Your poor fuzzy pal just got home from his hospital stay. Right away, he's busy grooming himself and starts sniffing around his incision site. If your cuddly companion begins licking his stitches, you'll need to take precautions to make him stop, otherwise you may run into problems.
Your veterinarian will probably suggest picking up an Elizabethan collar, or E-collar for short. These collars, which look like lampshades, create a protective barrier around your handsome little man's head so he won't be able to get to his stitches. Make sure he can comfortably eat, drink and get into his litter box once his collar is on. He may be a little disoriented when you first put the collar on him. It might take him a couple days to adjust, but he'll eventually get the hang of it. You can easily slip the collar off to let him eat if it seems easier for him, but watch him closely to ensure that he doesn't start picking at his incision site.
Neck collars limit Scrappy's ability to reach his surgical wound. These types of collars are firm and fit snugly, similar to a human neck brace. Most cats won't be able to reach their hind quarters, but if your cat is long, very flexible or extremely persistent, he could possibly get to his incision. Monitor him closely when you first put it on to ensure it works well for your cat. If he slips it off or is able to reach the incision, it won't be a good preventative tool to keep him away from the area.
Keeping Scrappy away from his surgical site may be as simple as making the area taste bad. Pick up bitter spray from your favorite pet store and apply it to the area surrounding his wound. Some varieties are made to go directly on incision areas. These products have an awful taste and when your curious feline starts licking, he'll get a mouthful of bitter flavor and be less inclined to pick at his sutures. Talk with your vet about topical treatments to ensure they are a good resolution for your kitty's specific condition.
Licking the incision right after surgery may lead to infection or possibly tear the tender wound. Follow your veterinarian's directions for at-home care and keep an eye on the surgical site. Redness, bleeding, swelling or discharge may signal that Scrappy has found a way to reach his sutures. Additionally, you need to keep your newly neutered feline away from intact females for a full 30 days after his surgery, since he'll be still be fertile during recovery, according to the ASPCA. If he winds up mounting your unspayed princess while healing, you might wind up with an unplanned litter of kittens.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
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.