If you got your cat recently neutered and worried if it will be licking the surgical site, you may be wondering does my cat need to wear a cone after neutering? In this article, we give you the definitive answer and some tips on how to handle a cat who has been recently neutered.
Does my cat need to wear a cone after neutering?
Your cat may or may not require to wear a cone after getting neutered. It entirely depends on your cat’s nature and its curiosity. Neutering surgeries today are done with smaller incisions and the after-care medication makes it a less painful experience.
In case your cat gets curious and decides to lick the incision or pull on the stitches, it is best to make him wear a cone for his own safety.
Is it ok for a cat to lick after neuter?
Cats should not lick their incision site post-surgery. Most cats tend to do this because the skin may feel itchy, smell strange or your cat is just curious. Licking may cause the wound to get infected.
Depending on whether your male or female cat was neutered, there may or may not be stitches required after the surgery.
Neutering procedures on male cats is done by making two small incisions on the cat’s scrotum to remove the testicles. This does not require any stitches.
Neutering procedures on female cats involve an incision on its side or abdomen to remove both the uterus and ovaries. The incision will be closed by dissolvable stitches, skin sutures, or staples or help together by surgical glue.
Most cats won’t bother with the incision site but some cats tend to lick or tug at the stitches which can prove harmful.
If your cat is not stopping licking itself after surgery, you should discuss with your veterinarian and get your cat to wear an e-collar or an Elizabethan collar, also sometimes referred to as Lampshade or cone of shame. This prevents your cat from being able to reach the spot of incision and licking itself.
How long should a cat wear a cone?
Generally, most average cats take 10 to 14 days to heal fully after neutering surgery. The itching at the incision can last 2 or 3 days after which the cat may not feel the need to lick or scratch the site.
If your cat is not trying to lick itself, you can safely remove the cone but keep your cat under observation so that it doesn’t harm itself.
Can I leave my cat alone after being neutered?
Do not leave your cat alone after being neutered. Your cat may feel its normal self after surgery so it is best to comfort it and care for it till it becomes its usual self.
The effect of the anesthesia given during surgery usually disappears after 24 hours. 24 hours to 36 hours after surgery, your cat may start feeling slight pain or discomfort at the place of the incision. If your cat has not been given any pain-relieving medication by your veterinarian, check with them. Generally, a long-acting pain reliever is given to comfort your cat.
After 3-4 days, your cat may be feeling much better and start behaving its normal self. But ensure that your cat is not being over-active, jumping from high places, climbing steps or stairs, and not stretching itself. Too much stretching can put undue stress on the stitches and in the worst case, can lead to a hernia.
How to care for a neutered cat?
Most cat owners consider neutering their cats to keep them healthy and well-behaved. But they are not aware of the important points about post-surgery care which can help their neutered pet to heal quickly.
We list the things you should be aware of and you should do to take care of your neutered cat.
Care after bringing your neutered cat home
After bringing your neutered cat home, you should ensure that your cat is left in a quiet and dark room without much disturbance. Your cat will be feeling some of the after-effects of anesthesia for 24 hours. So ensure that it is not disturbed and agitated.
Don’t let your other pets or children near your neutered cat. The most well-behaved and playful cats tend to be very agitated and aggressive after surgery and will bite or scratch them.
The effect of anesthesia will disappear after 24 hours and your cat will begin to feel normal and more like itself. Your vet will recommend observing your cat for the first 24 hours to see that they don’t harm themselves with their activities.
Food and water for your cat
When your cat is back home after the surgery, give him a little water. If he drinks it, let him but don’t force. Your cat may vomit, don’t worry about it as it is a side effect of the anesthesia.
After 24 hours, give your cat a quarter of his regular meal size preferably wet cat food. Again, if your cat vomits, take away the food and discard it and leave your cat alone.
Place your cat’s food and water bowl close to them so that they don’t have to struggle to get their meals.
Most cats are back to regular eating 1 day after their surgery without any issues.
If your cat is not eating or drinking normally after 48 hours of the surgery, take him to the vet for an examination.
Post surgery medication
Your veterinarian may give your cat a long-acting pain reliever that can last for 24 hours or more. After 24 hours to 36 hours, your cat starts feeling slight pain and discomfort. If your cat seems to be in visible pain, check with your vet if they recommend any pain-relieving medication. As a responsible pet parent, do not take any medicine without checking with your vet first.
Keep an eye on your cat’s incision. A little redness and soreness are normal but any continuous bleeding, bulging, or tear is a sign to look out for. Take your cat to your veterinarian if you see any abnormalities.
Even though your cat may not be eating or drinking much, but they will still attend nature’s call. Ensure that your cat’s usual litter box is placed near to him after it has been thoroughly cleaned. If your cat is wearing a cone, make sure that you remove the cover of the litter box.
Dirt from the litter box may infect your cat’s wound so ensure it is always clean. It is advisable to use shredded paper as litter at least for 5 to 7 days after surgery.
Monitor your cat’s urine and stool for any signs of blood. A little blood in the first 24 hours may be normal but anything in excess may be a sign of trouble.
If your cat is having difficultly passing urine or defecating after 72 hours of the surgery, consult your vet immediately.
Avoid giving your cat a bath as water may infect the wound.
Keep an eye on your cat’s activities and energy levels. Your cat may return to its normal playful behavior 24 hours after surgery. Make sure your cat stays indoors and you don’t let it outside. Your cat should not try to climb or jump from high places. It should not climb stairs or steps.
Playing with other pets or your children may also prove a little too much as your pets may bite or harm your cat unwillingly.
If possible, keep your cat in a separate room with its food and water for a week to avoid engaging in activities and delaying the healing process.
Getting your cat neutered is a good step towards ensuring your cat’s good health and well-being. At the same time, it is necessary that you take all necessary precautions to care for your cat post-surgery and help your cat recover quickly. If you cannot stop your cat from licking its wound post-surgery, making it wear a cone or a soft collar can be a good way to prevent it from licking its wound.