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Warning signs after sterilizing a cat

Cat spaying is a common surgery performed on female cats to prevent unwanted reproduction and improve their overall health and quality of life in the long term. However, as with any surgical procedure, some problems can occur after sterilization. Spaying, or olorhysterectomy, involves the removal of the cat’s ovaries and uterus. This surgery is known to reduce the risk of developing certain health and behavioral problems, such as the risk of ovarian tumors and the tendency to wander.

Warning signs after sterilizing a cat

Pain and discomfort

After spaying, it is common for cats to experience some level of pain and discomfort. This natural response of the body to surgery requires adequate attention and care to ensure the well-being of the feline during the recovery period. Keep in mind that cats are great experts at hiding pain, so you will have to be very aware of their behavior and behavioral changes.

Normal symptoms of cat pain and discomfort are:

  • Mild lethargy: it is normal for the cat to be somewhat less active in the days following the operation. Moderate lethargy may be a response to surgical trauma.
  • Protective posture : The cat can adopt a more collected or protective posture to relieve abdominal pain. This is typical behavior during the initial recovery phase.
  • Changes in appetite: Some cats may show a temporary decrease in appetite after spaying. 

However, some signs may indicate excessive pain or warning signs after feline sterilization :

  • Persistent vomiting – Persistent vomiting may indicate significant discomfort and requires veterinary evaluation.
  • Increased pain – If the cat seems to experience increasing pain rather than improvement over time, this is cause for concern and requires veterinary intervention.
  • Excessive lethargy – Excessive lethargy or continued refusal of food and water may indicate complications requiring immediate veterinary attention.

For postoperative pain management we can rely on:

  • Prescription pain relievers – Your veterinarian will prescribe appropriate pain relievers to relieve post-operative discomfort. It is essential to administer medications according to your veterinarian’s instructions.
  • Calm environment : Creating a calm, stress-free environment helps the cat recover without disturbing its rest. 
  • Soft, Comfortable Bed – Offering a soft, comfortable bed helps reduce abdominal pressure and provides a calming place to rest.
  • Close monitoring : Monitor your cat’s behavior closely to ensure pain symptoms decrease over time. If they persist or worsen, consult your veterinarian.

Careful management of post-sterilization pain and discomfort is essential to ensure a complication-free recovery . The active participation of the owner in monitoring the cat’s well-being and in the proper administration of prescribed medications contributes to a faster and more comfortable recovery.

Warning signs after sterilizing a cat - Pain and discomfort

Wound infections

Infection of the surgical wound after sterilization is a possible complication , although relatively rare. It is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of a possible infection so that you can intervene quickly and ensure a proper recovery.

Symptoms of spay wound infection in cats are:

  • Intense redness – Significant redness around the surgical wound may indicate ongoing inflammation and infection.
  • Excessive swelling – Significant swelling compared to normal post-operatively may be a sign of an underlying problem. If your cat’s spay wound is swollen , find out what to do in the following article.
  • Warmth and tenderness – The infected area may feel warmer to the touch and more sensitive to touch than during the normal healing process.
  • Purulent discharge : The presence of purulent fluid or pus from the wound is a clear sign of infection and requires veterinary evaluation.
  • Unpleasant odor : An unpleasant odor coming from the wound often indicates the presence of bacteria and should be treated immediately.

Some warning signs after sterilizing a cat due to worsening of the infection or the appearance of complications:

  •  Persistent fever : Persistence of fever after initiation of treatment may indicate limited effectiveness of antibiotic therapy. You may be interested in » Fever in cats: causes, symptoms and how to reduce it .»
  • Worsening symptoms : If the symptoms of the infection worsen despite treatment, you should notify your veterinarian immediately.
  • Difficulty healing – Lack of improvement in wound healing may suggest the need for further investigations and interventions.

Treatment of post-sterilization wound infection requires rapid identification and timely intervention. Behaviors to adopt to manage wound infection include:

  • Consult your veterinarian : If you suspect an infection, it is essential to consult your veterinarian immediately. Only a professional can confirm the presence of an infection and determine the appropriate treatment.
  • Antibiotic therapy – If the infection is confirmed, the veterinarian will prescribe specific antibiotics to treat the causative pathogen. Carefully follow the treatment plan to ensure effective clearance of the infection.
  • Cleaning and drainage : In some cases, it may be necessary to drain the infected area and clean the surgical wound to remove pus and other debris.
  • Constant monitoring : After starting antibiotic therapy, carefully monitor the cat for any improvement or worsening.
Warning signs after sterilizing a cat - Wound infections

Excessive licking of the wound

Excessive licking of the operated area is a common behavior in cats after sterilization. While licking is a natural part of the healing process, excessive activity can lead to complications such as irritation, infection , and delayed healing.

Below we will list some reasons for this behavior and we will differentiate it from excessive licking:

  • Normal licking behavior : Cats often lick the surgical area to clean it and stimulate blood circulation, aiding healing. This behavior is part of their grooming instinct .
  • Discomfort or pain: If the cat feels discomfort or pain in the operated area, it may lick excessively in an attempt to relieve the discomfort.
  • Stress or anxiety: The experience of the operation and the postoperative environment can cause stress in the cat, leading to excessive licking behavior as a coping mechanism.

Some tips for managing excessive licking include:

  • Elizabethan Collar – Use an Elizabethan collar or “cone collar” to physically prevent the cat from licking the operated area. This prevents excessive licking and allows for more efficient healing. See « Alternatives to the Elizabethan collar in cats .»
  • Covering cloth : If the cat does not tolerate the Elizabethan collar, covering cloth or cat-specific clothing can be used to protect the surgical wound.
  • Bitter sprays or ointments : Some products available in the market give off a bitter taste when licked. Applying these products to the wound can discourage excessive licking.
  • Constant monitoring : Monitor the cat carefully to make sure it does not remove its collar or other protective equipment. Check the wound regularly to make sure there are no signs of infection or irritation.

The times when it is advisable to consult the veterinarian are:

  • Wound infection : If you notice any signs of infection such as redness, swelling, purulent discharge or unpleasant odor , consult your veterinarian immediately.
  • Removal of stitches : If the cat manages to reach and remove the stitches by licking, it is necessary to contact the veterinarian for an evaluation and the possible application of alternatives such as surgical glue or absorbable stitches.
  • Persistent licking : If licking persists despite preventive measures, your veterinarian may recommend a more thorough evaluation to rule out underlying causes, such as irritation or allergies .

Preventive interventions and constant monitoring are essential to avoid complications related to excessive licking after sterilization surgery in cats. Working with your veterinarian helps ensure optimal healing and the overall well-being of your feline.

Warning signs after neutering a cat - Excessive licking of the wound

Anesthetic complications

Anesthetic complications are a potential risk in any surgical procedure, including sterilization. It is important to recognize the signs of possible post-anesthetic complications in order to intervene quickly and ensure the cat’s well-being.

Such warning signs after feline sterilization and anesthesia are:

  • Persistent vomiting : Persistent vomiting after surgery may be a sign of anesthetic complications. Vomiting may be caused by the presence of anesthetic residues in the system or by others.
  • Prolonged lethargy – If the cat displays excessive lethargy or struggles to regain consciousness beyond the normal recovery period, it may indicate slow wear of the anesthesia.
  • Respiratory difficulties : Complications such as pulmonary edema or bronchospasm can cause breathing difficulties. Monitor respiratory rate and the presence of difficulty breathing.
  • Hypotension – Low blood pressure may occur as a result of anesthesia. The cat may present signs such as weakness, pale mucous membranes and atypical behavior.
  • Hypothermia: Hypothermia (a lower than normal body temperature) is another possible complication. The cat may feel cold to the touch and shiver.

In case of anesthetic complications, it is advisable to proceed as follows:

  • Contact your veterinarian immediately : If there are any signs of anesthetic complications, contact your veterinarian immediately or go to an emergency veterinary center.
  • Constant Monitoring – During the postoperative period, it is important to constantly monitor the cat for signs of complications. Pay close attention to any changes in vital signs.
  • Veterinary evaluation : Your veterinarian will perform a complete evaluation to determine the cause of anesthetic complications. Additional tests may be needed, such as blood tests or x-rays.
  • Water Support If you have persistent vomiting, water support can help prevent dehydration. However, the cat should not be forced to drink if she shows signs of impaired consciousness or difficulty swallowing.
  • Oxygen therapy : If there are signs of breathing difficulties, oxygen therapy may be necessary to ensure adequate tissue oxygenation.

To prevent anesthetic complications it is advisable:

  • Present complete medical history : Provide your veterinarian with a detailed medical history of your cat, including any health problems or reactions to previous anesthesia.
  • Close monitoring during anesthesia : During surgery, your veterinarian will carefully monitor your cat’s vital signs, such as heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure.
  • Use of safe anesthesia : use safe anesthetics adapted to the specific needs of the cat, with the supervision of qualified personnel.
  • Postoperative monitoring : After the operation, the cat should be monitored by personnel experienced in post-anesthesia recovery to quickly detect any complications.

Prevention, timely identification and treatment of anesthetic complications are essential for the cat’s safe and complete recovery after sterilization surgery.

Warning signs after sterilization of a cat - Anesthetic complications

Behavior changes

Spaying can affect the behavior of cats in several ways. While many changes are positive, it is important to be aware of possible adjustments in post-surgical behavior.

  • Reduced energy levels – After surgery, some cats may show slightly reduced energy levels. This is often attributed to the body’s response to the surgery.
  • Increased need for rest – The post-operative phase may cause an increased need for rest and sleep. The cat may seek quiet places and prefer quiet moments.
  • Greater tendency to gain weight : sterilization can affect metabolism and energy needs. Some cats may show a greater predisposition to gain weight, requiring careful management of their diet.
  • Changes in social interaction : Some cats may become more affectionate after spaying, while others may prefer more time alone. Social interactions can vary greatly.
  • Changes in grooming behaviors : Spayed cats may change their grooming behaviors. Some may lick less frequently, while others may increase this activity.
  • Possible territory change : Spaying may affect cats’ tendency to mark their territory. In many cases, urine marking decreases, but this can vary individually.
  • Changes in eating habits : The cat’s metabolism can be affected by sterilization, causing changes in eating habits. Carefully monitoring your diet is crucial to maintaining a healthy body weight.

To manage behavior changes, here are some suggestions:

  • Balanced nutrition : adapting the cat’s diet to its new post-sterilization needs is essential to prevent it from gaining weight and guarantee optimal health.
  • Play and stimulation – Providing opportunities for play and mental stimulation can help mitigate reduced energy and keep the cat mentally active.
  • Weight Management – ​​Monitor your cat’s weight regularly and make any changes to his diet under the supervision of your veterinarian.
  • Provide quiet places – Make sure the cat has access to quiet, comfortable places to rest, especially during the post-operative phase.
  • Continue cuddles and interactions : Maintaining positive and affectionate interactions with the cat helps strengthen the bond with the owner.

Some behaviors may cause more concern than others and should alert us:

  • Drastic or prolonged changes : If your cat exhibits drastic behavioral changes or if a new behavior persists for an extended period of time, consult your veterinarian to rule out any health problems.
  • Signs of stress or distress : Signs of stress, such as excessive isolation or anxious behavior, require attention. Your veterinarian can give you advice on how to manage stress.
  • Feeding problems : If the cat has significant changes in eating habits, including appetite and water consumption, it is advisable to consult a veterinarian.

While neutering can cause behavioral changes, each cat responds uniquely. Careful observation and proper management help ensure proper postoperative adjustment. 

This article is merely informative, at Tecnomd.com we do not have the power to prescribe veterinary treatments or perform any type of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if it has any type of condition or discomfort.

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