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How Long To Keep Cat Confined After Spay?

How Long To Keep Cat Confined After Spay?

Many owners of female cats will decide to spay them. This is something I also always advise to all cat parents.

Spaying will prevent your cat from getting pregnant. We are all well aware of how there is an overpopulation of cats all around the world.

Also, spaying decreases behaviors like loud vocalization, rubbing against everything, and aggression manifestation in cats. Furthermore, sterilization decreases the risk of uterine and mammary cancers.

Spaying is a routine procedure nowadays and you should know that your pet is in good hands.

However, this is still a procedure that includes anesthesia. Your cat will need some time to get to her old routines. This means you’ll need to provide her with proper follow-up care.

How long to keep cat confined after spay? Let’s explore the answer to this question, and see the best ways to take care of a cat after sterilization.

How Long Should You Keep Your Cat Confined After Spaying?

portrait of a sick cat

Pet sterilization is in general considered to be a routine and safe procedure. However, no surgery is enitrely without risk, and it’s especially important to offer adequate postoperative care to your pet. This is the only safe way to avoid any complications and side effects.

Therefore, you should keep your cat confined after spaying to ensure she heals properly. Her incision should be kept closed and clean. 

It’s necessary for your cat to be in a safe and closed place in the period after her surgery. 

She should avoid any physical activity, even walking, as it can hinder her healing during the initial days.

How long to keep her confined? Well, it’s desirable for her to be in a clean and private place, all by herself, for around ten days.

This way, her incision will heal properly, and she will be ready to go to her usual activities. 

Going through this for the first time is stressful for cat parents, too. Just make sure you follow your vet’s instructions, and call them if you notice anything unusual.

How To Help Your Cat Recover?

It’s essential you make your home a perfect place for your cat’s recovery.

She will be in pain after the surgery and will need your help to recover. You should undertake the following steps to help your cat recover as soon as possible:

1. Prepare A Private, Quiet Space For Her

the cat sleeps in the basket

Your cat is likely to feel confused and even disoriented around 24 hours after the surgery.

Some of the potential anesthesia side effects that could occur are visual impairment, slow breathing, and third eyelid showing. These symptoms should disappear within 24 hours after spaying.

To let your cat rest and recover from anesthesia, you should place her bed in a quiet and isolated place in your home. It would also be good for this place to be obscured, for your cat to sleep better.

Place her bed close to the ground to prevent any jumping, and ensure the floor is cool to soothe her surgical wound.  You should also put a litter box, a food bowl, and a water bowl in that space.

All of these items should be adjusted to a cat that has just gone through surgery and has stitches.

You shouldn’t carry your cat during the period of her recovery, since this could also cause sutures tearing.  

You should be the only person entering your cat’s space in the ten-day-period recovery. Privacy and solitude are an essential part of her healing.

2. Keep An E-Collar On Your Cat

Many cats will lick the incision after the spaying procedure. 

Licking the surgery site can harm your cat’s healing process, since it can cause a painful infection.

To prevent your cat from licking her stitches, you should put an E-collar on her.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals suggests using the E-collar for seven to ten days after surgery.

3. Monitor Her Incision

the cat vomited on the cat

You should also check your cat’s incision every day. 

If you notice any of the following signs, you should call your veterinarian immediately:

• Bleeding from the incision

• Shivering

• Elevated body temperature

• Pale gums

• Labored breathing

• Vomiting or diarrhea

These could be signs that your cat’s incision isn’t healing properly. The veterinarian might advise you to bring her to the vet clinic.

You can find more useful information in our article on warning signs of infections after neutering.

4. Adjust Your Cat’s Meals

It isn’t unusual for a cat not to eat after spaying. However, if everything is okay, she should go back to her usual feeding routine in a couple of days.

In the first period after sterilization, it’s important you adjust your cat’s meals. She is likely not to have the same desire for food as she normally would.

Your veterinarian will give you instructions on the proper amount of meals for your cat. You should follow these and call them if you notice your cat refuses to eat or drink water.

Usually, a cat will eat around a quarter of her normal food portion a couple of hours after arriving home. Don’t force your cat to eat more and let her have all the space she needs.

5. Give Her Pain Medications

a woman gives an antibiotic to a cat

A cat is expected to be in pain for a few days after surgery.

For this reason, a veterinarian will typically provide specific pain medications for you to administer to your cat if necessary.

You should follow your vet’s instructions and prescribed daily dose. If you notice any side effects or strange behavior in your cat after taking the medicine, contact your vet right away.

Also, don’t give your pet any medications on your own, without previously consulting a veterinarian.

How Long Should It Take Your Cat To Recover?

Some cats will get back to their normal activities very soon, while others will need more time to recover.

However, as PetMD suggests, a cat’s sutures will remain in place for 10-14 days, which is exactly the amount of time it will take for her to heal after surgery.

To make sure your cat’s healing process won’t last longer than 14 days, you should follow all the previously mentioned steps of postoperative care.

Strict rest is a number one priority in taking care of a recently spayed cat. Also, confinement to a private and isolated place is a must.

This way, you’ll prevent your cat from climbing and jumping. Furthermore, isolation will stop her from seeing children or other pets and wanting to engage in play with them.

Remember that this is only for a few days and this is in your feline friend’s best interest. Once this period passes, you’ll not even notice your cat was involved in surgery.

By choosing to have her sterilized, you’ve enhanced her quality of life and potentially extended her life expectancy.

When It’s The Right Time To Spay A Cat?

vet sterilizes the cat on the table

Christine Philippa Welsh and her associates [1] explain how the recommended age for spaying and neutering cats is between four to six months of age.

But, there are some other recommendations in this area. According to some opinions, it’s better and safer to sterilize younger kittens, as they have less body fat and will recover more quickly.

Madison Street Animal Hospital suggests that this procedure can be safely performed on kittens as young as six weeks old, provided they weigh at least two pounds.

Many cat owners will perceive this age as way too young for a kitten to go under anesthesia. But, there is one thing you can be sure about if you decide on early spaying: Your cat won’t get pregnant before it, since it won’t go into her first heat cycle.

Of course, there are many things and factors to consider here. The most important thing is to ask a veterinarian you trust for advice.

Finally, if your cat is way over the recommended age for spaying, this doesn’t mean she still can’t get sterilized.

A cat can be spayed at any age, just as long as she’s in good health.


How long to keep cat confined after spay?

It’s recommended to have your feline friend isolated and in peace for at least ten days after the surgery.

When she comes back home from the vet clinic, she will still feel the side effects of anesthesia. This is why it’s’ important you place her in a quiet, dark place to help her have all the peace she needs.

It’s necessary to eliminate all potential disturbance from your cat’s surroundings. This means you should be the only person checking on her during her recovery.

It’s crucial to observe your cat’s incision, and to call a vet in case of noticing any potentially dangerous signs. It’s also advisable to put an E-collar on a cat to prevent her from licking the stitches.

Your cat is likely to show less desire for food in the first couple of days. You shouldn’t force her to eat, but rather just wait for her to go to her normal routine. 

You should adjust all her items so that she doesn’t have to jump or climb to get any of them.

Your cat should be back to her normal routine around two weeks after the surgery. 

[1] Welsh, Christine & Gruffydd-Jones, Timothy & Murray, Jane. (2013). Paper: The neuter status of cats at four and six months of age is strongly associated with the owners’ intended age of neutering. The Veterinary record. 172. 10.1136/vr.101362. DOI, Retrieved October 5, 2023.