Spaying or neutering of a cat is something that owners of cats should take into consideration. This may not apply if you adopted your kitty from a shelter (as they may already be spayed or neutered), but it is still helpful to know a bit about the process, and what is involved.
What is the Spaying of a Cat?
Spaying of a cat, also called an ovariohysterectomy, is the surgical removal of the reproductive organs of female cat. This involves the removal of a cat’s ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus.
The reproductive organs that are removed are those which are responsible for the production of eggs (also called ova), embryo and fetus development as well as the secretion of the major female reproductive hormones called oestrogen and progesterone.
It results in the female cat being unable to breed or experience the usual indications of going into heat.
What is the Neutering of a Cat?
Neutering is the surgical removal of a male cat’s testicles, also called castration. This will result in a male cat’s inability to produce sperm, and thus, being unable to impregnate a female cat.
What Is Involved in the Process of Spaying or Neutering of Your Kitty?
Knowing what to expect may help to reduce the anxiety that may be experienced prior to your cat going into surgery.
The process of spaying or neutering your kitty involves some input from you and of course your veterinarian. Again, this is a general guide, you should take your cat to the veterinarian, to determine the general health of the cat and any adjustments to your treatment of him or her prior to and after the surgery.
What Should You Do (or Not Do) Prior to the Operation?
The kitty must be prepared for the surgery by doing the following:
Your Kitty Cat Will Have to be Fasted
The kitty must not be fed food the night before the surgery as there should not be food in her stomach on the day of the surgery. Your veterinarian may suggest that your cat’s last meal, before the start of fasting, should be 12 hours prior to the time of the surgery.
This is very important, as the cat will receive a general anesthetic, and may vomit if he or she has a full stomach of food and this could lead to serious and potentially fatal complications. The cat could choke on the vomited food; inhale it into his or her lungs which can result in severe bronchoconstriction, or even result in chemical or bacterial pneumonia.
Your vet may indicate that water should not be withheld, and that if the cat is a young kitten, between 8 and 16 weeks of age, then he or she should not be fasted for more than 8 hours prior to surgery.
If your kitty is an outdoor cat and food cannot be withheld from him or her for the night, then you may have to confine your kitty to a room during the night before the surgery. Water and kitty’s litter box should be made available for him or her.
You Have the Option to Bathe Your Kitty Prior to Surgery
You will not be able to bathe your kitty for two weeks after the surgery, as the surgery wound should not get wet, so if you are in the habit of bathing your kitty, then you can go ahead and bathe kitty before the surgery.
On the Day of the Operation
You should arrive at the veterinarian clinic at the time specified by your vet, with your fasted cat of course. Try not to be late, as your vet may have other operations carded for the day, and you do not want your kitty’s fasting to be for nothing. If you are running late, the kindest thing would be to let your vet know.
The vet will let you know when you should pick up your kitty. It may be a good idea to call the clinic first to ensure that the procedure has been completed and you can come in to pick up kitty.
After Surgery Care
Once the kitty has woken up from the anesthesia, you can go ahead and feed her, preferably a soft meal and in a small amount. Also, make sure that her water and litter box is available. Some kitties may not feel the urge to eat, so you can try foods with a strong scent, like fish-containing tinned food, or tuna or salmon. Try to stick to the lower fatty fish foods as foods with a higher fat content, such as lamb, pork etc. may upset her digestive system.
Monitor your kitty’s behavior post-surgery. Within 1 to 3 days should be behaving as normal, eating, drinking, urinating as she did prior to the surgery.
If your kitty’s behavior has not reverted to normal, if she is drinking excessively, not eating, showing any signs of vomiting, contact your vet.
If your kitty does not eat anything for more than 24 hours after the surgery, then contact your vet.
Your cat’s surgery wound will take between 10 to 14 days to heal completely. During this time, it is the best that kitty avoids any strenuous activity such as running or jumping around. This will reduce any chance of the wound reopening and any resulting complications.
As best as possible, try to ensure that your kitty stays indoors as this will reduce the chance of the wound becoming dirty, wet and infected and will also allow you to better monitor her healing progress and general well-being.
Also, try as much as possible, and this might be difficult, to prevent her from licking her wounds as this can lead to its reopening. If she continues to lick her wounds, you can get an Elizabethan collar. This will prevent her from being able to lick her wound and thus, reduce the chance of it becoming infected.
After the surgery healing period has passed, you may need to return to the vet with kitty in order to remove her stitches. At the time of surgery, the vet would have let you know if this was required as some vets use dissolvable surgery sutures that do not require you to return with kitty to the vet, as these sutures are absorbed by the body due to a reaction with the bodily fluids.
Once the stitches are removed, your kitty should return to his/her usual self. They should be back to playing and eating and being as cute and adorable as they were prior to the surgery.