How to get a cat to eat after surgery?

After bringing your cat home from surgery, you are anxious to get back to normal with your kitty, but she may not be up to the task of recovering soon. In addition to being weak and confused, your cat may be unwilling to consume any food.

If your cat isn’t eating, don’t be too worried about it. Usually, cats who have recently been spayed or undergoing other surgical procedures do not desire to eat or drink. Generally speaking, veterinarians do not advocate feeding them as well. They should be able to eat and drink again within 24 hours, and they should do so with gusto after that.

What causes a cat not to eat after surgery?

Here are some suggestions to keep in mind if your cat isn’t eating after having surgery.

  • General Anesthesia

Because of the general anesthesia administered to your cat, she may suffer nausea due to the procedure. This nausea will persist for an extended period of time. She may be experiencing a period of reduced hunger because her routine has been disrupted, or she may be experiencing stomach discomfort as a result of the anesthetic drugs she has been given. How well a cat handles anesthesia varies from one cat to the next; some cats may require up to 36 hours to recuperate completely and begin feeding, while others may require less time.

  • Elisabeth collar

Your cat’s Elizabeth collar, which should be placed around its neck following spaying, is intended to protect it from chewing the incision, which will irritate her, cause her to become sad, and cause her to lose her appetite. A similar response will be seen by cats who are unfamiliar with the confines of a cage or enclosure.

  • Post-operative discomfort

Because of the discomfort involved with surgery, cats may refuse to consume food if the treatment is complex. When she is simply given light anesthesia or has no follow-up treatment, she may have some discomfort later on.

  • Problems with the stomach

It’s conceivable that her stomach was still adjusting to the operation as a result of the fasting she had done before to it.

What should you do if your cat appears lethargic and depressed following surgery?

Some cats may take a long time to recuperate, which may explain why she appears lethargic and sad, as well as why she may be losing her appetite. In some instances, it may take multiple days for the effects of surgery to go entirely.

The presence of hiding indicates that your cat may be suffering from an injury. Examine her surgery site as soon as possible to rule out any infections. If you see any abnormal swelling, bruising, blood, or a foul odor in your dog, take her to the veterinarian right once to be examined.

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What if your cat isn’t even interested in drinking?

As with eating, if it has been more than a day and she has not consumed any water, the condition can become hazardous and may result in irreversible organ damage. For your cat to be dehydrated, grab the loose skin on her neck near the scruff of her neck and pull it upwards for a few seconds, then release. If the cat’s skin returns to its normal state, it indicates that she is well hydrated. If, on the other hand, it develops a tent-like structure, she is most likely dehydrated.

Slowly and carefully provide a tiny amount of water into his mouth using a dropper. You may also place a drop of water between her paws so that she can lick the drop.

When you see that she is vomiting everything you have given her, take her back to the veterinarian right away. A veterinarian may provide an intravenous fluid infusion to her in order to battle dehydration and calorie loss.

A few further suggestions for eating and drinking are:

1. Dietary Requirements

Cats recovering from sickness, injury, surgery, or a period of fasting require specific nutritional care, and this is also especially true for kittens. Her wounds will not heal correctly if she lacks proper nutrition. Furthermore, if your kitty consumes a healthy diet, her body will not use its own vital tissues as energy sources.

However, during convalescence, your cat’s nutritional requirements will differ from those of other cats, and her usual food may not supply the proper mix of nutrients she requires. In addition, she may need encouragement to consume food.

Cats recovering from illness or injury may require more protein intake than cats in good condition. In addition, fats are also good sources of energy, which may be needed in greater quantities during convalescence to assist your cat’s capacity to repair tissues that have been damaged by sickness, injury, or surgery, in addition to fighting infection. It’s possible that your recuperating cat’s diet may require larger amounts of these energy-producing elements than usual.

During her recuperation time, it is possible that your cat will lose her appetite. A high-fat diet may be beneficial. Food with a greater fat content is “concentrated,” which means it may be consumed in smaller amounts while still providing your cat with the higher levels of energy and nutrients she needs.

It is also essential that diets intended for convalescence have the proper mix of minerals and vitamins to avoid depletion of these elements in the body. Because recuperating cats may consume just a tiny amount of food, your veterinarian may prescribe that you feed your cat a specific diet that meets all of her nutritional requirements in a concentrated form.

Your vet-doc may recommend that you feed your cat a specific diet. It will have all of the nutrition and energy that a recuperating cat requires, and it may even be more concentrated. Having a focused diet is beneficial for cats that have a diminished appetite because they will obtain all of the nutrients they require even if they consume less than they would normally. Cats are frequently fed concentrated diets at veterinary clinics, and your veterinarian may advise you to continue feeding your cat on this diet at home during the convalescence period.

Your vet-doc may advise you to feed your cat a liquid diet, particularly if she has swallowing difficulties.

Make sure your cat has access to fresh drinking water at all times. If your cat has difficulty moving (or is unable to move at all), remember to offer water to her as soon as possible.

You may still need to persuade your recuperating cat to consume her concentrated diet, which is why most of them are specially designed to be very appealing to encourage her to consume it. The following suggestions may be of assistance:

  • Gently heat the meal until it is just below body warm. Check to see if it isn’t too hot.
  • After approximately 10 to 15 minutes, check to see whether your cat is still interested in the food and remove it from her dish. She is more likely to consume freshly prepared meals if it is provided later on.

2. Offer little amounts of food.

During her recuperation time, it is possible that your cat will lose her appetite. Distribute her food in tiny portions at regular intervals, splitting her daily food allowance into two to four servings of fresh food. This must be kept in mind, and we must actively urge them to do so. Large quantities of food should not be served to old or ill cats or animals in general.

3. Hand feeding

Feed him by hand, or put a tiny quantity of food on your finger and touch it to his lips. He should respond positively. If your cat is still recuperating from dental surgery, hand feeding or spoon feeding are excellent options for you. Take this issue into your hands and get a little dirty in the process. Sometimes the perfect dish is formed by your own hand.

4. Company While Eating

Take steps to ensure that your cat is comfortable and safe. Sometimes they just want someone to sit with them and listen to them talk. Many cats, in contrast to dogs, like being caressed or touched while they are eating. However, it is always beneficial to do so in moderation so that kids do not acquire an aversion to eating alone in the future.

5. Appetite Stimulants

If none of these techniques work and you still can’t get your cat to eat, your veterinarian may prescribe an appetite stimulant to help you encourage your cat to eat. Stimulants such as mirtazapine, diazepam, and steroids are among the most commonly given medications. To maintain your cat’s health, it is occasionally essential to introduce something new into the mix.

6. Experiment with a variety of foods’ textures.

If your cat is suffering from dental discomfort, he may refuse to eat the pieces of food that he used to enjoy. The two textures can be mixed together in the same bowl, or you can add heated broth by mixing in a small amount of water. Once they have recovered, they may attempt to consume foods with a range of various textures once more.

7. The medical requirements of a recovering cat

Keep a watchful check on your cat while she is recuperating from her illness. Gently stroke and groom her, keeping an eye out for any changes in her coat or skin. Take note of any redness or discharge around any healed injury or surgical scar, and keep an eye out for any weight loss or increase, lumps or swelling, vomiting, or diarrhea, among other things. Call your veterinarian right once if you see any of these signs or detect anything else that seems strange.

Depending on your veterinarian’s recommendations, you may need to administer medication to your cat throughout her recuperation or change her bandages.

8. Providing your pet with medications

Always follow your veterinarian’s instructions and complete the course of therapy for any medication he or she prescribes. Don’t stop giving your cat medication just because he or she appears to be feeling better. Treatment for your cat may grow more complicated in the future as a result of the illness. If your kitty has an adverse reaction to any medication, contact your veterinarian right away.

Inquire with your veterinarian about how to administer the medication. If possible, give your cat her prescription in as gentle a manner as possible and praise or reward her once she has eaten the pill. Because she is eating, you may be able to include medicines into her diet if she is cooperative. Depending on your veterinarian, this may be an option for you.

9. Taking proper care of bandages and dressings.

Bandages, splints, casts, and other dressings may be required for your cat. They shield wounds from dirt as well as your cat’s natural propensity to lick wounds on its own accord. Make sure that the dressing is kept clean and dry at all times. Keep your cat indoors while she recovers from her illness.

10. When should you consult with your veterinarian

Consult your veterinary doctor if any of the following signs and symptoms appear in your cat while it is recovering from illness:

  • Weakness or sluggishness
  • Collapse or convulsions
  • Greater frequency of urination or increased volumes of urine
  • Significantly increased or decreased thirst and water consumption
  • Spending an abnormally long time in the litter box
  • For more than 24 hours, your cat hasn’t eaten anything.
  • Coughing or irregular breathing that persists
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
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  • Skin changes such as swelling, odor, or coloration surrounding a bandage
  • As a result of this, the dressing either slides out of place or falls off ultimately.
  • Constant biting of the dressing or licking of the wound
  • An alteration in your cat’s walking or running style, such as lameness.

Signs that your pet is in evident discomfort include: prolonged head shaking, frequent scratching, pawing at ears, or rubbing its rear along the ground — all of which may indicate that your pet is in trouble.

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How long should I wait before reintroducing food to my cat after surgery?

Once your cat has recovered sufficiently from its anesthesia, he or she will generally be served a meal in the veterinarian’s office. You may inquire at the veterinarian’s office about whether or not your cat has eaten, what food they recommend you feed your cat, and how often you should feed your cat. Unless otherwise instructed, you should be allowed to feed your cat on the same day as the operation, unless otherwise required differently. It is usually ideal if you can get your cat to eat as soon as possible after an illness so that they may obtain the nutrition and energy they require to aid in their recovery.

If a cat goes without food for more than a day, it might become ill and develop fatty liver (which is particularly dangerous in overweight cats) as well as nutritional deficits in crucial amino acids. If your kitty has not eaten for more than 24 hours after returning home from surgery, contact the veterinarian’s office to inform them of the situation.

What is the reason I am unable to feed my cat after surgery?

It is possible that your cat will require a modified diet after surgery, such as one that is more readily digested or a therapeutic diet to help manage a health problem. They must be fed regularly, as recommended by a veterinarian, in order to aid in their recovery following surgery. If you refuse to provide someone with food or drink, this might result in significant health issues.

What is causing my cat’s inability to feed following surgery?

Following their surgery, it is likely that your cat will have a decreased appetite for the rest of the day. They may be feeling ill or weary and have no desire to consume anything. If they have not fed within 24 hours after returning home, you should contact the veterinarian’s office for assistance. You can try to entice them by gently heating food to a temperature that is close to their body temperature but not too hot. This contributes to the enhancement of the fragrance of the food, which might boost your cat’s hunger.

As an alternative to plain water, you may try serving your cat the liquid used to boil chicken breasts or white fish, as this would be more flavorful than plain water and will aid in getting some fluids into your cat to prevent dehydration.

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What can I expect my cat’s behavior to be like the following surgery?

It is common for you to notice a change in your cat’s behavior after he has had surgery. They might appear quieter and tired, or they could even become louder and clinging as the day progresses. The majority of the time, this will subside once they have returned to a more normal state. If you observe any behaviors that don’t seem normal, such as rapid breathing, pacing, or overall agitation, they may be suffering from discomfort. If you are unsure about behavior, you should consult with the veterinarian who performed the operation for guidance.


One of the most common mistakes cat owners do is delaying a veterinarian visit for a cat that has stopped eating for an extended period of time. Do not put off your appointment for an extended period of time. The food that your cat consumes has a significant impact on her recovery as well as her general health and well-being. So, always give the best quality feline food to your cats.

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Bringing your cat in for a vet visit can be a stressful experience for both you and your cat and that’s why we are committed to provide you with the answers …..



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