Spaying your female cat is one of the most important decisions you can make as a cat owner. It helps to prevent unwanted pregnancies and certain diseases.
It’s entirely normal to have concerns but most changes in your cat’s behavior are predictable and manageable. Each cat is unique, so individual reactions may vary but there are common patterns to watch for.
Most female cats tend to be calmer than usual after being spayed. Without the need to look for a male cat to mate with, she won’t be yowling and spraying pee all over the house. A calmer cat is also more affectionate and easier to live with.
This comprehensive guide will provide valuable insights into what you can expect regarding your cat’s behavior after spaying, allowing you to support her through this transition with confidence and understanding.
What Is Spaying?
Spaying is the surgical process of preventing a female cat from producing any kittens in the future.
An incision is made in the abdomen of the cat after which the uterus and ovaries are then removed.
The incision is stitched up and the sutures will dissolve naturally over some time.
Spay surgery requires the cat to be sedated and will take about an hour or so to complete.
In male cats, the procedure is called neutering whereby the testicles are removed via an incision in the ball sac.
Typical Female Cat Behavior After Spaying
Your cat won’t be in the best mental and physical state after coming out from surgery. You can expect her to be groggy or unsettled due to the sedation.
Chances are she won’t have a good appetite for a day or two due to feeling out of sorts after the surgery.
Your cat will likely need more rest than usual as she recovers from the surgery. Ensure she has a quiet, comfortable space where she can recuperate undisturbed.
It would be best to have her litter box, food and water all close by so that she doesn’t move around too much and aggravate the surgical wound.
You can also use these methods to help a cat recover after being neutered.
Do Cats Change After Being Spayed?
There is a high probability that pet owners will notice some changes in their cat’s personalities after some time.
This is because spayed cats no longer have the desire to mate which thus eradicates those unwanted behaviors that are related to intact females during their heat cycles.
Let us go through what are some of the long-term changes in a female cat’s behavior after spaying.
Less Aggressive Behavior
Female cats that are spayed exhibit less aggressive behavior as compared to non-spayed cats1.
During their heat cycles when hormones are raging, they can get into fights with other female cats resulting in unwanted injury.
This is especially beneficial for cat owners that have multiple cats at home or allow their cats to roam outside.
Lesser Desire For Female Cats To Wander And Stray
Your cat will have a stronger desire to stay at home after being spayed.
If your cat has outdoor access, she will have a tendency to wander far and wide to look for male cats to mate with.
This can be problematic as your cat can run away and get lost, get hit by a car or be involved in fights with other cats.
Getting into fights with other cats puts your cat at risk of getting diseases such as FeLV and FIV,
Your female cat will now be contented staying at home and chilling by your side.
Little To No Spraying
An unneutered male cat will be urinating or spraying on walls to mark his scent and territory which serves as a warning to other cats.
Female cats do it too to send a signal to attract males that there are ready to mate.
Trust me when I say that the last thing you want on your walls is cat urine.
It stinks really bad and the smell can be hard to get rid of.
Most female cats will stop spraying after being spayed but a small percentage will still continue.
This usually happens when the cat is only spayed when it is much older and has gone through many heat cycles.
A study has discovered that cats that are spayed at a younger age (less than 6 months) tend to have lesser health and behavioral issues2.
Your Ears Will Thank You
If you have ever heard an intact female cat wail when she’s looking for a male cat to mate with, you will know what I am talking about.
She will sound like a cross between a jet plane and an ambulance.
Definitely not a sound that I would like to have gone on for hours at home.
There’s a good chance that she will quieten down a few weeks after her surgery and give your ears a break.
Less Active Than Before
Once spayed, female cats can get a little less active as compared to before.
Without any sex hormones in their body, they won’t be excessively worked up or hyper during mating season.
Your cat won’t be rolling and flopping in front of you to show that she’s ready to mate.
This doesn’t mean that she will start to gain weight and end up being obese.
Don’t forget to play with your cat as well to prevent a sedentary lifestyle. Get a toy that she can chase and hunt down to keep her active.
Feed A Good Diet
You can still control her weight by feeding her a good diet such as good quality wet canned food or a raw meat diet.
Don’t feed your cat dry food as it contains a lot of carbs which can cause weight gain in cats rather easily.
Furthermore, dry cat food or kibbles is bad for our kitties as they don’t contain the necessary nutrients that are essential for a good diet.
How Long After Being Spayed Does A Cat Calm Down?
Cat owners will usually start to see a change in the cat’s behavior after 4-6 weeks. It will take some time for the body to register the change in hormonal levels.
Prior to this time, the female cat’s behavior might still exhibit unwanted behavior prior to surgery.
So just be a little patient during this time.
Do Cats Get Nicer After Getting Spayed?
Not all cats are lap cats or liked to be cuddled. Some prefer more me-time than cuddling next to their owners.
I was hoping that my cat would magically transform into a lap cat after getting neutered but that didn’t happen.
After spaying your cat, its personality should not be altered by much except for the absence of mating and sexual behaviors.
They might have a tendency to be calmer and nicer since they are no longer psyched up by sex hormones.
Do Female Cats Get Depressed After Getting Spayed?
There have not been any conclusive studies that spaying can cause depression in female cats.
More often than not, the post-surgery recovery period can be difficult for cats. They have to deal with discomfort, anxiety and hormonal changes.
It may cause added stress for cats but they should start getting back to their normal behavior after a few days.
However, If your cat was pregnant when she was spayed, she can end up feeling depressed after the abortion. This can be caused by the abrupt drop in progesterone and sudden loss of her kittens.
My Cat Is Acting Weird After Being Spayed
If you notice that your cat is not back to her normal self after a few days, it might be a good idea to give the vet a call for advice.
Some symptoms that you should be aware of:
- Not eating or drinking
- Bleeding or pus at the incision area
Another common post-surgery side effect is a change in your cat’s voice. Some cats can sound congested after being spayed due to the endotracheal tube.
If you notice any of the above symptoms happening, it would be best to bring the cat back to the vet for a follow-up.
Some pet owners may feel that spaying or fixing their cats is cruel.
Then again, having a cat that’s in heat several times a year and yet can’t do anything about it must be even worse for the cat.
By spaying your cat at an early age, you can give them a healthier and longer life.
At the same time, it helps with population control where more than a million cats are euthanized at animal shelters every year.
If you are on the fence about getting your cat spayed, it would be best to speak to your local vet to help clarify your concerns.
At the end of the day, we want to give our cat the best quality of life possible.