Caring For A Spayed Cat
Good for you. You have decided to get your female cat spayed.
You know that there are many good reasons for doing so, not least of which is that your pet will not be adding to the unwanted cat population.
If you still have any uncertainty about the benefits, this page may help - Why you absolutely should Get Your Cat Fixed.
You may have some questions about the spaying procedure, about life with a cat that has been spayed or about how to care for your pet after she has been fixed.
The short answer is yes, a cat can undergo spay surgery while in a heat cycle.
However many veterinarians prefer not to perform the procedure when the feline is in heat because of the slightly increased risks.
Also, the procedure is more involved due to the intensified blood supply to the tissues and uterus. If the veterinarian is prepared to spay your cat while she is in heat he will likely make an additional charge.
Unless there is a pressing need for your pet to undergo the surgery immediately you may prefer to wait for the cycle to end.
Most usually your cat will be back at home with you later the same day that she has her surgery if everything goes smoothly, and it probably will.
Some vet clinics have a policy of keeping their patients in overnight in a controlled area.
Ask your veterinarian before the surgery when it is you are expected to take your pet home to give her aftercare.
Basically no, having your female cat altered will not alter her personality. Except possibly in one way.
When people ask if their spayed cat will have a personality change they are usually concerned that she will be less affectionate.
Female cats when in heat can be obsessively affectionate and demanding and as a fixed feline no longer comes into heat, this behavior ceases.
But spaying should in no way affect the normal affection of your cat.
Some folks say that their cat has become more affectionate towards them after spaying. All cats are different of course, but by and large your cat cat will still be your cat after she has had the surgery.
No, the surgery itself will not be a reason for her to gain weight.
That is a Cat Myth that unfortunately gets spread around and puts some folks off getting their cat fixed.
If you observe that your feline is getting fat after the operation, cut down the amount that you feed her or try her on a lite diet.
Playing with her each day will give her some exercise and help keep her weight down.
However the urine will be less smelly than that of an unaltered female, because of the reduction in hormone levels.
Not so long ago it was generally recommended that the earliest age for spaying a cat was at around six months of age.
This was mainly because of the anesthetics in use at that time.
These days anesthetics are available that are much safer on younger kittens.
The ASPCA considers it safe for kittens as young as eight weeks to be neutered, and advises the surgery to be performed before the cat reaches six months.
Your own veterinarian may not elect to spay cats as young as eight weeks, but will almost certainly recommend that she is desexed early.
Early desexing eliminates the risk of your cat becoming pregnant, reduces the chances of her getting mammary cancer and reduces the possibility of some behavioral problems.
You may observe some shivering (or trembling) after your cat has had her surgery.
This could be for several reasons. It may simply be that your cat is cold. A spayed cat's temperature drops due to the effects of the anesthetic on the circulatory system.
Needless to say, your pet should be kept warm during her period of spay aftercare.
Postoperative pain can also cause a cat to tremble. It is likely that your vet gave you some pain medication for your cat, this should be given to your cat as prescribed. Do not increase the dosage or use any other pain medication.
If your cat is shivering, shaking or trembling any longer than after the night she is released to come home, contact your vet.
Your veterinarian will likely ask you several questions and then advise you as to whether your cat should be taken back to the clinic or not.
When you call to take your spayed cat home your veterinarian will let you know what to do in order to properly care for your pet. He, or she, will likely give you a printed aftercare sheet. If not ask your vet to write down anything that you are not sure about.
Generally it is alright to offer your cat some food the night after she has been spayed. It is likely that she will not want to eat much and perhaps not at all, this is quite normal.
However if she is not eating by the end of the day following her surgery, contact your veterinarian for advice.
Desexing your cat will not in itself cause her to gain weight.
It is recommended that your spayed cat is kept in a quiet confined space for a minimum of two weeks after her return home.
If you have ever had surgery yourself, remember that you needed rest and care, and that it was some time before you were fit enough for your normal activities. It is the same for your cat.
Keep other pets and children away from your recuperating feline, and any strenuous exercise should be discouraged to allow her incision to heal.
Keep your cat indoors during this time. Not an easy task if your pet is normally allowed outside but must be done to prevent her incision wounds from becoming infected.
Also of course, the outside world presents many opportunities and temptations for climbing and running, which are to be avoided.
Make a check on your cat's spay incision wound at least once a day. Some swelling and redness around the wound during the first few days is quite normal, and is just a reaction to the sutures (stitches.)
Contact your veterinarian if the swelling, or the redness is excessive, or a light touch to the swelling causes your cat pain. Your vet may require you to take your cat back to the clinic to make a check on your cat's condition.
There may be a small amount of pinkish fluid seeping from the incision, this is quite normal for a healing wound.
However a greenish, white or yellow discharge, particularly with a foul smelling odor, likely means the spay wound has become infected and you should contact your veterinarian right away.
Your cat's spaying incision may be closed with surface sutures or with buried sutures. In either case the wound is closed in several layers.
One disadvantage with surface sutures is that your cat may pull them out.
Cats will often chew or lick their wounds and a spayed cat can sometimes become quite obsessive.
Try to prevent your cat from licking or chewing at her incision.
Also read Caring For Wounds
Apart from the risk of her pulling out her sutures, there is the danger of her making the wound wet so it is difficult to heal, and the danger of her introducing infection.
But how do you stop a cat from licking? Not easy.
One answer is to fit her with an Elizabethan Collar . These are the large cone shaped collars that fit around the cat's neck preventing her getting her mouth near the wound.
Poor cat. Confined to a quiet area, prevented from going outside, kept away from companion animals and the indignity of wearing an Elizabethan Collar!
But it is all for the good. The inconvenience to your cat is only temporary and is far better than the likely outcome of not getting her spayed.
Veterinarians have differing views on this, but most will not desex a mother cat until her kittens have been weaned and mom's milk has dried up.
To operate before the milk has dried and the mammary glands have returned to normal means a difficult procedure.
It is dependent upon your vet, typically he or she will not perform the operation until around eight to ten weeks after your feline has given birth.
Remember that cats can get pregnant again pretty soon after delivering a litter, so get your cat spayed as soon as your veterinarian allows.
Neutering your cat brings so many benefits, for your cat, for you and for the world. May you and your spayed cat enjoy many happy moments together.