So your male cat has just completed his neutering procedure at the vet and you are on the way home.
Having your cat’s little jewels snipped off is an unnerving experience for both cat owner and cat. Your cat will be struggling to comprehend what on earth just happened to his body and you will be busy making sure that your cat is recovering well.
It is important that you provide the proper cat neutering aftercare to help with your cat’s recovery and prevent complications.
This comprehensive guide is here to assist you every step of the way, providing you with valuable tips and insights into post-surgical care for your neutered male cat.
1. Don’t Panic
As a cat owner myself, I know how seeing your poor cat in pain or discomfort can send your heart rate and anxiety levels through the roof and beyond.
He probably isn’t in the best of moods and state of health. Expect him to not be his usual self for a week or so.
The calmer you are, your cat will also know that he is in good hands as cats can sense emotions.
It is normal for your cat to not be his usual self for a day a two due to the side effects of the anesthetic agent and pain meds.
Your cat won’t have much of an appetite or thirst for a day or two.
He will be busy sleeping and hiding due to the after-effects of the procedure.
2. Use An E-Collar Or Body Suit
Cats are natural groomers which means they will lick every reachable part of the body to keep themselves clean.
The last thing we want is for our cat to be licking or biting the incision site. This can cause infections and prolong his recovery.
The Elizebeth collar or E-collar works best for cats that have just gone through surgery. Basically, it is a cone-shaped collar that is made from either plastic or fabric.
Its main job is to prevent cats from accessing areas that need to recover.
The bodysuit might be a better option for abdominal surgery as it can completely cover and protect the area and allow your cat to recover without any complications.
Do note that cats aren’t big fans of the e-collar as it makes them feel insecure and uncomfortable.
Don’t soften up and remove it thinking that you’re helping your cat.
My cat hated wearing his collar with a feline vengeance but it really did help him recover faster by not licking the incision area.
3. Prepare A Comfortable Recovery Room Or Corner
After the neutering procedure, most male cats will be in discomfort and confusion.
It would be best to prepare a quiet room or corner for your cat to recover. A room or corner with as little noise and foot traffic would be preferred.
All his essential items should be on the floor without needing to jump up or down.
Bring his litter tray close to his recovery area to prevent him from walking around too much.
Make sure to clean up and sanitize the area to keep his surroundings clean.
If you have a nice big cupboard box, that would work as a safe zone for the cat to hide.
Don’t let the cat jump up into it but flip the box onto its side for easy access.
4. Keep Your Male Cat Indoors
If your furry friend has access to the outdoors, it would be best to keep your cat indoors until he is fully recovered.
While outdoors, your cat has a higher chance of aggravating the wound or getting injured by other external forces out of your control.
I understand that there are some cat owners who feel that there is a need to let their cats outdoors as they are miserable staying inside.
If you recently adopted a senior stray or feral cat that has been living outside for a decade, I can empathize with you.
Then again, I have many friends who have such cats that started enjoying being indoors more than outside.
Truth be told, there really isn’t a good enough reason to allow your cat outdoors.
The risk of getting injured or knocked down by a car is very very high.
5.4 million cats are hit by cars in the United States alone.
Your cat might be street-smart but all it takes is one accident to make you regret ever letting your cat out that door.
There’s also a risk of your cat running away when it’s outside and never coming home again.
Please, please, please don’t let your cat outside.
5. Don’t Play With Your Cat
Now is not the ideal time to be playing fetch or chasing the laser.
For the next week or so, the poor kitty needs as much rest as possible to recover from his neutering.
Any form of excess movement can aggravate the incision site or the sutures to burst.
It’s best that your furry friend doesn’t move around much and let your cat rest as much as possible.
All his energy should be directed toward his recovery.
6. Feed Him Well
Like humans, a cat in recovery needs a lot of good nutrients for the body to repair itself.
There’s a good chance that he might not his usual appetite after the surgery for a day or two.
Try adding some of his favorite treats to his food to stimulate his appetite. Hand-feeding him can also make him eat more.
Adding some bone broth made from chicken or beef is good for his recovery.
When making homemade broth with bones, never ever feed your cat the cooked bones as it is very dangerous.
It is important to keep your cat as hydrated as possible during this period.
If his appetite has not recovered after a few days, do give your vet a call to let him know. They might ask you to bring your cat back for a post-op check-up.
On a separate note, your cat’s diet is probably the most important factor that will determine his overall health.
If you would like to understand why a raw meat diet might be best for your cat, check out our guide here.
7. Don’t Forget About The Medications
After the procedure, the vet might prescribe medication for your cat to take throughout the course of his recovery.
The most common ones are:
- pain medications
- antibiotics to prevent any wound infection from occurring
- cleaning lotion to clean the incision site
Feeding medication to cats can be a tricky thing. Most cats hate it and it can be a nightmare when trying to do so.
An easier way is to crush up the tablet and stir it well into his food if pilling him is next to impossible.
If you need to give your cat liquid medicine, you can syringe the liquid directly into its mouth or mix it into its food.
Cats have a fantastic sense of smell and can smell the medication in their food very easily.
So in order to disguise the scent, you can add some fish broth made from bonito flakes or boiled fish bones.
8. Monitor The Surgical Site
It’s usual for the surgery site to be swollen a few hours after surgery. It should start to subside after a few days.
Make sure that your cat is able to pee without much issues as well.
If there are any signs of bleeding, a lump at the incision area, excessive swelling or pus around the surgical incision call the vet asap to see what needs to be done to prevent any serious complications.
How Long Does It Take For A Cat To Recover From Being Neutered?
Most neuterings are minor procedures. Your cat can be out of the operating room within 30 minutes.
The spaying procedure for female cats takes longer, about an hour or so.
If the testicles have already descended into the ball sac, then the incision site will be at the ball sac.
If the testicles have not descended, then the surgical incision will be done via abdominal surgery.
On average, ball sac incisions take about a week to recover whereas neutering via abdominal surgery takes about two weeks.
How Long After Neutering Does Behavior Change In A Cat?
It might take anywhere from 4-8 weeks for neutered cats to register the change in their hormonal levels.
Hence during this period, neutered cats might still exhibit pre-neutering behaviors.
One thing to note is that adult cats (>1 year old), after being neutered, tend to retain some level of aggression.
If you are adopting a retired breeder cat or from an animal shelter, most of the time the cat is already sterilized.
This saves you the trouble of having to go through the process.
When Should I Bring My Cat Back To The Vet?
The road to recovery is a slow one so some patience on your part is required before your cat is fully back to its normal self.
It is good for you to keep an eye on your cat on a daily basis to ensure that it’s recovering well.
Most importantly, you want to see that your cat is slowly making progress in terms of its appetite and wound healing.
If you notice one of the below symptoms, it would be good to call or take your cat back to the vet.
- Not eating after more than 24 hours
- Not using the litter box
- Bleeding or swelling at the incision site that doesn’t stop
- Pus or bad odor from the wound
Trap Neuter Release Program
Besides domesticated cats, it is also important to neuter as many strays and ferals cats as we can.
A female cat can have up to 200 kittens in her lifetime.
The Trap Neuter and Release Program is designed to encourage cat lovers to trap and bring in such cats for neutering at their local vets.
Many vets are registered with this program and can do the surgery for free or at a very subsidized cost.
Once the operation is successful. The cat is then released back to its colony.