Cat Surgery: Why It's Needed and What to Expect

Cat Surgery: Why It's Needed and What to Expect


Cat surgery may be frightening for most cat owners. The thought of sending your pet for a surgical procedure may be unfathomable. Whether it is a complex surgical procedure or a routine one, you never get used to it.


​​​​​​​Your veterinarian at La Jolla Veterinary Hospital can guide you about everything cat surgery entails. It is also ideal to note that your cat will benefit from going under the knife. Knowing what to expect and how to prepare can help make the process easy for you and your pet. Read on to learn more about cat surgery.


Reasons For A Cat Surgery

Your veterinarian may recommend a surgical procedure as the best alternative for the well-being of your cat. There are cases where you need to take your pet for planned surgery such as dental extractions, lump removal, or spaying or neutering. But sometimes, you may need to have emergency cat surgery. Such emergency surgeries may include skin cancer treatments and the removal of foreign bodies.

Emergency procedures have no time to prepare. But if it is a planned surgery, you may have enough time to get ready and prepare your pet.

Pre-Op Instructions

Cat surgery instructions are not the same for all procedures. It also depends on whether it is a planned or an emergency procedure. However, these general guidelines can help you prepare before surgery:

  • Ideally, do not feed your cat on the morning of the surgery. Generally, you can pick up food before bedtime and leave a bowl of water until you go for the surgical procedure.

  • Arrive at the veterinary hospital on time. Doing so helps go through various processes that are vital before the surgical procedure.

  • Listen to the instructions given by the veterinary staff carefully. You can call to ask questions if you have any to ensure you do everything required.



What To Expect

Lab work may be necessary, depending on the procedure. Your vet may use the test to understand what is happening with the organs and to ensure the anesthesia is safe for your cat.

Most hospitals prefer that cat owners drop off their cats for the procedure. They will then discharge them the same day after they recover from the anesthesia.

Your cat may appear groggy and disoriented for a few hours after the general anesthesia wears off. Expect them to sleep deeper or longer for the first 24 hours after their surgery. They may seem less lively and vibrant due to the sedative effect of the anesthesia. All this should not worry you.



When To Call The Vet

Contact your veterinarian immediately if you notice:

  • Your cat refuses to eat 48 hours after their surgery

  • Crying out in pain or meowing continually

  • Hyper aggression

  • Redness or excessive swelling in the incision site

  • Foul odor from the incision site

  • Leaking of blood from the incision site for more than 24 hours

  • Hiding or withdrawal
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  • Persistent lethargy for more than 24 hours


How To Care For Your Cat After Surgery

Ideally, learn how to care for stitches, administer medication, and when to go for follow-up care appointments. It is also vital to set up a comfortable and warm environment at home for your cat to recover comfortably. Minimize stress by keeping other pets and young children away from your cat.

Monitor your cat closely for the first 24 hours after their surgery. If you notice any abnormal occurrence, contact your veterinarian immediately. You can confine your pet to prevent them from jumping up and down or hurting themselves while recovering.

Keep checking the incision site for signs of infection. Follow the aftercare instructions and prevent your cat from licking the incision site. Allow them to wear a cone or the Elizabethan collar during recovery.

For more about cat surgery, visit La Jolla Veterinary Hospital at our office in La Jolla, California. You can call (858) 454-6155 to book an appointment today.

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