The spaying of female cats is a normal and routine surgical procedure at veterinary clinics and animal hospitals everywhere. After the commonplace surgery, however, you may notice that your little fluffball is acting a little more dazed -- and perhaps even grumpier -- than usual. Watch out, world!
What Exactly is Spaying?
When a female cat is spayed, all of her reproductive organs -- essentially the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries -- are removed via surgery. The surgery is intended to prevent cats from becoming pregnant and reproducing. The invasive sterilization procedure is done while a cat is under anesthesia and is formally referred to as an ovariohysterectomy.
The ASCPA recommends spaying cats before they hit the half-year mark in age. Early spaying stops felines from going into heat and developing various hormonally influenced behaviors, from urine spraying to persistent vocalization.
Since spaying is an invasive surgery, especially compared with male neutering procedures, don't be shocked if your little one feels some mild discomfort right afterward. Pain is not too common, but does occur in some cases. Ask your veterinarian about the possibility of using anti-inflammatory pain-reducing medications on your cat both during and after surgery.
Because of the discomfort, your cat may act a little grouchier than usual. Don't take offense -- she's just been through a lot.
For about a day or so after spaying, you may notice that your fluffball is behaving in a groggy and drowsy manner -- both quite typical effects of general anesthesia. If your cat seems to be in a daze, recovery mode is likely the issue. She may even lack an appetite for a while. If you are for whatever reason concerned about her grogginess, or if her appetite doesn't start up again normally after about a day, contact your veterinarian without hesitation.
To keep your cat feeling as good as possible after spaying, make sure to diligently abide by all of the clinic's or hospital's post-operation instruction, whether they pertain to feeding, bathing or anything else. Allow your cat some time to relax and unwind from her surgery, and be sure to keep her away from chaos and loud noises for several days at least. Minimize physical activity as much as possible. If you're concerned your pet might lick at her stitches, request an "Elizabethan collar" from your veterinarian.
Although most cats bounce back as good as new following spaying, exceptions indeed always exist. Pay close attention to your sweetheart post-surgery. If you spot any skin issues around her surgical site, like swelling and redness, notify your vet immediately. Also be on the lookout for other adverse reactions to the surgery, including throwing up, diarrhea and extreme exhaustion. If you notice absolutely any abnormal signs in your pet at all, contact the vet as soon as possible.
In the long-term after surgery, your cat's overall temperament should remain the same. The main difference is that she won't go into heat every few weeks or so. You won't have to deal with her restless, antsy and frustrated behavioral patterns, and neither will she, so breathe a sigh of relief!
- Feline Advisory Bureau: Neutering Your Cat
- Wisconsin Humane Society: Side Effects of Spay/Neuter Surgery
- Sacramento SPCA: Spay/Neuter Clinic Frequently Asked Questions
- ASPCA: Spay/Neuter
- Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine: Spaying and Neutering
- Berkeley East Bay Humane Society: Spay and Neuter Clinic