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Caring For Your Cat After Surgery

After your cat undergoes surgery, it is vital that you provide them with the correct post-operative care so they can fully heal. Today, our Argyle vets offer advice and tips on how to care for your cat after surgery. 

Always Follow Your Vet's Instructions

Before your cat has surgery, your veterinarian will provide you with detailed instructions about how to prepare for surgery and how to help your cat recover. Understanding how to care for your pet after they settle in at home is critical to helping them have a smooth recovery. Be sure to carefully follow all instructions and always reach out to your vet with any questions or concerns that arise after you have returned home. 

Effects of General Anesthetic

Normally when a cat undergoes surgery, your vet will use a general anesthetic to keep your cat unconscious and prevent them from experiencing pain during surgery. The effects might take some time to wear off and can cause your cat to be drowsy, lethargic, or disoriented for a day or two after surgery. 

Feeding Cat Pet After Surgery

After surgery, it is normal for your pet to lose their appetite temporarily. This is a common after-effect of anesthetic. Begin with offering them small portions of their regular kibble or try offering them some wet food to pique their interest. 

Your cat's appetite should return in about 24 hours at which point you can begin offering them their regular diet. If your cat is not eating more than 48 hours after surgery, contact your veterinarian as a lingering loss of appetite can be a sign of infection. 

Managing Your Cat's Pain Post-op 

Your veterinarian will probably prescribe your cat pain management medication. Be sure to clarify with your vet the dose and how often the medication should be administered. You can also ask your vet for advice on the best way to give the medication to your cat. 

Some pets may experience anxiety post-surgery. If this is the case for your pet, your vet may also prescribe anti-anxiety medication or sedatives to help your pet remain calm while they heal.

It is important that you never give your pet human medications without consulting your veterinarian first. Doing so could be extremely dangerous to your pet's wellbeing.

Restrict Your Cat's Movement

Your pet will need a quiet area to rest and recover after surgery. You should set them up in a place where their movement will be limited and where they will be away from other household pets or children. You should provide them with a soft bed and blankets. Hard surfaces may put undue pressure on bandaged or sensitive parts of your pet's body. 

How to Stop Your Cat From Jumping After Surgery

For a specified period after surgery, your cat will probably not be allowed to jump. Sudden jumping can cause incisions to reopen. Depending on the surgery your vet might recommend complete crate rest or just placing them in a space where there is nothing available for them to jump up onto. 

If you're keeping your cat in a room with a bed, you can get a cat ramp that will allow them to walk up without having to jump. 

Litter Considerations

Depending on the type of procedure your cat underwent, it might be recommended that you switch from your cat's regular clay litter to one that's less likely to get caught in wounds or bandages. 

Often the best litter for a cat with skin sutures is a shredded or pelleted paper-based litter. 

Checking on Your Cat's Incision

As long as your cat's incision is not bandaged, you should inspect it twice a day, looking for any signs of excessive swelling, redness, pus, bad smells, or blood seepage that won't stop. If you notice any of these signs, call your veterinarian immediately. 

Do not bathe your cat or allow the incision to get wet. Do not apply any creams or ointments unless instructed to do so by your vet. The best way to let a post-surgical incision heal is to leave it alone as much as possible. 

You should also prevent your cat from licking or scratching at the incision. You may have to have your cat wear a protective cone collar to prevent them from licking. 

Cat Shaking or Coughing After Surgery

It is normal for your cat to cough or shake after surgery. Coughing is caused by the tube that was placed in your cat's trachea (windpipe) while receiving anesthesia. The tube can cause mild irritation which can cause coughing. If the cough lingers for more than a few days you should contact your veterinarian. 

Typically, if a cat is shaking after surgery, this won’t be due to a cold or pain but after-effects from anesthesia or pain control medication. Have your pet frequently eat small amounts of food, and offer them lots of extra love and attention. Extra reassurance from you goes a long way to helping your pet feel better. 

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.

At Argyle Veterinary Hospital, we offer a range of surgeries for pets. We provide complete surgical care and are always available to answer any post-operative questions. Contact us today to learn more

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