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How To Pick Up A Cat After Spaying And 5 Additional Care Tips

How To Pick Up A Cat After Spaying And 5 Additional Care Tips

Spaying is something I recommend to every cat parent.

It prevents unwanted pregnancies and decreases the risk of mammary gland tumors and ovarian cancer. A spayed cat is less likely to meow loudly and rub against anything since these behaviors are hormone-driven.

I understand that spaying may sound scary to you since it includes a surgical procedure and removing your cat’s ovaries and uterus.

I assure you there’s no reason to be scared since this is a routine procedure nowadays. Of course, the way you handle your cat afterward will be crucial for her recovery.

One of the most important things to know here is how to pick up a cat after spaying. Let’s find out the best way, as well as some other useful information on your cat’s after-spay care.

What’s The Best Way To Pick Up A Cat After Spaying?

vet holding spayed cat

Cats can’t understand exactly what happens during a spay procedure.

However, they do feel odd afterward and are aware something’s going on. In these moments, I’m sure you would like to pick up your kitty and just give her consolation.

It would be best not to pick her up too frequently for the first couple of days. If your cat seems to refuse this, don’t force her. You can cause anxiety and fear in her, which is especially unwanted in this recovery period.

If she doesn’t show distress while you try to pick her up, only then should you do it. Just remember, you need to be extremely careful here. Remember that your cat has stitches and is likely to be in pain.

You should put one arm around her chest and the other under her hind end. This way, you’ll put as little pressure as possible on her wound and stitches.

At the same time, you’ll be able to safely comfort and pet your feline friend without jeopardizing her recovery.

Picking her up without additional caution can even tear her stitches and cause additional pain in her.

5 Important Tips For The After-Spay Care 

Besides being careful when picking up your recently spayed cat, there are also some other steps you should take.

I suggest you apply them to be sure you’re doing your part in your pet’s recovery.

1. Keep Your Cat Confined

cat sitting in a chair

Your cat should be settled in a private and safe place during her recovery period.

You should keep her confined for around ten days after spaying. Keep in mind that you should be the only person coming in and taking care of your cat.

This arrangement allows her to rest and heal fully after the surgery.  Make sure there aren’t any distractions around, such as other cats jumping and playing near her.

It’s essential that a spayed cat avoids any kind of physical activity during the first couple of days after the surgical procedure.

Your cat’s place for recovery should be warm and quiet. Don’t put her on a bed or other high places, but rather settle her on the floor to avoid jumping.

2. Use An E-Collar

It’s likely that your cat will lick on her wound. This is a feline instinct to soothe themselves and make them feel better.

This is also something you should prevent from happening. Excess licking can even cause an infection in a cat.

The best way to ensure your cat won’t lick her stitches is by putting an E-collar on her.

According to Vet Focus, cats are fastidious groomers, leading to them being able to remove sutures and traumatize surgical sites.

An E-collar is very helpful in these situations since it allows a cat’s skin lesions to heal and prevents the need for additional veterinary care.

3. Observe Her Incision

cat incision

Every surgery comes with certain risks, even a routine one like spaying.

This means that you should observe your cat’s stitches carefully. Avoid touching or disturbing her, but take a look at her wound every day.

In case you notice excessive swelling, redness, or oozing, contact your veterinarian. These are potential signs that the wound got infected.

4. Manage Food Portions

Be prepared for your cat not to eat normally right after spaying.

You shouldn’t be upset about this, since this is entirely normal. Your cat is likely to eat around one-quarter of her normal food portion during the first day after surgery.

Don’t push her to eat, but rather give her enough time to adjust and recover from anesthesia. Also, don’t offer her treats if she refuses to eat her standard food.

5. Give Her Pain Medications

female giving cat medication

Every cat will experience some level of discomfort or pain in the first couple of days following spaying.

However, this will be worse for some than others. It’s possible that you will need to give your cat pain medication to help her feel better.

You should only do this under the guidance of your veterinarian. The painkillers you give to her should be the ones they prescribe. By no means should you decide on this on your own.

The veterinarian will give your cat medication upon leaving the vet clinic. If you notice she suffers from severe pain during her recovery at home, this is when you should consult them on additional pain medications.

How Long Does It Take For A Cat To Recover After Spaying?

Most cats will recover in ten to fourteen days after spaying.

Of course, your way of caring for your feline friend is of crucial importance here. Make sure you only pick her up in a way that won’t risk stitches tearing.

Also, depriving your cat of activity and company, as well as keeping her in a quiet and private place will all be beneficial for her recovery.

Are you still unsure about getting your cat spayed? Let me put things as simple as possible: What is a ten-day recovery period in comparison to health benefits and elimination of undesirable behaviors?

And, let me just emphasize one more important thing. Even if you have a senior cat, this doesn’t mean that it’s too late to spay her.

Just as long as she’s an active and healthy cat, she will recover from spaying just like her younger counterparts.

On the other side of the spectrum, Lisa Howe [1] points out that spaying is safe in cats at any age over six weeks.

Therefore, no matter whether you have a young kitten or a senior cat, I suggest you consult your veterinarian on the spaying procedure.


woman helping spayed cat

How to pick up a cat after spaying?

For some cats, the best would be to avoid this entirely. You’ll know this is the best solution if your cat seems agitated when you try to pick her up.

This is totally fine and it means that your feline friend just needs a couple of days to recover from anesthesia and the entire procedure.

In case your cat is fine with you picking her up, you should do it carefully. The safest way to do this is by putting one arm around her chest and the other one under her hind end.

Together with being cautious while picking her up, you should also keep your cat calm and relaxed during her recovery.

Place her in a warm and private place inside your home and make sure there aren’t any distractions around her.

You can expect your kitty to fully recover in 10 to 14 days. If you notice any signs she may be in distress, contact your veterinarian immediately.


[1] Howe LM. Current perspectives on the optimal age to spay/castrate dogs and cats. Vet Med (Auckl). 2015 May 8;6:171-180. DOI, Retrieved December 15, 2023.