After your little kitten's spay or neuter procedure, he'll want to come home and sleep off the anesthesia he received during surgery. At home, you'll need to give him some extra snuggles and love while he recovers and his incisions heal for seven to 10 days.
When to Fix
Both girl and boy kitties should be altered prior to 6 months of age, when they reach puberty. As long as they are 2 pounds in weight, they can be fixed as young as 2 months old. In fact, young kitties fixed at an early age tend to heal and bounce back from their surgery quicker than their older counterparts, according to the North Shore Animal League America's SpayUSA.
During your little girl's surgery, your vet will make a small incision in her abdomen through which he removes her uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Your vet will then close the incision with surgical sutures. For the boy kitties, your vet makes two very tiny incisions to remove each of his testicles. Unlike with the ladies, your little guy usually won't require any stitches to close these incisions because they are so small. Both types of surgery are performed under anesthesia so your furry companion won't experience any pain.
Because the surgery for girls is a bit more involved than with boys, some veterinarians will hold your little one overnight to monitor her before sending her home. Boys typically go home on the same day, so expect him to be somewhat groggy. Your kitten will still feel the effects of the anesthesia for 18 to 24 hours after surgery, so he'll be a bit unsteady on his feet, according to Operation PETS.
Keep your little one isolated from other pets during this time, giving her only a small amount of food and a bowl of fresh water. If she vomits at all, take away the food and give it to her the following day. Set up a comfy bed for your feline friend to rest and relax on during her recovery period. Your kitty's incisions should completely heal after about seven to 10 days, but she should be back on her feet after a day or two of bed rest.
Monitoring Your Kitty
During the healing period for your kitty, monitor her carefully. Don't let your active kitten jump to prevent the incisions from opening and delaying the healing process. Keep your little one indoors only to prevent germs and dirt from contaminating the wound. Watch for swelling, redness or discharge from the incisions and contact your vet if you notice any signs of infection at the site of the surgery. If you notice your kitty licking or biting at the incision, you may need to purchase an Elizabethan collar to stop her from accessing this area and irritating it. Avoid bathing your kitty for 10 days after surgery. Typically, pain medication isn't necessary after a spay or neuter procedure; consult with your vet if your little one appears to be in pain of any kind.
The Follow Up
After the healing period, your vet will probably want to see your kitty again to give him a follow-up exam to make sure that everything looks good after his surgery. Some vets use sutures for girl cats that dissolve and don't need removal, while others may need to remove any stitches or staples after seven to 10 days. If your female kitty was pregnant or in heat at the time of her surgery, she make take longer to heal than 10 days, according to the Seattle Animal Hospital. Follow your vet's recommendations in this case about when to bring her in for a follow-up exam.
- A Better Life Animal Rescue: Spay or Neuter Your Pet!
- Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals–Angell Animal Medical Center: Ask a Vet: All You Need to Know About Spay/Neuter Surgery
- North Shore Animal League America's SpayUSA: The Pet Owners FAQ
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Spay-Neuter
- VetInfo: Cat Spay/Neuter Recovery Care
- Operation PETS: After Surgery -- How to Help Your Pet Recover
- SpayXperts: Spay and Neuter Frequently Asked Questions
- Veterinary Partner: Neutering the Male Cat
- Feline Advisory Bureau: Neutering Your Cat
- Seattle Animal Shelter: Post-Surgery Instructions
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.