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Information About Spaying Your Cat
Spaying your cat before she goes into heat is the best way to prevent problems with unwanted pregnancy, uterine infections and mammary cancer later in her life. It also helps avoid the often annoying behaviors that many cats display when they are in heat. The full name of the operation is ovariohysterectomy, the removal of both ovaries and the entire uterus. This is done through an incision on the belly that is typically closed with dissolvable sutures, buried under the skin, so you (and your cat) will not see them. After surgery, your cat will be kept here overnight to allow her to wake up quietly and completely from anesthesia in a monitored environment. You can expect to be able to pick her up any time after 10 a.m. the next day. This allows us to examine her, check her incision, and get her paperwork in order. While this is a significant abdominal surgery, most cats recover quickly.
Wound Care: The surgical site is easy to see on your cat's belly in the middle of the shaved area. Check it when you get her home so that you know how it looks. Monitor this area for the next ten days for any discharge or significant redness or bruising. Sometimes there will be mild swelling under the incision within the first week after surgery as the buried sutures dissolve, so don't be alarmed by a small swelling. Likewise, normal cleaning of the skin around the incision by your cat is okay. However, watch for excessive licking that may leave the incision red and moist; this may indicate a problem. Rarely, a cat may need a lampshade-shaped Elizabethan collar to keep her from licking too much, as this can slow the healing process.
Activity: If your cat is used to going outside, please try to keep her inside for at least one week. This will keep her from over-exercising which can slow healing and lead to fluid build-up in the incision area. In addition, she may not be able to move with the same agility during this time, making it harder for her to get out of the way of dangers like cars and other animals. Most outdoor cats will still readily use a litter box for elimination, so this should not be a problem. Within common sense limits, there are no restrictions on your cat's activity while indoors.
Multiple-Cat Homes: Multiple cat households may experience some disruption in the normal interaction of their cats when the spayed cat returns home. Recognition of the returning cat will be hindered by her having a foreign smell. This may lead to some unfriendliness at first. If necessary, consider keeping the convalescent cat isolated for a day or two.
Feeding: While spaying is very important to your cat's health and longevity, the surgery has been shown to both decrease a cat's metabolic rate and activity level and to increase the appetite and the body's ability to store fat, at least in some cats. This means that most cats will gain excessive weight once they are spayed and have finished growing (typically by 7 - 9 months) unless their food intake is limited. It is recommended that you slowly decrease your cat's caloric intake by 25% to 30% over the next few months. This may mean limiting portion sizes, discontinuing free choice feeding and changing from kitten food to an adult formula if you have not already done so. Obesity in cats has been clearly associated with a large number of illnesses and a shortened lifespan.
Questions: Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.