Spaying is a routine veterinary procedure that involves the removal of your kitty's reproductive organs. If Fluffy develops an odor after the operation, it could mean she's experiencing post-surgical complications or that her grooming is poor due to the Elizabethan collar your vet prescribed to protect her incision.
During a spay procedure, technically referred to as an ovariohysterectomy, your veterinarian will remove all of your kitty's reproductive organs through a small incision in her abdomen. This procedure involves the removal of her ovaries, uterus and fallopian tubes, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. While her incision heals, you'll need to protect it by fitting your feline friend with an Elizabethan collar, which prevents her from licking the surgical area. Your kitty typically wears this collar for 10 to 14 days after surgery until she fully heals. This prevents her from properly grooming, though, sometimes resulting in an unpleasant feline odor during that time.
One of the complications that can occur after an ovariohysterectomy is the development of an infection at the surgical site. If you notice an unpleasant odor emanating from your feline after her spay surgery, check the site for signs of infection. Along with a stinky smell, such signs include redness, swelling and discolored discharge coming from the area, according to VCA Animal Hospitals. The surgical site may also feel very warm to the touch or even begin to open up in some cases, according to the Pet Informed website. Bring your kitty to the vet immediately for treatment, so the vet can prevent the infection from spreading and prescribe a treatment.
While rare, a possible post-surgical complication after a spaying is renal failure. If, while under anesthesia during surgery, your kitty's blood pressure drops to a very low level, it can damage her kidneys, warns the Pet Informed website. Her kidneys can also become compromised by the anesthetic itself and any pain-relieving drugs prescribed for your feline friend. Kidney failure may occur 24 to 72 hours after surgery. One symptom of kidney failure is an unpleasant odor of ammonia emanating from your kitty's mouth because her kidneys are no longer removing waste products from her bloodstream, according to WebMD. If you notice this unpleasant odor, along with vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy or frequent urination, get her to the vet right away.
Assuming there are no complications, when Fluffy fully heals from her surgery and her Elizabethan collar is removed, she should soon be back to her normal, odor-free self. Spaying doesn't cause feline odors permanently and even helps to deter stinky habits like urine spraying, according to the ASPCA. During the time she's wearing her collar, clean the areas on her fur that she can’t reach with a dampened cloth or pre-moistened pet wipe, found in most pet supply stores; this will help prevent and remove odors. Don't wipe the surgical site, and avoid bathing her until her incision heals. Moisture can cause infections and slow the healing process, warns the VCA Animal Hospitals website.
- WebMD: The Truth About Spaying or Neutering Your Cat
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Caring for Your Cat or Dog After Surgery
- Superior Animal Hospital: Feline Ovariohysterectomy or Spay Surgery
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Spay-Neuter
- Pet Informed: Veterinary Advice Online: Spaying Cats
- WebMD: Kidney Failure (Uremia) Symptoms in Cats
- Manhattan Cat Specialists: Foul-Smelling Felines
- East Bay SPCA: Spay and Neuter Post‐Operative Care Instructions
- VCA Animal Hospitals: Care of Surgical Incisions in Cats
Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, finances, crafts, food, home improvement, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared on City National Bank's website and on The Noseprint. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.