Your kitty won't be happy about being grounded for two weeks after returning from the vet, but placing some restrictions on her postoperative activity is for her own good. Keeping her under your watchful eye also makes it easier to monitor her health for potential complications with her recent surgery.
Confinement and Rest
Shut your cat in a secluded room away from noises, foot traffic and other animals for the first day or two. Put a comfortable bed somewhere on the floor, since you don't want her to jump to reach it. Make sure she has access to a litter box as well as clean water. Even if she is an outside cat, keep her indoors for at least two weeks after surgery. She can go out once the wound is shut completely and the stitches are removed or dissolved. Ask your vet if you want to be sure she is ready for the great outdoors.
All cats and dogs dread the cone, but these cumbersome collars really are useful during postoperative care. Not every cat needs a cone, or E-collar, after surgery, but it may be necessary if she keeps licking at the wound. Don't let your kitty or any of your other pets clean the wounded area for at least 10 days, as it can cause infections. You can take the collar off while your cat eats, but you need to keep your eyes on her the whole time.
Restrict your cat's meals when you first bring her home. Wait at least 2 hours before giving your kitty anything to eat. Some anesthesia still is left over in her system from the surgery and it can give her some tummy problems if she eats right away. Only give her a few bites at a time for the next 12 hours, but don't be surprised if she doesn't eat anything at all during this period, according to East Bay SPCA. There's no need to restrict her water supply, so make sure she has a fresh bowl to keep her hydrated.
Chances are your kitty won't need much encouragement to take it easy on her first day back in the house. Her attitude will start to change quickly though, so you should monitor her activities to make sure she's not getting too worked up. Keep her confined in a room by herself if your other cats are playing rough or fighting with her during her first week back. Running and jumping around slows the healing process, and may even open up the wound. Pet and hold her, but don't tempt her to chase toys or jump up on tables or chairs.
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.