After most surgical procedures, your cat needs almost one week to recover. It is essential to avoid jumping, running, and other exhausting activities that could cause excessive strain on the wound during that period.
Your cat may be a little out of sorts after having surgery, but with a little extra love and attention from you, they’ll soon be back to pouncing, exploring, and playing like they used to.
Getting your cat back from the veterinarian
When your kitty is ready to return home, your veterinarian will give you some pointers on caring for him or her until he or she is back on their feet. This advice will vary depending on your cat’s unique treatment, but it should include check-up dates as well as any medication your cat may require to aid in their recovery process. Each cat is unique, so follow your veterinarian’s recommendations and contact them if you believe your cat isn’t recovering well; even if you’re just unsure what to do, they’ll be pleased to assist you.
While your cat is usually a lively bundle of joy, they will most likely feel pretty sleepy following the anesthetic, so don’t be concerned if they appear to be a little sleepy for a short period of time. Continue to monitor them for signs of pain and make sure they are eating enough to aid in their recovery despite their circumstances.
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What should I do when my cat returns home from the vet after surgery?
After you have brought your cat home, you should provide a soft clean bed for him to sleep in, ideally in a quiet and draft-free room with a reasonable room temperature (68-75°F or 20-24°C), as well as a warm and pleasant environment.
For your cat to get enough rest, place their bed somewhere warm, safe, and comfortable, preferably away from a lot of noise or people coming and going – and advise your family to resist the temptation to all go and say ‘hello’ to your cat all the time!
Keep youngsters and other animals away from your cat to ensure that they receive the most excellent possible night’s sleep possible. If your cat has not returned to normal after 12 hours, you recommend that you consult a veterinarian to determine what is happening.
If your cat has not returned to normal after 12 hours, it is recommended that you consult a veterinarian to determine what is happening.
You may notice that your kitty is a little nauseous after waking up from an anesthetic, and they may not be up to eating a bowl of their usual food right away. When you feed your cat after surgery, make it something tiny and light – most cats enjoy foods like chicken and fish, and because they are also healthy, these are excellent post-operation meals.
If none of these options are in your access, continue to feed them their regular meal while reducing the portion size to one-quarter of what they would ordinarily consume. Your vet might even give you a specific type of food to feed your cat. Whatever meal you serve, make sure that they have plenty of freshwaters to drink alongside it.
Even if your cat is accustomed to spending time in the vast outdoors, it is not a good idea to allow them to wander free until they have recovered completely. If they are wearing a bandage, it may become entangled or soiled, and your pet will not be as adept at fleeing from danger as they are accustomed to.
Keep your cat indoors until their stitches have been removed or until your veterinarian says it is safe to let them out. Even while they’re inside, there’s plenty of mischiefs they may get into that isn’t necessarily beneficial to them! Try to keep your cat from dashing up and down the stairs, climbing up and down interesting-looking objects, or playing too rough with other animals.
It may be preferable for your cat to remain in a single room to make things easy for you. If your veterinarian provides you with additional advice, such as keeping your cat in a cage following orthopedic surgery, follow their directions to the letter in all circumstances.
Cat wounds and stitches
It is usual for your cat’s stitches to be removed after approximately ten days, but this may not be the case for you because every cat and every surgery is different. Fortunately, some of the stitches are concealed behind the skin and disintegrate independently, so there is even less concern. Your vet-doc will be able to tell you exactly what type of stitch your cat has, as well as whether or not it needs to be removed.
Depending on the operation your cat has undergone, wounds may be repaired with stitches, staples, or even internal sutures to keep them from bleeding out. Examine the area daily, and if you notice anything unusual, such as redness, swelling, discharge, or bleeding, contact your veterinarian for assistance.
Fortunately, cats are less fond of splashing around than their canine counterparts; however, if your cat has bandages, make sure they remain dry at all times. Wet bandages can cause more damage to the wound beneath them and cause your cat’s recovery to be delayed, so don’t let them out until they’ve recovered completely.
However, keep a watch out for warning indications such as odd or unpleasant odors, discoloration, and swelling around the bandage to ensure that everything is well. When your cat is limping or appears to be in discomfort, it’s also a good idea to consult your veterinarian for particular recommendations.
Last but not least, make sure your cat returns to the veterinarian for their scheduled check-up appointment, or even sooner if the bandage is loose or something appears to be wrong.
Possible Complications After Your Cat’s Surgery
Regardless of the procedure, you will need to confine your cat to a room for the duration of their post-operative rehabilitation. Even indoor cats must refrain from running or jumping to have a trouble-free recuperation period. While you should generally provide your cat with plenty of perches and places to run, play, and stretch their legs, allowing them to run and jump during their post-operative recovery phase may result in any of the issues listed below:
- They may run into something or trip over something while bewildered.
- Their skin stitches or sutures are becoming loose, which is causing the skin to recover more slowly.
- It is possible that internal sutures or closures will become loose or will fail, causing bleeding or even the escape of bacteria or urine into the abdomen.
- Detaching or shifting bandages into a position that could cause more damage or pain.
- Causing a bone plate, pin, or screws to shift or otherwise preventing the bone from healing correctly.
My cat appears to be in a deep sleep after surgery. Is this a regular occurrence?
Your cat was sedated or given general anesthesia during the procedure. These medications can take several hours to wear off and may cause some patients to appear tired for up to a day or two after taking them. It should be possible for your cat’s behavior to gradually return to normal over the next 24 to 48 hours. However, if you have any reason to be concerned, do not hesitate to contact the hospital immediately.
What is the purpose of shaving my cat’s foreleg?
A shaved area on one of your cat’s front legs is most likely where the anesthesia or sedative was delivered, so look for this. Aside from that, many cats have surgery and receive intravenous (IV) fluids through an IV catheter, which requires the hair to be removed for the region to be adequately cleansed before the catheter can be inserted. Occasionally, this area will be bandaged; if this is the case, you can remove the bandage the following day unless otherwise directed.
My cat has developed a minor cough after surgery. Is it necessary for me to be concerned?
To deliver oxygen and anesthetic gas to your cat while under anesthesia, it is possible that a tube was inserted in the trachea (windpipe). Mild irritation and a slight cough may occur on occasion as a result of this. A little post-surgical cough will typically subside within a few days of the procedure. If the coughing continues or worsens, get medical attention.
What should I do if my kitty is licking its wound or chewing the stitches?
Your cat may attempt to clean her surgery wound by licking it out of innate fear. If you have been given an Elizabethan-type protection collar (also known as a “cone” or “E-collar”), please make sure that it is worn at all times to discourage chewing.
If you have been provided an Elizabethan-type protection collar (a “cone” or E-collar), please ensure that it is worn to prevent chewing.
Cats, like dogs, may require the use of a plastic collar to prevent them from licking their wounds. Soft fabric collars are also an option – as long as they prevent your pet from licking, biting, or scratching himself in the wrong spot while wearing them. You should keep the collar on your cat at all times, including at night, because if they are left alone, they may succumb to the temptation to gnaw their wound.
Cats also find these collars unusual at first and will seek to take them off. However, after a short length of time, most cats will become accustomed to the collar and tolerate it. If possible, keep the collar on all of the time rather than putting it on and taking it off frequently. In just a few seconds of gnawing, a cat can undo all of her stitches and cause permanent harm to the surgical site. If your cat successfully removes any stitches, please get in touch with the hospital as soon as possible to notify them.
If your cat’s collar makes it difficult for him to eat or drink, remove it just during mealtimes and put it back on as soon as he or she is finished eating or drinking. It can be difficult to force them to wear something they don’t want to, but keep in mind that it is for their good – and the more time they spend with their collar on, the sooner they will recover.
In what shape should the incision be, and when should I be concerned?
In most cases, the incision should be clean, and the edges should be close together. A standard or slightly reddish-pink color should be present on the skin surrounding the incision site. It is common to detect bruising around the surgery site in cats with light skin tones. In other circumstances, this does not develop until a few days following the operation and can appear excessive about the size of the wound. This is caused by blood seepage under the skin’s borders and is an entirely natural occurrence. If the animal is active, a small quantity of blood may occasionally seep from a newly made incision for up to twenty-four hours in some situations, especially if the cut is new.
If you notice any of the following at the surgery site, you should be concerned and should contact the hospital immediately:
- Excessive or continuous blood drainage is a problem.
- Blood seepage occurs intermittently and lasts for more than twenty-four hours.
- The skin may become swollen or red in an excessive amount.
- Discharge or odors that are unpleasant.
When do the stitches need to be taken out?
Generally speaking, most skin stitches or sutures are removed between seven and fourteen days after surgery; the exact time depends on the type of surgery. If your cat requires suture removal, you will be informed when and how to schedule an appointment.
In some situations like this, your veterinarian may choose to use sutures that do not need to be removed after the procedure. These sutures are inserted beneath the surface of your cat’s skin and will disintegrate over many weeks.
When will my cat be able to resume his normal activities?
This will be determined by the type of operation that your cat has undergone. Your cat’s activity level will most likely need to be restricted for at least one to two weeks, or until the sutures are removed, in most situations (if the sutures are to be removed). It is critical to restrict your cat’s activities during this period to prevent the incision from opening. Baths should also be avoided during this period since moisture can introduce bacteria into the wound and develop an infection. Detailed directions on activity restriction, as well as any additional post-operative recommendations, will be provided to you by your veterinarian. Activity restrictions should be in place for at least one week following surgery to ensure a successful outcome.
What are the signs and symptoms of post-surgical infection in cats?
Veterinarians take numerous precautions before, during, and after the treatment to reduce the danger of a surgical site infection in their patients. Even when the highest standards of care are followed, infections can emerge following a procedure.
It is possible to get an infection if bacteria from the skin or surrounding environment infiltrate an open wound. This has the potential to cause skin irritation and inflammation. By activating the immune system, inflammation can help the body begin the process of fighting off infections. An infection can cause a buildup of white blood cells at the site of the infection, which might result in a colored discharge (white, green, or yellow).
Keep an eye out for these indicators of infection in your cat:
- A discolored discharge from the wound is present.
- There is redness and swelling around the wound.
- Symptoms of inflammation-induced discomfort include eating less, vomiting, tiredness, weakness, hiding, and other deviations from usual behavior.
- Inability to cure wounds
- Avoiding alcohol or consuming less alcohol
As soon as you believe that your cat may be suffering from an infection, you must consult with a veterinarian to have the area examined. To alleviate the underlying problem, topical ointments and over-the-counter drugs are ineffective. Do not use any antibiotics or medications that have been used before on other dogs or people.
Depending on the severity of the persisting infection, your cat may need to be admitted to the hospital for IV fluids (to aid with dehydration and dialysis), antibiotics (specific to the type of infection), and other supportive treatments.
Following surgery, my cat is panting and breathing heavily. Why? What should I do in this situation?
Following surgery, cats exhibit aberrant behavior such as excessive panting, heavy breathing, and increased respiration.
Depending on the surgery that was performed, there can be various factors that contribute to this. The consequences of some causes are more severe than those of others. As soon as possible, make an appointment with your primary veterinarian to decide the following stages in your cat’s care.
Your cat’s panting or heavy breathing after surgery and during the recuperation period is most likely caused by pain, which is the most prevalent reason. Pain drugs are only effective for a limited period of time and may begin to wear off, causing your cat’s respiration to rise as a result (fast, short breaths). Post-operative pain management in cats can be complex, and it often necessitates a multimodal approach. Discussing with your veterinarian about your cat’s pain-management strategy at discharge might help alleviate this fear.
The use of certain drugs (for example, opioids) might result in increased respiration and even a rise in body temperature (fever). Pain, anxiety, and inflammatory medications, as well as other medicines, can have a variety of various effects on the body and your cat’s behavior. The drugs administered during anesthesia can also affect your cat’s behavior and, in rare situations, his or her ability to breathe.
Medical Conditions and Issues
Overhydration, heart disorders, lung conditions, complications of chest (thoracic) surgery, trauma, infection, and diseases affecting other organ systems are all potential causes of breathing abnormalities (such as the liver or kidneys).
However, medical illnesses should always be ruled out first by your veterinarian before considering any other causes of your cat’s breathing difficulties. Then there’s the issue of tension and worry to consider.
Using a pheromone diffuser to assist ease stress and anxiety throughout the healing phase is an excellent option to consider. Providing your cat with a secure, enclosed, and dark environment can also reduce stress in the animal. Create a haven for your cat where other cats and pets will not be able to enter to ensure that your cat has a comfortable area to rest while recovering.
Inquire with your veterinarian about if you should be concerned about changes in respiration during discharge. This will give you a better perception of what to expect as you continue to observe your cat in your home.