Animal advocates strongly push for spaying and neutering pets for many reasons. It prevents the stray animal population from growing and can help your pet live a healthier, longer life. Animal owners want to be responsible for both spaying and neutering but also for caring for their pets afterward.
Does my cat need to wear a cone after neutering? Veterinarians recommend that cats continue wearing a cone for five to seven days after neutering. You don’t want them licking the surgical area.
Read further to understand when and why your cat should wear a cone after neutering.
The Difference between Spaying and Neutering
The question deals strictly with neutering but the issue of a cone comes up with spaying also. It’s important to know the differences so pet owners understand how to care for their pets after surgeries
Neutering, also called orchiectomy, is when surgery is done to remove the testes from a male animal.
Spaying, or ovariohysterectomy, is the procedure for female animals. It’s when the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries are removed from a female animal.
Spaying is typically more involved than neutering since it is an internal surgery whereas neutering is usually an external procedure.
Cones for Every Cat
Vets will tell you to force the cat to wear a cone for up to a week after neutering to prevent them from licking the surgical area. The cat may need to wear the cone for up to 14 days if the vet had to perform an abdominal incision to remove a retained testicle.
Sometimes, the vet will tell you to keep the cat in the cone until they have a follow-up exam to check on healing.
Female cats have more rules for aftercare after spaying. They will also need to wear the “cone of shame” to keep her from licking the incision. However, the vet will also tell you not to bathe her for at least 10 days post-surgery.
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When to Neuter?
The testicles in a male cat will drop into the scrotum when it is just three to six weeks old. Vets will tell you the cat will need to be a little older before it can be neutered. Typical ages for neutering are between eight weeks and six months old.
Options in Neutering
Most pet owners don’t realize they have options in choosing neutering procedures. While most opt for the traditional procedure, your cat can have special issues that cause you to consider other options for both male and female felines.
In males, vets can do a vasectomy rather than complete neutering. This is where the vas deferens are removed. This is responsible for using the sperm from the testes. They can’t reproduce after this procedure. However, it won’t end the cat’s breeding behaviors.
A product is on the market for nonsurgical sterilization and is used to neuter male cats as well as dogs. It is a shot into the tests that stops sperm production. The animal can continue to produce some hormones but the drug makes it infertile.
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Cat Recovery After Neutering
Cats will feel lethargic when you pick them up after neutering. They have been given anesthesia so they are groggy. They will sleep for a long while and then get up to eat and drink water. Take him to the vet if he refuses to eat or vomits.
Your cat won’t feel like himself for a few days. He likely won’t enjoy the cone and isn’t going to feel like doing much while he heals. Most neuter procedures are simple and your cat should heal well within seven days, although those enduring more complicated procedures will take 14 days to heal.
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Male Cat Behaviors After Procedure
A male cat will use the litter box after being neutered so make sure it is uncovered, if you have a covered one, to accommodate the cone. Litter can also be a problem because it can stick to the incision.
The answer to the litter problem is to use torn newspaper in place of litter for 24 to 48 hours after surgery. It’s a cleaner way to allow your cat to use the litter box without getting his incision infected with soiled litter.
Cats should urinate and poop normally after surgery. That normally occurs within a few hours. You should take your cat to the vet if he hasn’t urinated within 24 hours after surgery. That should show a serious complication.
It’s normal for your cat to have constipation after being neutered. Anesthesia does that for cats as well as humans.
Your cat should produce stool within 72 hours. Call your veterinarian if that doesn’t happen because it could be a symptom of dehydration.
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Dealing With the Cone of Shame
No animal likes the Elizabethan collar but you can do some things to help them adjust. A cone changes how the cat sees and hears things and that can affect their sense of security. After all, you don’t want your pet to stress. Stress will prevent them from healing properly.
Here are some ways to desensitize your cat to the cone.
- Ask your vet for a cone to use a few weeks ahead of time. You will need to take a few minutes daily to get your cat used to it.
- Start by holding the cone near your cat without putting it on them. Let it sniff, touch it and just look at it. Give him a treat every time they interact with it. This creates a positive association with it.
- Practice putting the cone on the cat and immediately take it off. Give him a treat for wearing it. Let him wear it a little longer each time. Shorten the time the cat is in the cone if he tries to fight it to get it off.
- Eventually, you will feed him while he wears the cone. You can try to use his favorite toy to play with him while wearing it too. It’s important to get him to walk around in the cone. Do this by using wet food, a treat, or a toy to get him to follow you.
Creating Cone Safety
Cones make it awkward for cats to move so a good pet owner needs to block off areas where the cat can get stuck. This includes areas under beds and furniture. Your cat needs to stay in the open so you can monitor him.
You should also block off any access to the outdoors while your cat is healing. They shouldn’t wear a cone outside
Veterinarians recommend not to allow your cat outside without you watching them while they are healing. Since you can’t bathe them for a week or so, you don’t want them to get dirty or pick up fleas.
Monitor your cat while they are drinking or eating. Some cats may have trouble with this while wearing a cone. A solution should be to hand-feed them or at least hold their dishes up higher for them to eat.
You can trim the cone’s length but don’t cut it down so much that they can reach their stitches.
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It’s no fun to wear the cone of shame. However, you can make it doable by adjusting your cat to it before the surgery and monitoring him afterward.
Paying attention to how your cat reacts with the cone on will make a huge difference in how you handle the situation.