Skip to main content

What you can do to help your cat after surgery and show your pet how much you love them

Here's how to keep your kitty feeling safe, comfy, and calm post-op

You love your kitty. Sometimes, that means agreeing to send them in for cat surgery. Whether it’s a standard spay or neuter procedure, necessary dental work, or something more worrisome like removing a cancerous tumor, you’ll want to ensure you give your furry friend some extra TLC post-operation.

Your feline friend may also need you to be patient with them. Cat behavior after surgery can vary from pet to pet, but they may be slightly shyer, lethargic, or easily irritated for a while. The good news is that your cat should go back to normal — and hopefully wind up as an even healthier version of themselves soon. Knowing what to prepare for can ensure your cat feels safe, loved, and comfortable after surgery.

Orange cat wrapped in a blanket
Aleksandar Cvetanovic/Unsplash

Items that will keep your cat cozy post-surgery

After cat surgery, your kitty may have limited mobility. They may have a cast or scarring or feel a little tired from any medications or drugs used during surgery. You’ll want to have items in your home and accessible to keep your cat feeling relaxed.

  • A warm, dry bed. This item should be a no-brainer. What would you want to do after surgery? Probably chill in bed for a few days. A cozy bed allows your pet to rest and recover from their operation.
  • Blanket. A blanket isn’t a must, but it can help your cat feel warmer, safer, and more inclined to stay put instead of trying to run and jump too soon.
  • Elizabethan collar: Also known as the “cone of shame,” the Elizabethan-style collar is a staple item for post-cat surgery. It makes it hard for your kitty to scratch their face or lick or chew at post-surgical wounds. It’s typically made of fabric or clear plastic, and the vet should provide a standard one. However, you can look into cozier or fun ones (like an E-collar that looks like a lion for your little beast) for their comfort or your own amusement.
  • Space heater. If you have a drafty home or your kitty’s favorite room tends to get cold at night, a space heater can keep them snug. Try to keep the space at room temperature to give the kitty a sense of normalcy — if it’s too hot, they may get uncomfortable, escape, and hide.
  • Entertainment. YouTube is full of “Cat TV” videos with birds and chipmunks, so your cat won’t miss their favorite window perch too much.

Note: One important factor is ensuring your cat can get to all of their essentials, like food, water, and at least one litter box. It may mean moving items to ground level if your cat can’t climb stairs for a while.

A cat at the vet
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Follow discharge instructions

After cat surgery, it’s important to look at discharge instructions. These instructions may include common issues to look out for, what’s concerning, and what’s harmless. For example, a decreased appetite is normal cat behavior after spaying or neutering. The vet should also provide information on what a cat can and cannot do, instructions for changing bandages, and dosing and frequency of any post-surgery medication like pain reducers. Even if you feel like you read the instructions thoroughly, call your vet if you’re concerned about anything, such as your cat’s behavior after surgery. If nothing else, you’ll have peace of mind.

Surgery can be stressful on your cat — and you. Seeing them in pain is not fun, but it should be temporary. As their caretaker, you can make them feel more comfortable. Cozy beds, blankets, and space heaters can help them relax. Cat TV can keep them entertained. Be sure to follow discharge instructions and talk to your vet about concerns, such as common cat behavior after spaying — and what flags aren’t normal. If possible, use the time to cuddle your kitty a little tighter. Just having you nearby can give them a sense of normalcy, even when they aren’t feeling quite like themselves.

Editors' Recommendations

BethAnn Mayer
Beth Ann's work has appeared on and In her spare time, you can find her running (either marathons…
Why do cats meow excessively? 6 possible causes – and solutions that can help you both
Find out why your cat is meowing so much (and what to do about it)
Striped orange cat meowing

Cats meow (and don't meow!) for a number of reasons. It all starts when they’re kittens — they meow to their mothers when they’re cold, hungry, or scared. As they get older, little felines learn different ways to vocalize and interact with other cats, usually by yowling or hissing. But meowing is an adult cat’s way to communicate with people. It's nice to have a little chat with your tiny tiger, though constant meowing can be really unpleasant. If you regularly ask yourself, "Why do cats meow so much?" you're in the right place.

Why do cats meow to their humans?
Good news first: Many of the meows you hear indicate a positive feeling. This means, your cat gets happy and just has to express herself in her native tongue. However, sometimes, vocalizations can reveal the total opposite and require you to take care of her. Occasionally, excessive talking from a feline says that she's not OK and needs some human intervention. As with learning a new language, you should pay careful attention to the timing, intonation, and context of the articulation. Basically, trust your pet. If she's really in pain, you'll know from the noises she makes and should take her to the vet as soon as possible.

Read more
Loss of weight in cats can be a symptom of many things – Here’s what you need to know and when to call the vet
Common causes of weight loss in cats
Cat with empty bowl looking up

When it comes to being a pet parent, two of the most important tasks you'll take on are helping your fur baby maintain a healthy weight and feeding your feline companion nutrient-rich meals. Have you been wondering, "Why is my cat losing weight?" A variety of reasons, some benign and some life threatening, could be to blame. If you’ve noticed your cat is overeating, or even if your cat continues to eat normally but still manages to lose weight, do not delay — take them to the veterinarian right away.

Unplanned loss of weight in cats can be a symptom of several health complications that your veterinarian should check out immediately. You don't want to take a "wait and see" approach or assume your cat will suddenly start to put on weight again. Remember, prompt treatment is essential for your cat's well-being.

Read more
Wondering how to keep cat warm in cold weather – here are 9 effective ways to help your pet stay toasty
Try these tricks to keep your cat from being cold
A Maine Coon cat reaches his snow-covered paw toward the camera.

There are many reasons why your feline fur baby should remain exclusively indoors, but it's all the more important to keep your cat inside during the winter months. A blanket of snow may look stunning, but it makes it difficult for outdoor kitties to find their way home. The potential for accidents also increases due to decreased visibility and the presence of black ice.

Even if your cat stays indoors all the time, you'll still need to take extra steps to keep her warm during the cool weather. Some homes are naturally drafty, and with snow and ice accumulating on utility lines, the chance of power outages increases as well. Wondering how to keep cats warm in cold weather? Here are nine useful tips to get you started. 

Read more