For animal shelters, veterinarians and serial cat owners, spaying is a pretty routine procedure. In fact, many shelters won't even adopt cats to new owners until they have been fixed. Even though this operation is simple, remember that it may take your kitty time to adjust to the new her.
The most obvious and severe reaction your cat has to spaying occurs in the days immediately following her operation. Spaying is a little more traumatic on a female cat than neutering is for males, because the veterinarian must make a long incision across her abdomen. She may eat and drink very little for the first 24 hours, but her appetite should be back to normal within a day or two. Depending on the kind of stitches your vet used, you may need to take your kitty back in to have them removed in a few weeks. Synthetic stitches may prompt your cat to itch or lick at her wound as it heals.
When you first bring your kitty home from the vet, she may walk slowly and gingerly to avoid aggravating her sore tummy. This is completely normal, although you should sneak a peek at the wound from time to time to make sure there is no fluid drainage, discoloration or inflammation on her abdomen. These symptoms can indicate an infection or improper healing, which will require a prompt trip to the vet. Expect to see some swelling in the area for the first month after surgery.
Immediate Mental Recovery
To a cat, the trip to the vet and subsequent surgery probably were a very frightening and strange experience. Put yourself in her shoes for a minute and it's easy to figure out why. Your cat may be spooked or shy for a few days after you get her back home. Don't worry, this attitude change is temporary. As your cat's body heals and the stress of the experience fades, she will get back to her old self quickly. Encourage your cat's mental recovery after surgery by petting her gently and providing a warm, comfortable place for her to lay down.
Long-Term Attitude Adjustment
You may be worried that spaying will change your cat's personality fundamentally, but this is very unlikely. The procedure will impact your cat's seasonal behavior patterns, but her overall personality will not change significantly, according to Wisconsin Human Society. When her reproductive cycle was active, your kitty may have display extra-affectionate or "wild" behavior, including yowling or roaming great distances when outdoors. These behaviors usually cease after spaying, as they are a direct result of increased hormone levels caused by the activation of your cat's reproductive cycle. She also may stop marking territory with her scent, although spaying does not change this behavior in every cat.
Many pet owners assume that their beautiful, sleek feline companion will start packing on the pounds after getting fixed. Don't worry though, you don't need to put your cat on a treadmill every day to keep her in shape. Spaying and neutering does not actually cause excessive weight gain or laziness, according to ASPCA. However, your kitty's metabolism will fall probably a little bit in the absence of sexual hormones produced by her reproductive organs. Ask your veterinarian how you can keep your fuzzy friend happy and healthy by switching to a diet with lower calorie content.
Quentin Coleman has written for various publications, including All Pet News and Safe to Work Australia. He spent more tan 10 years nursing kittens, treating sick animals and domesticating semi-feral cats for a local animal shelter. He graduated from the University of Delaware with a bachelor's degree in journalism.