Do Cats Act Weird Post-Anesthesia?

Your purring pal may act a little off after surgery.

Your purring pal may act a little off after surgery.

Having to put your beloved feline through surgery is heartbreaking. When you get her home, she'll be slightly woozy while she's recovering from anesthesia. She may act a little weird and abnormal, but rest assured, after several hours she'll be back to her old purring self.

Weird Behavior

While you are probably relieved to have Chloe home, she'll be in a different state of mind while recovering from anesthesia. She'll act uncoordinated and may run into walls or simply fall over when she tries to walk. Her eyes might be glassy and it may seem like she doesn't recognize you. Some animals even shake, quiver or make all kinds of noises after having anesthesia, according to the Spay Neuter Project Los Angeles. These are all normal post-anesthesia behaviors and should resolve on their own.

Causes

Your normally happy cuddly feline may be acting strangely after surgery, but her peculiar actions aren't always from anesthesia alone. Anesthesia is designed to make her go to sleep, so until the medication completely exits her system, she'll be a little groggy. Depending on the type of surgery, your vet might have her on powerful pain medications, further enhancing her delusional state of mind. In addition, if she's hurting or has stitches in an awkward part of her body, strange behaviors might occur because she's uncomfortable.

Special Care

Clear out a room or confined area for Chloe while she recovers. Give her space and keep her feline family members away from her for a few days. Since she is a wee bit disoriented, she may growl at you or want to hide. She's perfectly safe crouching under your bureau if that's where she wants to be. Don't grab her if she acts overly stressed, but check in on her frequently, talk to her and approach her slowly until she wants to accept your advances. Give her small amounts of food and make sure she has water. If she doesn't seem interested in her entree, mixing it with a canned food makes it smell enticing, encouraging her to eat.

Complications

Each cat recovers at a different pace depending on age and overall health. Even if Max was running around like normal when you brought him home after he got fixed, Chloe may take a day or two to get better. Grogginess and lack of appetite are normal for a day or so, but if she doesn't eat for more than two days, it might be a red flag. Although rare, it is possible that your purring pal can have severe complications from anesthesia. Fatalities from anesthesia usually occur during recovery, not the surgery, reports the Veterinary Practice Guidelines. It may be difficult to decipher "normal" weird behavior from complications, but if you have any concerns, always notify your veterinarian immediately.

 

About the Author

Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.

Photo Credits

  • Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images