Skip to Main Content

Ask About Financing

Cat Recovering from Surgery: How to Help Them Get Better

Cat Recovering from Surgery: How to Help Them Get Better

Get guidance from our local vets in Mount Vernon regarding on how to help your cat recover quickly after surgery with simple measures at home.

Follow Post-Op Instructions

It's common to feel anxious before and after your cat's surgery. It's essential to know how to properly care for your furry friend once they come home to help them get back to their regular routine. Your veterinarian will provide you with detailed and concise instructions on how to care for your cat after the surgery. It's crucial to follow these instructions strictly. If you're unsure about any of the steps, don't hesitate to contact your vet for clarification. Remember, clarifying any misunderstandings is best to ensure your cat's optimal recovery.

Recovery Times for Cats After Surgery

According to our veterinary team, pets tend to recover at a quicker pace from soft tissue surgeries such as reproductive surgeries (C-sections or spays & neuters) or abdominal surgery as compared to procedures involving tendons, bones, ligaments, or joints. Soft tissue surgeries typically require 2 to 3 weeks for healing and about 6 weeks for complete recovery. 

Orthopedic surgeries, on the other hand, involving ligaments, bones, and other skeletal structures, take much longer to heal. The recovery of your cat after orthopedic surgery takes approximately 80% of the time between 8 to 12 weeks after the surgery. However, the average recovery time from orthopedic surgery could be as long as 6 months or more. 

Our Mount Vernon veterinarians will provide you with some valuable tips to ensure your cat's comfort and contentment during their recovery at home.

Recuperating from Effects of General Anesthetic 

Your cat will be given a general anesthetic during surgical procedures to ensure they are unconscious and pain-free. It is important to note that the effects of anesthesia may persist for some time after the procedure.

It is common for cats to experience temporary shakiness or sleepiness after being given general anesthetics. These side effects are normal and typically fade away with rest. Additionally, it is not uncommon for cats to lose their appetite temporarily while recovering from anesthesia.

Diet & Feeding Your Cat After Surgery

After undergoing surgery under general anesthesia, your feline companion may experience slight nausea and loss of appetite. To soothe their stomach, offer them something light and small like chicken or fish, or give them a quarter of their regular food. Keep an eye on your cat's eating habits, as it is normal for them to not eat after surgery.

However, within 24 hours, their appetite should return to normal, and they can gradually resume their regular diet. If your pet is still not eating after 48 hours, contact your veterinarian or veterinary surgeon, as it may be a sign of infection or pain.

Pet Pain Management

When you and your feline companion are leaving the veterinary clinic after a surgical procedure, a knowledgeable staff member will inform you about the prescribed pain relievers or other medications for your pet. This will enable you to manage your cat's post-operative pain or discomfort effectively.

They will explain the correct dosage, frequency of administration, and safe administration practices. Following these instructions accurately will prevent unnecessary pain during recovery and minimize the risk of side effects. If you have any uncertainties about the instructions given, do not hesitate to ask for clarification. 

After surgery, veterinarians frequently prescribe antibiotics and pain relievers to prevent infections and alleviate discomfort. If your cat is anxious or overly active, our veterinarians may advise a sedative or anti-anxiety medication to keep them calm during the healing process. Remember to never give your cat human medications without consulting your veterinarian first. Many drugs that work for us can be harmful to our four-legged companions.

Keeping Your Cat Comfortable At Home

While your cat is recovering from surgery, it is critical to provide a comfortable and quiet place for your kitty to rest, away from the hustle and bustle of your home, including other pets and children. Setting up a comfortable and soft bed for your cat and providing plenty of space for them to spread out will help prevent excessive pressure on any one part of their body.

How to Keep Your Cat From Jumping After Surgery

Your veterinarian will most likely advise you to restrict your pet's movement for a specified period (usually a week) following surgery. Sudden jumping or stretching can disrupt the healing process and even cause the incision to reopen, especially after fracture repairs or other types of orthopedic surgeries that require rest.

For the duration of your cat's recovery period, you can place them in a smaller area of the house and remove furniture that they may want to jump onto. 

Thankfully, few procedures require a significant crate or cage rest to help your cat recover, and most outdoor cats will be able to cope well with staying indoors for a few days as they recover.

Helping Your Cat Cope With Crate Rest

If your cat has undergone orthopedic surgery, they may require crate rest during their recovery period. To ensure your cat's comfort during this time, it's important to take some precautions. Firstly, make sure the crate is large enough for your pet to move around comfortably. A larger crate may be necessary if your cat is wearing a plastic cone or e-collar.

Additionally, provide enough space for food and water dishes while being cautious of spills that can make the crate damp and unpleasant. Boredom can be a struggle during extended periods of cage rest, so it's worth asking your vet if limited periods of gentle play and interaction outside of the cage are possible. Feeding enrichment can provide a helpful distraction for cats on extended cage rest.

Stitches & Bandages

After your pet undergoes a surgical procedure, the stitches inside their incision will dissolve as it heals. If your cat has stitches or staples on the outside of their incision, you should take them to the vet for removal about two weeks after the procedure. Your vet will inform you of the type of stitches used and any necessary follow-up care.

Keeping the bandages dry is crucial in promoting quick healing of your pet's surgical site. If your pet goes outside, you can cover the bandages with cling wrap or a plastic bag to prevent wet grass or dampness from getting in between the bandage and their skin. Make sure to remove the plastic covering when they return home, as leaving it on may cause sweat to accumulate under the bandage and lead to infection.

The Incision Site

As a cat owner, you might face challenges in preventing your furry friend from scratching, chewing, or interfering with their surgical incision site. To address this concern, you can use a plastic Elizabethan collar in a cone shape (soft or hard) to prevent your pet from licking their wound. While most cats get accustomed to the collar quickly, if your pet is struggling, you can discuss alternative options with your veterinarian, including post-op medical pet shirts or donut-style collars that are less cumbersome.

Attend Your Cat's Follow-Up Appointment 

During your cat's follow-up appointment, the veterinarian will assess its recovery, examine for any signs of infection, and replace the bandages if necessary. Our veterinary experts at Northwest Veterinary Clinic of Mount Vernon are skilled in dressing surgical sites and wounds, thus visiting our clinic for a check-up facilitates the healing process and ensures that your cat is healing properly. Additionally, we are happy to address any inquiries or worries you may have.

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 Northwest Veterinary Clinic of Mount Vernon? To learn more about how you can prepare for your kitty's aftercare, contact our Mount Vernon veterinary team.

New Patients Welcome

Northwest Veterinary Clinic of Mount Vernon is accepting new patients! Our vets are passionate about the health of Mount Vernon cats, dogs, and horses. Get in touch today to book your animal's first appointment.

Contact Us

(360) 424-4054 Contact