post operative cat care

Post Medical Procedure Care

Bringing home a cat from the hospital entails new responsibilities like ensuring your cat does not pulling stitches, or damage delicate tissue. If you have a other cats you need to be careful in managing their interactions. Read below for your solutions with kitten after an operation.

Bringing Kitten Home After Operation

Hello! - I am adopting a kitty from our local humane society this weekend. She is being spayed on Friday.
She is 4-months-old and very lovable. I cannot wait to being her home, but I want to know how to make her most comfortable. It seems like so much to deal with at once - a new home and an operation. Is there anything I can do to make her more comfortable her first few days? Can I safely handle her without harming her incision? Molly

Dear Molly,
Congratulations on your soon-to-arrive friend! First thing to remember is that your kitty will be drowsy and sleepy after her operation. Because you are picking her up a day or two after her operation, her energy level will be closer normal by the time you see her.
Bringing Her Home

Be sure that you keep her in quiet and warm room. It is possible that your kitty may have a slight cough for the first few days. This is due to the tube that is placed in her throat during her operation. Your vet may recommend your kitten wear Elizabethan collar at all time until her stitches are removed to ensure she does not chew/lick her stitches off. That could lead to infections. While your kitty will not like the collar at first, she will get used to it. Do not encourage her to jump or stretch during the first few days following surgery. You can pet her and hold her, but do not have her exert herself or put pressure on her stitches.

Is She Healing Well?

Her wound should be clean, with the edges together and the skin a or slightly reddish/pink color (pale cats may show bruising). A small amount of blood may seep intermittently from a fresh wound for up to 24 hours, especially if the kitty is (again you will probably not see this).Most skin stitches are removed 7 to 14 days after the operation.

Check out Newborn Kitten Care for tips on getting your home ready for kitty. -Simba

Kitten Pulls Stitches After Surgery

Dear Simba, My 6-month-old kitten just got spayed and she keeps trying to pull out her stitches.
I work, and I cannot watch her all of the time. Help!...Snuggles

Dear Snuggles,
A lot of folks experience the same problems. Consider using an Elizabethan collar (aka E-Collar) or an Elizabethan collar-type devise to prevent your kitty from reaching the stitches. These collars are those cone shaped things that you often see dogs wearing. Bolbove makes small ones for cats (bolbove clear plastic recovery collar).

- Simba

Kitten has Lump of Fluid around Incision

Hi Simba,
My cousin's 6-month-old kitten was just spayed last week. She recently noticed a lump of fluid, like an egg sac, around the incision. According to the vet, this is called a seroma and is due to the kitty being too active or a reaction to the sutures. Please let me know what you know about this. Mary

Dear Mary,
It seems the kitten has been either too active or has been pulling at her stitches. The worry is that an infection may occur in the spot that has been opened.

Ideally, the wound should be clean, the edges should be together and the skin should have a normal reddish/pink color. It is normal for pale cats to show bruises around the wound. It is ok for a small amount of blood to seep from a fresh wound for up to 24 hours, especially in an active cat. Contact your vet if:

  • There is a continuous or a large amount of blood
  • There is swelling, excessive redness or discharge
I recommend that you contact your vet and have him/her check out your kitten. It may be a good idea to get an Elizabeathen collar to keep your cat from doing this again. Keep me posted. Simba

Post Operation Interaction Between Cats

Dear Simba,
I have a 4-month-old boy kitten. Today we got a 10-week-old little girl kitten. I was told that my boy should not be fixed until he is 6-months-old and that getting a girl kitten would be Ok because he is too young to be interested in mating with her…that does not seem to be true! The little girl has been in my home for 6 hours and I have had to repeatedly pull the boy off of her. So I have a couple of questions:

  • Is it too soon to have him fixed?
  • Is there anything I need to watch for when he comes home?
  • Can the two kittens be together in the same room after the operation?
Also, what is normal time for a kitten to get adapted to a new surrounding? I have had her here a short time, but all she wants to do is hide. I took her out of her hiding place to show her the litter box and food, but she still will not eat. At first all she did was shake because she was scared (I kept the two kittens apart from one another during this time) she seems to not be a very social kitten. Is there anything I can do to help her adapt? Amy

Dear Amy,
Pool little gal! It is normal for kittens to be very scared upon arriving at a new home. It is also common for resident cats to behave untowardly with new felines. However, time tends to cure these problems.

A new kitten should be kept in a room all to her self for the first few days. This allows her to become acquainted with the smells and sounds of her new home. This also enables the resident cat to smell and sense the presence of another cat in the house. They will paw at each other under the door and will slowly become acquainted (see New Cats in Home for more transition tips).

It is not too early to have the little boy kitten neutered, 4 to 6 months is about right, although you can start as early as 7 weeks. At the same time, I suspect that their interaction is more a form of play than anything else.

After the operation, the little boy may be drowsy but otherwise ok. Give him time to sleep off his medication and give him the love and affection he deserves. Also, the kittens can be together after the boy's operation, the same will not be true after the female's operation since her stitching will be on her tummy. Be sure to follow all of your vet's instructions regarding water and food prior to the operation. You may want to keep him in a separate room the night before so that he does not get into the little girl kitten's food. Keep me posted. Simba

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