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Caring for Your Cat After Surgery

Caring for your cat after surgery is crucial for their speedy recovery and return to their normal routine. To help you provide the best possible care, our expert veterinarians at Murfreesboro have put together some valuable tips and advice. These guidelines will help you take care of your furry friend as they recover and ensure they get back to their regular activities as soon as possible.

The Importance of Following Post-Operative Instructions for Your Cat’s Recovery

Pets and their owners can feel anxious before and after a surgical procedure. To help your feline friend recover quickly after surgery, it’s crucial to know how to care for them once they’re back home from the vet.

Our vets will give you clear instructions on how to care for your cat, and it’s important to follow them closely. If you’re unsure about any of the steps, don’t hesitate to follow up with your vet for clarification.

Even if you forget some of the post-operative care requirements once you’re back home, our vets are always available to help and clarify their instructions.

Recovery Times for Pets After Surgery

If your cat undergoes abdominal or reproductive surgeries, they will recover faster compared to surgeries involving bones, ligaments, or tendons. Soft tissue surgeries usually heal within 2-3 weeks and fully recover after a month and a half.

On the other hand, orthopedic surgeries have a longer recovery process, with 80% of the healing occurring within the first 2-3 months, but some may take 6 months or more to recover fully. 

To make sure your cat is comfortable and contented during their recovery period, our Murfreesboro vets have some helpful tips for you to follow at home.

Getting Over the Effects of General Anesthetic

When we perform surgery on your feline friend, we use a general anesthetic to make sure they don’t feel any pain during the operation.

Although it may take some time for the anesthetic to wear off after the procedure is finished, it’s important to know that it’s normal for cats to experience temporary sleepiness and shakiness. These effects will subside with rest.

Additionally, your cat may experience a temporary loss of appetite while they recover from the anesthesia, but this is a common occurrence.

Diet & Feeding Your Pet After Surgery

After a surgical procedure, your cat may feel slightly nauseated and lose its appetite due to the effects of a general anesthetic. Opt for small, light meals such as chicken or fish when feeding them. If you want to give them their usual food, only provide them with a quarter of their regular portion.

Normally, your cat’s appetite should return within 24 hours of surgery, and then you can gradually start feeding them their regular food.

However, suppose their appetite doesn’t return to normal within 48 hours. In that case, it’s best to contact your vet because a persistent loss of appetite may indicate pain or infection at the incision site.

Pet Pain Management

After your cat’s surgery, a veterinary professional will explain the pain relievers and medications prescribed for your pet. They will tell you how much medication your cat needs, when to give it, and how to do so safely.

To prevent unnecessary pain and side effects, it is important to follow these instructions carefully. If you have any questions, reach out to your veterinarian for clarification. Vets often prescribe antibiotics and pain medications after surgery to prevent infections and ease discomfort. If your cat is anxious or nervous, they may also receive a sedative or anti-anxiety medication to help them stay calm during healing. 

Remember, never give your cat human medication without consulting your vet first, as many safe drugs can be toxic to our furry friends.

How to keep your cat from jumping after surgery

After your cat has undergone surgery, it’s important to ensure that they avoid jumping and other strenuous activities that can cause harm to its healing incision. Here are some tips on how to keep your cat from jumping after surgery:

  • Keep your cat in a small space: Restricting the space in which your cat can move around can help prevent them from jumping. Consider keeping your cat in a small room, such as a bathroom or a spare bedroom, for a few days after surgery.
  • Use a crate or carrier: If you’re unable to keep your cat in a small space, consider using a crate or carrier. This will limit your cat’s movements and prevent them from jumping while they recover.
  • Provide comfortable bedding: Make sure your cat has a comfortable and cozy place to rest. Soft bedding, such as blankets or a cat bed, can help your cat feel more relaxed and prevent them from jumping.
  • Keep your cat entertained: To prevent boredom, make sure your cat has plenty of toys and activities to keep them occupied. Puzzle feeders or interactive toys can be a great way to keep your cat engaged without requiring too much movement.
  • Supervise your cat: If you can’t keep your cat in a small space or use a crate, make sure to keep a close eye on them at all times. This will allow you to intervene if your cat tries to jump or engage in any other strenuous activity.
By following these tips, you can help ensure that your cat recovers safely and without any complications after surgery. If you have any concerns or questions about your cat’s post-operative care, don’t hesitate to consult with your veterinarian.

Helping Your Pet Cope With Crate Rest

After orthopedic surgery, your cat may need to be confined to a crate to limit their movements during their recovery. To make sure your cat is comfortable during this time, it’s important to get a crate that is big enough for them to move around in, even if they are wearing a plastic cone or e-collar. Also, make sure the crate has enough space for food and water and avoid spills as they can make the crate damp and uncomfortable for your cat.

Stitches & Bandages

If your furry friend has undergone surgery, stitches may be placed inside or outside of their incision to help it heal. If the stitches are inside, they will dissolve on their own as the wound heals. However, if the stitches are on the outside, your vet will need to remove them about 2 weeks after the surgery. Your vet will also advise you on any necessary aftercare for your pet. 

Keeping the bandage on your cat’s incision dry is important to promote quick healing. If your pet needs to go outside, cover the bandage with cling wrap or a plastic bag to prevent moisture from getting inside. Once your pet is back indoors, remove the covering to prevent the buildup of sweat under the bandage, which can cause an infection.

The Incision Site

As a cat owner, you might face some challenges when trying to prevent your furry friend from interfering with their surgical wound by scratching, chewing, or licking it. Thankfully, a simple solution to this problem is using a cone-shaped collar. This type of collar can effectively stop your pet from disturbing the wound and disrupting the healing process.

While most cats adjust to the collar easily, some may struggle with it. If that’s the case, don’t worry; alternative options are available. You can talk to your vet about using less cumbersome products such as post-op medical pet shirts or donut-style collars, which may be more comfortable for your feline friend.

Attend Your Pet’s Follow-Up Appointment

The follow-up appointment gives your vet an opportunity to monitor your pet’s recovery, check for signs of infection, and properly change your cat’s bandages.

The veterinary team at Brogli Lane Weaver & Alexander Animal Hospital has been trained to dress wounds correctly. Bringing your pet in for their follow-up appointment allows this process to happen - and for us to help keep your pet’s healing on track.

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.

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