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Caring for Your Cat After Surgery

Caring for Your Cat After Surgery

Taking care of your cat after their planned surgery is essential for aiding their speedy return to their normal routines and activities. Our Roswell veterinarians offer valuable guidance to help you look after your feline friend post-surgery.

Follow The Post-Op Instructions

Pets and their owners often feel anxious before and after surgery. To help your cat recover quickly, it's important to know how to take care of them once they're back home from the vet.

Our veterinary will give you precise directions for your cat's post-surgery care. It's crucial to stick to these directions carefully. If you're unsure about any step, don't hesitate to check with your vet for clarification. And if you realize you've missed something in the aftercare once you're home, our vets will gladly explain their instructions again.

Recovery Times for Pets After Surgery

Cats usually bounce back faster from surgeries that involve soft tissues, like abdominal or reproductive procedures, compared to surgeries involving bones, ligaments, or tendons. Soft tissue surgeries typically heal within 2 to 3 weeks, and full healing is expected after about 6 weeks.

However, recovery from orthopedic surgeries takes much longer. Around 80% of your cat's recovery occurs within the first 2 to 3 months after the surgery. Yet, many orthopedic surgeries might require 6 months or more for complete recovery.

Our Roswell veterinarians have shared some tips to help you ensure your cat's comfort and contentment during their recovery at home.

Getting Over the Effects of General Anesthetic

During surgeries, we use a general anesthetic to make your cat unconscious and pain-free. After the surgery, it might take a while for the effects of the anesthetic to wear off completely.

Your cat might experience temporary sleepiness, shakiness while walking, or a temporary decrease in appetite as they recover from the anesthetic. These effects are normal and should improve with rest.

Diet & Feeding Your Pet After Surgery

After surgery, due to the effects of anesthesia, your cat might feel a bit queasy and eat less. Offer small, light meals like chicken or fish. You can also give them their usual food, but just a quarter of their usual amount. Usually, your cat's appetite should be back within 24 hours. Then, your vet can reintroduce their regular food. If your cat's appetite doesn't return to normal within 48 hours, contact your vet, as this could signal pain or infection at the surgery site.

Pet Pain Management

Upon your return home with your cat after surgery, a veterinary professional will explain the prescribed pain relievers or medications for your pet's post-operative comfort. They will provide details about the proper dosage, frequency of administration, and safe administration methods. Following these instructions diligently is crucial to prevent unnecessary discomfort and avoid potential side effects. If you have any uncertainties about the instructions, feel free to reach out to us for clarification.

After surgery, veterinarians often prescribe antibiotics and pain relievers to prevent infections and ease discomfort. If your cat tends to be anxious or high-strung, our veterinarians might also recommend sedatives or anti-anxiety medications to help them stay calm during the healing process.

Remember, never give your cat human medications without consulting your veterinarian first. Many drugs that benefit humans can be harmful to our furry companions.

Keeping Your Pet Comfortable At Home

After your cat's surgery, make sure they have a cozy and calm spot to rest away from the busy home environment. Set up a soft, comfy bed, giving them plenty of room to move around. This will help avoid putting too much pressure on any one area of their body. 

Restricting Movement

Our vets will probably recommend that you limit your cat's movements as much as possible for around a week following their surgery. Sudden jumping or stretching can disrupt your feline friend's healing process and cause an incision to reopen. 

Fortunately, only a small number of surgeries necessitate extended indoor rest for your cat's recovery. Even most outdoor cats can handle being indoors during their recuperation.

Helping Your Pet Cope With Crate Rest

Most surgeries won't require crate rest for your cat. However, if your cat has undergone orthopedic surgery, their recovery will involve strict limits on movement.

If your vet advises crate rest, you can take steps to ensure your cat's comfort during extended confinement. Make sure the crate is spacious enough for your cat to stand and turn around.

If your current crate is too small, consider getting a larger one to accommodate a plastic cone or e-collar. Also, ensure there's enough space for food and water to prevent spills that could make the crate uncomfortable and wet, potentially affecting bandages.

Stitches & Bandages

Stitches that have been placed on the inside of your pet's incision will dissolve as the incision heals.

If your cat has stitches or staples on the outside of their incision, your vet will need to remove them around 2 weeks after the procedure. Your vet will let you know what kind of stitches were used to close your pet's incision and about any follow-up care they will require. 

Ensuring your cat's bandages stay dry is crucial for a speedy recovery after surgery. If your cat roams or goes outdoors, shield the bandages with cling wrap or a plastic bag.

This prevents moisture like wet grass from seeping under the bandage and causing issues. Remember to take off the plastic cover when your cat comes back inside to avoid sweat buildup and potential infection.

The Incision Site

Pet owners who have cats might find it challenging to prevent their furry friends from playing with their post-surgery wound by chewing, scratching, or interfering with it. To address this, using a cone-shaped collar can be a helpful choice to stop your pet from licking the wound and disturbing the healing.

Many cats adapt to the collar quickly, but other options are available if your pet struggles to adjust. Ask your veterinarian about less cumbersome products such as post-op medical pet shirts or donut-style collars.

Attend Your Pet's Follow-Up Appointment

During the follow-up appointment, our skilled veterinary team at Animal Emergency Center of North Fulton will carefully monitor your pet's healing progress, watch for any signs of infection, and expertly change your cat's bandages.

Bringing your pet in for this appointment ensures proper wound care and supports your pet's recovery journey.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your cat going to have surgery at Roswell? To learn more about how you can prepare for your kitty's aftercare, contact our Animal Emergency Center of North Fulton team.

Experienced Emergency Vet Care

Animal Emergency Center of North Fulton is an after-hours and critical care hospital, providing veterinary emergency care since 1991. If your pet is experiencing an emergency, contact us to get the help your pet needs.

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