Cat spaying question
May 8, 2019 6:05 PM   Subscribe

I am getting conflicting information from the internet / my vet / my friends, so: if you've had a cat who got spayed while under your care, for how long after the procedure is observation needed to make sure nothing is wrong? I work pretty long hours and I am trying to decide if it is safe to get my cat the procedure Saturday then go to work on Monday and leave her at home alone, or I'd better plan to take some days off. Thanks!
posted by dragonfruit to Pets & Animals (9 answers total)
Best answer: I don't think you need to stay home. The first day she'll be groggy and sore. The key things are to make sure the stitches are holding and that there's no serious redness or swelling.

In a perfect world you would keep her in a room for a few days where she couldn't jump a lot- maybe a bed on the floor, food, water, and a litter box. But honestly, people don't monitor their cats after surgery all the time. It might not be ideal, but it's usually fine.
posted by Bistyfrass at 6:11 PM on May 8, 2019 [4 favorites]

Yeah, you should be fine to go to work on Monday. Keep her in a quiet, confined space for the first 24 hours (smaller bedroom, laundry room, bathroom) and make sure she has access to fresh water, a clean litterbox, and a soft place to sleep. After the first day, try to limit jumping/playing for a week or so (much easier said than done with some cats). Check the incision site a couple times a day. Most cats bounce back pretty quickly, the most important thing is to keep the incision site clean and try to prevent too much activity.
posted by adastra at 6:28 PM on May 8, 2019

Can you do a Friday morning drop-off instead of a Saturday, so you get both days of the weekend to observe? First day/night post-surgery she's probably going to be too groggy to get up to any mischief. It's when she has her energy back that you find out if she's going to try to chew on her stitches, or have problems maneuvering around in the cone.
posted by oh yeah! at 6:34 PM on May 8, 2019 [6 favorites]

Additional data point: my spouse and I have a number of feral(ish) cats that live in our yard, and we've been trapping and taking them for spay/neuter to keep the population under control. The procedure the vet follows is they're kept for observation for about 24 hours post-op, then we pick them back up and re-release them into the yard. None of them have had any problems with stitches reopening or anything else, and I'm sure your home is a better recovery environment than our back yard. Returning to work on Monday after spending the weekend with your cat will probably be perfectly safe.
posted by biogeo at 7:05 PM on May 8, 2019 [6 favorites]

So, I've been told that the poochiness you see on some female cats' bellies is from them not being still enough while healing from spaying. Of course the cats can't tell anyone how they feel, or if it bothers them, or if there are internal symptoms or whatever. It's probably just cosmetic.
posted by amtho at 7:58 PM on May 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

Cannot answer question without photos of the cat in question.

Really, though, when I adopted my cat, he was in a cone after major surgery. I was hesitant to leave him home alone, but he was fine.
posted by easy, lucky, free at 8:00 PM on May 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

You probably only need to monitor your cat long enough to make sure she's figured out how to eat while wearing a cone. Some cats will absolutely refuse to eat or drink while wearing a cone (even one of the soft ones) regardless of how you re-position their food bowls. The worst case scenario is that you'll want to remove her cone for short periods of time to let her eat comfortably, but that shouldn't keep you from going to work if your cat is accustomed to breakfast and dinner.
posted by blerghamot at 8:59 PM on May 8, 2019

My girls--and I've only had girls for nearly the last 20 years at this point--have all been spayed fairly young. None of them seemed to even really notice that it'd happened after the initial 24 hours or so, during which they were pretty self-limiting about their activity level. I haven't been given a cone for any of them for like... at least the last decade now. You'll know pretty quickly if she's inclined to chew at her stitches, but none of mine have had a problem.

I'd primarily check up with your vet to see what they think; most of them now are better trained in less invasive methods that have fewer recovery risks, I think, but I'm sure there's still some good vets out there that're just using older surgical techniques, and your cat might just have particular risk factors for complications.

So, I've been told that the poochiness you see on some female cats' bellies is from them not being still enough while healing from spaying.

That's the primordial pouch, and it's largely genetic--all cats have it to some degree, some more than others. It's fine and normal and not a sign that you did anything wrong.
posted by Sequence at 10:17 PM on May 8, 2019 [6 favorites]

You have gotten really good answers already, but . . . kitten foster mama, here - the girlies get spayed and barely seem to notice. They just need a little down time. A spayed cat should most definitely be fine in a day or two - spending a weekend to make sure she is comfortable is more than enough in most cases.

Thank you for spaying her! It is the most responsible and important thing you could ever do for her health and to help with animal welfare and overpopulation.
posted by augustinetill at 10:54 PM on May 8, 2019 [3 favorites]

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