If your cat has just undergone a surgical procedure, it might be a little weary both from the ordeal and the anaesthetic. On your part, you want to help make her recovery as smooth as possible and there are several ways you can do this at home.
Your vet will give you specific advice relating to your cat's particular condition, check-up dates and post-surgical medication, so make sure you follow their instructions first, and if anything concerns you there isn’t any problem in asking your vet for advice.
In general, cats will be a little sleepy after an anaesthetic; however, they should be eating and comfortable with no signs of pain. Full recovery can take some time but if you feel something is wrong contact your vet immediately.
If your cat has required stitches then keep a close eye on them. Some may be internal, but you should let your vet know if there’s any redness, swelling, discharge or bleeding. Stitches are usually removed after about ten days, although this will vary with the type of operation and the area where the stitches have been placed. Internal stitches are hidden under the skin and dissolve naturally on their own- but your vet may still ask you to bring your cat for a follow up appointment to check that healing is going well..
Bandages may bother your cat. It is very important that you keep bandages dry or they can cause damage to the skin. Cats with bandages should not be allowed outside as they may ruin the bandage by scratching it or getting it wet or soiled. Look out for unpleasant odours, discolouration, swelling above or below the bandage, limping or pain and contact your vet if concerned.
Collars are generally made of plastic in the shape of a funnel, known as ‘Elizabethan’ or ‘Buster’ collars. However, softer fabric collars are also now available and may be more comfortable for your cat. Keep the collar clean and remove any food debris that is spilled inside it as your cat eats.
Collars are designed to help prevent cats from licking but also biting or scratching their wounds, as well as from chewing a bandage. It’s important to keep a collar on at all times possible, especially overnight when cats are left alone. Your pet will soon get used to wearing it, but it may hinder eating and drinking, so remove it around meal times if that is the case.
If your cat is very distressed by the collar, let your vet know as they may need to consider alternatives.
Cats, like humans, can feel queasy after anaesthetic, so make sure you handle your cat with care after waking up from an operation. When they’re home, feed your cat with a light meal. Use a highly digestible diet recommended by your vet or feed a quarter of the food your cat normally eats. Make sure plenty of fresh water is provided- and both food and water bowls are near to your cat so she does not need to walk far to eat or drink.
Even for the most active cat, rest and recovery are extremely important. Ensure your cat stays indoors until any stitches have been removed, or for the time specified by your vet. This is no time for physical exertion, as any excessive physical activity by your cat runs the risk of complications. Try to keep your cat calm. Ask your vet the best ways to keep your cat from running up stairs or jumping on furniture; it may be easiest to keep them confined to a single room.