For many cats, a trip to the vet and subsequent surgery might be a frightening and stressful experience. So your cat might act timid or jumpy for a few days after. This change is temporary, and you can encourage her with gentle petting along with a warm and quiet location for recovery.
Your cat was given a general anesthetic or a sedative. These drugs can take a number of hours to wear off and may cause some patients to appear drowsy for a day or so. Over the next 24-48 hours, your cat’s behavior should gradually return to normal.
To best help your cat after surgery, provide them with a quiet and comfortable place to sleep, away from anything that might cause stress like other pets or children. Make sure to have a warm, comfortable bed ready for your cat that allows them to stretch and alleviate any discomfort from surgical areas.
Generally, soft tissue surgeries will be mostly healed by the 2 - 3 week mark and after a month-and-a-half will be completely healed. For orthopedic surgeries, the recovery process is much longer. About 80% of your cat’s recovery will occur within the first 2 - 3 months of their surgery.
In most cases you can expect your cat to be groggy and lethargic from anesthesia for the first 12 to 24 hours. She may also be a little cranky or aggressive—basically feeling extra sensitive.
Common side-effects of anesthesia can be seen during recovery, including a reduced ability to control his/her body temperature (so s/he may seem cold or, less commonly, hot), increased vocalization due to disorientation, and a lack of coordination.
A cat experiencing postoperative pain will often sit in the back of its cage. This subtle sign of pain will remain unrecognized if the caregiver expects to see more active signs of pain, such as pacing, agitation, or vocalizing.
With today’s anesthetics, many of which are reversible, your cat should be almost completely normal by the time of discharge. However, many cats will sleep more or be more tired after returning home for twelve to twenty-four hours after anesthesia.
During recovery, you’ll notice that she seems weak and spends more time than usual resting or sleeping. This is a natural reaction to illness or surgery, and helps her to conserve energy and mend tissues while her body is getting back to normal.
Helping Your Pet Cope With Crate Rest
Make sure that your pet’s crate is large enough to allow your fur baby to stand up and turn around. You may need to purchase a larger crate if your cat has a plastic cone or e-collar to prevent licking.
Best Places to Put a Cat After Surgery
“airplane-style” dog crate for their cat’s post-op recovery space. These crates often have more than enough room for a bed where a cat can lounge and relax, but not get into too much trouble. A large enough crate should provide space for their litter box and food/water.
Sudden jumping or stretching can disrupt the healing process and may even cause the incision to reopen. Thankfully, few procedures require a significant crate or cage rest to help your cat recover, and most outdoor cats will be able to cope well with staying indoors for a few days as they recover.
o Many cats will not have a bowel movement for the first 3-4 days after surgery. o Reasons that a cat will not have a regular bowel movement after surgery include: - Your cat has been fasted prior to surgery. - Your cat may not have eaten well during their hospital stay or the first few days home.
After a spay surgery, it can take 6–8 weeks for your cat’s hormones to balance. Even though she doesn’t physically have heat cycles anymore, lingering hormones can make her feel like she does. Yowling can still occur until these hormones have settled.
Occasionally after surgery, cats and kittens can have an adverse behavioral reaction to anesthesia. Behaviors you may see include, but are not limited to: hissing, growling, and swatting and may be towards people or other animals including their family members.
Horner’s syndrome is a common neurological disorder of the eye and facial muscles, caused by dysfunction of the sympathetic nervous system. The condition usually occurs suddenly and typically affects one side of the head but can be bilateral in rare cases.
Don’t try to pet or play with your cat immediately after surgery. While this may feel reassuring to you, it may just keep your cat from feeling safe and rested. Avoid lifting your cat unless it’s absolutely necessary. You can easily tear your cat’s surgical incision if you lift or move your cat too much.
Decreased interest in positive things like playing, social interaction and exploring outside. Being withdrawn and hiding away. Appearing lame and experiencing increased sensitivity to touch in specific areas of their body. Reduction in movement and activity.
Why is my cat purring after surgery? Purring is a natural response to certain stimuli in cats. For many cat owners, this is a sign of comfort and pleasure.
Even though purring takes energy, many cats purr when they get hurt or are in pain. So what makes the effort worth it? It might simply be a way for a cat to soothe itself, like a child sucks their thumb to feel better.
Side effects of general anesthesia can include: Nausea and vomiting – This very common side effect can occur within the first few hours or days after surgery and can be triggered by a number of factors, such as the medication, motion, and the type of surgery.
Diet & Feeding Your Cat After Surgery
If you notice your cat is not eating after surgery, this is normal — monitor them closely. You can expect your cat’s appetite to return within about 24 hours post-surgery. At that point, your pet can gradually start to eat its regular food again.
Owners often dread the day their cat needs to go to the vet – and with good reason, as these visits can often result in a depressed, anxious feline, struggling to recover from the trauma they’ve experienced. Some may avoid the vets altogether, finding it too upsetting for their four-legged friend.
Royal Canin does make a food called Recovery, which is a diet designed for cats recovering from surgeries, injuries, and cancer or related treatments. Your cat may benefit from this special diet, as many sick or recovering cats are a bit pickier when eating.