What Happens After I Spay Or Neuter My Cat?

What To Expect (And Watch For) After Spaying Or Neutering Your Cat

Everyone knows that spaying or neutering your cat will prevent unwanted litters – a problem that can lead to strays in your neighborhood, a full house at home, or a lot of time caring for or trying to foster those cute but unexpected little kittens. 

And the benefits don’t stop there: Spaying or neutering can also prevent health problems for felines. These include uterine infections and cancer in females and prostate problems, and testicular cancer for males. 

The procedure also eliminates unwanted behavior caused by being in heat. That’s often important for pet parents with cats because cats are generally in the house all day, unlike dogs. 

For all the benefits, it’s still a surgical procedure. As a result, your cat will require some extra care and attention after being spayed or neutered. You’ll also need to know what to expect from their behavior afterward – and how to spot a problem. 

We’ll cover all that and more in this article. In particular, we’ll explore:

  • Caring for your cat after being spayed or neutered

  • Typical recovery time and what to expect during that period

  • How a cat’s behavior can change after being spayed or neutered

  • Warning signs of a problem after the surgery

If you do spot something wrong, or have any questions, be sure to contact your vet immediately, so it doesn’t get worse. This is where having cat insurance comes in handy! Insurance covers those expenses, so you don’t have to worry about how to pay for your pet’s care when they need it.

What Is The Typical Recovery Time For Spaying Or Neutering?

Cats take 10 to 14 days to recover from being neutered or spayed. For you as a pet parent, that means monitoring their behavior, checking their incision site, and ensuring they have everything they need during that time. 

You’ll need to do a little more during the first day after the operation. That’s when they’re most vulnerable and are probably still feeling the effects of the anesthesia from the procedure. 

After that, they’ll start returning to their old selves quickly! But, it’s still important to take some precautionary steps and help them heal and get back to normal comfortably. 

We’ll cover everything you need to do and what to watch for in the following few sections.

What To Expect For the First 12 Hours After The Operation

It’s okay for your cat to seem especially lazy, groggy, or even dizzy and uncoordinated in the first 12 to 24 hours after being spayed or neutered. After all, it’s been a big, busy day for them! But, they’re also still feeling the effects of the anesthesia. 

And, just like in humans, that can leave them feeling – and acting – “out of it” until the medication wears off. 

Until then, they also won’t have much interest in eating or playing. Really, all a cat will want to do is nap. 

Depending on your vet or the clinic you used, you may not even be aware of this! Some offices keep a kitten overnight to maintain a close watch on them until it’s time to go home.

Caring For Cat After It’s Been Spayed Or Neutered

The most important part of caring for a cat after spaying or neutering is ensuring the incision doesn’t get irritated or infected. Again, you can take proactive steps toward keeping them safe and comfortable. And keep a close watch on things.

Regulating Behavior

First, keep your cat indoors for two weeks. Even if they like going outside, now’s not that time! 

First, you don’t want harmful interactions with other cats or animals. That goes for inside the house, too! Keep them isolated from other pets for that time. 

And in general, you need to keep them calm and reduce their movement and physical activity. 

We all know cats love to chase things and take flying leaps up on furniture, fences, or anything they can find. But, again, now is not the time! All that strenuous activity can reopen or irritate the incision. 

If you can keep them in a room without a lot of furniture, that’s great. If not, at least limit their access to heights.

Incision Care

Check the incision site at least once a day. In the next section, we’ll review the warning signs of a problem that requires a visit to the vet – or, at least, a phone call. 

In the meantime, prevent your cat from scratching or licking the incision. If you see that happening or notice signs of that activity, put a recovery collar on them. 

They probably won’t like it, but you’ll know that it’s better for them, in the long run, to let that incision heal on its own. 

Meanwhile, you can help speed up that recovery time by keeping the site clean, coating it with vet-approved ointments, and giving your cat antibiotics if they’ve been prescribed.

Five Warning Signs After Spaying Or Neutering Your Cat

Call your vet right away if you notice any of these warning signs after spaying or neutering your cat:

  1. Vomiting

  2. Extreme Lethargy

  3. Shaking or Drooling

  4. Hiding

  5. Bleeding From The Incision

Now, it’s normal for your cat to seem dizzy, drowsy, or clumsy during the first 24 hours after surgery. But that’s only because of the anesthesia. After that, it could be a sign that something’s wrong. 

Hiding, bleeding, vomiting, shaking, or drooling are all causes for concern.

How A Cat’s Behavior May Change After Spaying Or Neutering

Don’t worry – your beautiful little kitty will still be themselves after being spayed or neutered! But, you may notice some changes to their behavior afterward. Fortunately, most of them are desirable. 

 

In general, they’re easier to get along with, don’t make or respond to catcalls or try to seek out a mate. And, with quick recovery times, those benefits certainly outweigh your beloved pet’s temporary discomfort.