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Cat spay recovery

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  • Cat spay recovery

    I brought my girl home last night after a re-spay (long story) and they want me to keep the e-collar on and her confined for 10 days. I’ve put the stupid thing back on twice in less than14 hours. She’ll probably be feeling a lot better tomorrow and I may not be able to get my hands on her to medicate if we keep this up. I don’t think a re-spay is any different than a normal one, except it's more exploratory, and she doesn’t have external stitches.

    Are other cats really wearing these collars for extended periods? Does she have to stay in the guest bedroom for at least a week? I’m not one to go against doctors orders but this seems excessive and I think she’d do better going back to her normal life once the initial pain goes away. Monday-ish?

    What is the normal protocol? I can’t imagine ferals and barn cats get this kind of lock-down and most do fine, right?

  • #2
    I don't understand why she would need a collar on if she has no external stitches. You don't want them jumping around a lot. If you think you can keep her relatively quiet afterwards without confining then it's worth a try. When we do TNR we generally crate them for 24 hours then turn them loose.
    McDowell Racing Stables

    Home Away From Home


    • #3
      I get lots of kittens spayed, and the instructions always say to keep the kitten confined, separate, quiet, etc., for a week or so. I tried that exactly once, and when the kitten was so frantic being isolated, I gave up and let her back in with her group. The instructions also say to put an e-collar on if there are signs of licking or fussing with the incision. I have never had a kitten chew or otherwise bother with it, so I haven't had to e-collar one. I do watch them though, as having them open or cause an infection isn't something I want. I had one feral spayed, and she was very, very feral. I had a large dog cage set up for her in the garage, and kept her confined in the cage for four days, one day longer than the normal recommended time for a female feral recovery; she had a rough go of the surgery. She was released to live outside after four days and did just fine.
      Mystic Owl Sporthorses


      • Original Poster

        Originally posted by clint View Post
        I tried that exactly once, and when the kitten was so frantic being isolated, I gave up and let her back in with her group.
        That’s kind of where I’m at. She came from a bad situation and it took a lot of work to gain her trust. Whether it’s pain or the trauma of not living a princess life, she’s back to hiding under the bed in the same room I fostered her in. More shut down mode than frantic, though.

        I think she might be better off sleeping on the couch as usual and I’d be able to monitor her more there than under the bed. We have a lot of stairs in the house. Would that be considered “jumping around”? Surgery was more than 48 hours ago at this point.


        • #5
          I don't have stairs, but my foster kitten room has cat trees and a daybed. I think it is impossible to keep cats on the floor, and when I have tried, they jump at the door. I had a chat about recovering kittens/cats from spays with another woman who does a lot of fostering, and her experience has been the same; keeping them isolated doesn't mean they will lie about being calm and quiet, and in fact isolating them makes them more anxious. I'm sure that I would let the cat have her couch, and watch her rather than have her depressed and under the bed.
          Mystic Owl Sporthorses


          • #6
            When I have the girls spayed they get to stay in the "private suite" for a week - a huge great dane-sized dog crate with nothing for them to jump up on. The crate goes in a room with other cats and a TV so they still have stuff to look at.

            It's the only way I've found to really keep them quiet. I used to just keep them in a bathroom but they'd jump up on the counter and one managed to rip her stitches doing that.


            • #7
              I've never even had a collar offered. I usually get told to keep them quiet for a couple of days. The ferals were supposed to be kept crated for 24 hours and then released.
              "Dogs are man's best friend. Cats are man's adorable little serial killer." -- theoatmeal.com


              • Original Poster

                I took the advice I wanted to hear over the vet's office and let her out. The collar was off again and we had a bad thunderstorm so I figured she’d be happier with the family. So far, she’s been very quiet and there’s no interest in her belly.

                Originally posted by gaitedincali View Post
                and a TV so they still have stuff to look at.
                I set up a white noise machine for her. Rain forest sounds during the day and crickets at night.


                • #9
                  I never used an e collar on a cat.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by jetsmom View Post
                    I never used an e collar on a cat.
                    Doesn't that just seem like the worst idea in history? I had to use one on one of my guys (exposed wound) for just a few days. It was off more than it was on, and we finally just had to buy toddler sized t-shirts and put them on him to protect the wound.

                    At least my dogs just lay down passively and hate their existence.


                    • #11
                      Wow, my post spay instructions on many, many cats and from several different vets over my life have universally consisted of:

                      1. Keep an eye on her and let us know about any redness, warmth, drainage, off behavior, etc.
                      2. Return in several days for stitch removal unless you want to do it yourself. If you want to do it yourself, that's fine, too.

                      I've never once had a vet offer an E collar or talk about keeping her quiet for a week. The cats returned from spaying and went back with the others, who universally have been very solicitous for about the first day to the victim, even those whom I might expect to pester/annoy/play with the victim excessively. After first day, all gradually resumed normal over the next few days.

                      I have only ONCE had any kind of situation. HRH Rosalind decided to remove her own stitches 1 day before I was going to. She had not been chewing or fiddling with them throughout the postop course. She simply methodically decided that day that she'd had enough of them, and they were outta there. Did a bit of damage to herself, not too bad (wound was basically healed anyway). I took her in for a check. Vet and staff admired her spunk and said she'd have nothing but a slightly more obvious than usual scar.

                      I'd think it would be far more stressful to a cat to completely remove routine and friends.


                      • #12
                        Our vet office always tries to insist on an e-collar too. We never use them. We generally have kept them confined in a bathroom for 3 or 4 days, but always with a buddy. (we've had four barn kittens spayed--a drop-off gift from a feral mother)

                        I can't even imagine a cat tolerating an e-collar without sedation.

                        RIP "Rio" (BW-Clarion) 2000-2009. Bright Spirit, Brave Heart, Loving Soul. I'll love and miss you forever.


                        • #13
                          In the bedroom for quiet hide time the first day then I let them out if they want to. I also give pain meds for the first few days.


                          • Original Poster

                            I, too, thought a collar was ridiculous when I saw the charge on the estimate but never thought they’d send her home in it.

                            Princess Cat has settled back in nicely. The incision is lumpy but there is no heat and she’s not messing with it. The lumps are in different places every day so I think it’s part of the healing process.