to yourself but do not let her play with toys or make your cat walk around.
Make sure your cat does not do any rough play or run around as it could open up the intact stitches or sutures.
It could cause your cat pain later.
In the case of kittens, it is a matter of excessive care as they are unlikely to listen to doctors and they are more active than adult cats.
Your kitten may just start roaming and playing so make sure it doesn’t.
Can A Cat Climb Stairs After Being Spayed?
Even after the first 24 to 28 hours, your cat should not climb stairs until it recovers completely.
Physical movements such as climbing stairs can cause the stitches to loosen up. If the stitches break, the wound will reopen, causing bleeding and pain. An open, bleeding wound can even lead to infections which would further complicate the matter.
It is best to restrict your cat’s movements for 10 to 14 days after the surgery.
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How Should I Stop My Cat From Jumping After Being Spayed?
If you observe your cat jumping even after being in a cat-proof room or area then you should rather consider keeping your cat in a crate after being spayed.
As you cannot always keep an eye on your cat even if enclosed in a room then you should keep it in a crate whenever you are not around.
Your kitten might be active even after anesthesia or weakness, so you should consider how to handle her and keep her from jumping around.
It is always better to keep in mind where you will keep your cat after it is spayed.
When Can Male Cats Go Outside After Being Neutered?
Since male cats don’t have sutures, they can normally go outside within 2 days of surgery.
However, before leaving your male cat out of confinement, ensure that the wound has healed. In case you see any swelling or redness, consult your vet immediately.
In such a case, you should not let your cat out of confinement until it is completely recovered.
Interesting Read: Why Is My Cat Hiding After Being Spayed?
When Can Female Cats Go Outside After Being Spayed?
Female cats need up to 14 days of rest and recovery before they can be let out of confinement.
Spaying your female cat is an abdominal surgery with a bigger wound. Her stitches will take time to dry up and recover completely.
A confined recovery of 14 days after the surgery will ensure that the female cat gets the required rest for proper healing.
Can I Leave My Cat Alone After Being Spayed?
For the first 12 to 24 hours after the surgery, you cannot leave your cat alone. This is a critical period of time to monitor for post-op bleeding and normal urination.
After this period, as long as your cat is comfortable and is urinating, you can leave your cat in a properly cat-proofed room with her e-collar on.
However, even then you must ensure that her medication schedule is followed properly. Check the incision or wound at least twice a day for any signs of redness, swelling, or infection.
Can I Hold My Cat After Spaying?
You should avoid lifting your cat unless it is absolutely necessary, as it can easily tear the stitches and reopen the wound.
For the first 12 to 24 hours, you should also avoid petting your cat. While it may feel reassuring to you, petting might just add to your cat’s discomfort as it will still be under the effects of anesthesia.
After this period, once your cat has comfortably settled in home isolation, you may pet her. But even then, avoid lifting your cat unless you absolutely have to.
How To Pick Up Cat After Spaying?
While you must avoid lifting your cat during the post-op recovery period, if you absolutely have to, you can use this approach:
Cup your cat’s hind end with one hand. Use the other hand to support your cat from the front end under the chest. While making sure that both the front and hind ends are supported, lift the cat gently.
Always ensure that the incision is not being stretched or moved while lifting your cat. For female cats, and male cats that had surgery for undescended testicles, avoid putting pressure on the abdomen.
For male cats with a scrotal incision, avoid putting pressure on the scrotal region while supporting the hind end.
Check out more details: How To Pick Up Cat After Spaying?
How To Care for My Cat After Spaying or Neutering?
Confining your cat after the surgery is just one part of the post-op care it will require throughout the recovery period.
Your vet will give you detailed guidelines on the DOs, DONTs, and all the precautions you need to take for the next 10 to 14 days after the surgery.
You may also get a medication schedule and a tentative schedule to follow up with the vet. Make sure to follow all the vet’s guidelines properly.
While aftercare may look slightly different for everyone, here are a few common points that need to be taken care of after a spay or neuter surgery:
Your cat will need ample time to rest after the surgery. Make sure to cat-proof the room to prevent any accidents due to jumping around your cat. If you have multiple cats at home, do not let the other cats near your operated cat during the recovery period. Keep your cat isolated, and let it rest.
If your cat returns with a medication schedule prescribed by the vet, follow it strictly. Use the correct dosage of the prescribed medicine at the prescribed time, and as directed by the vet.
3. E-collar or Cone
It is highly advisable, and in most cases even mandatory, for cats to have a cone or e-collar around their neck after the surgery. The cone must stay on for the entire duration of the recovery period.
While it may cause some discomfort initially, the cone is necessary as it will prevent your cat from licking its wound and thereby risk the loosening of stitches, reopening of the wound, bleeding, or even infections.
4. Regular inspection of the wound
Regularly inspect the incision or wound at least twice a day. Check for any signs of swelling, redness, bleeding, or infection. In any such case, contact your vet immediately.
5. Follow up with the vet
Your vet might give you a tentative schedule for follow-up after the surgery. Make sure you do not miss these follow-up check-ins.
You will also find it interesting to read about can i keep my cat in a cage overnight
Frequently Asked Questions-
Which size crate should you consider keeping your cat in after the spay surgery?
It would help if you placed your cat in an adequate-sized crate. Make sure your cat can sit and stand comfortably in it. Your cat should also be able to turn around in the crate comfortably.
How should you consider carrying your cat around the stairs or to the bathroom after it is spayed?
You should consider carrying it in your arms and walking it to the destination required. Do not let it walk as it could not only hurt your cat but also loosen up its stitches.
Where should I keep my cat safe when I am not around after it is spayed?
Try keeping your cat in a large crate where you can keep a small bed and food for your cat and it will have enough space to stand, sit and move around.
So, make sure you keep your cat restricted within the enclosed space for at least fourteen days.
Do not let it out until it recovers completely.
Make sure it does not play, jump or walk around as it would cause pain to your cat or the stitches might loosen up. Let your cat take proper rest as it would be an anesthetic.
Do not keep it in a place from where it can take jumps and hurt itself majorly. Be there for your cat.
For more queries, you could always comment and ask.
Interesting Read: How To Neuter A Cat At Home With A Rubber Band?
If my cat is an outside cat can I keep it in a crate outside? If surgery is done in January?
Yes, you can keep your neutered outdoor cat outside.
Make sure that his environment is temperature-controlled and is not exposed directly to external elements.