My six month old kitten is getting spayed on Friday. She is strong and healthy, but I have not had a kitten in some time. Can anyone describe the operation to me? What should I be aware of? Are there any complications? What should I do for her when she comes home?
Just make sure that the incision doesn't get infected. Don't let her get too active, because the stitches could rip. Give your kitty lots of love and attention when she comes home. My youngest cat is now almost 10 years old, but I had her spayed when she was 6 months old (she's the cat I use for my profile picture). She did not sleep with me much before the surgery, but I remember that she needed to cuddle with me at night afterward, and she liked to have her tummy rubbed. She still cuddles with me and likes to sleep with my hand on her tummy.
To be honest, our cats were still so sleepy from the anaesthetic that they weren't that much problem, and just slept for a long time after the procedure. We did try to show them lots of love and care during this time, and got them little treats, but that was more the kids forcing us to be extra nice to them! As others have pointed out, keeping the incision clean and dry is the most important thing to do.
Recovery from any surgery is tricky for a kitty because they walk on all fours and aren't noted for their moderation, you know? Instructions I received were to keep her quiet as much as possible, including confining her in her little "house," but to let her roam freely about the floors when she was under supervision. And, of course, make sure she gets sun (if there is any) and fresh air as these are instrumental in recovery. I was advised to either carry her outside for a while a couple of times a day or take her out in her little "house" [she loves her little "house" (read kennel); it's her favorite place to put herself for her naps]. Of course, when kitty has a cold or other illness or is undergoing an emotional upset, these are not advisable times for scheduling surgeries. Also, if your vet has no objection, a warm compress with a dose of chamomile homeopathic remedy (or of Dr. Bach Rescue Remedy homeopathic remedy) in it helps to advance healing. I have found kitties like listening to Fred Astaire or Celtic songs when they are having a compress applied.
This may already have been mentioned, but I know that the vet has always told us to try to keep the cat from jumping when he/she first comes home so as not to disturb the stitches. I have to admit with all the cats we have had, this is nearly impossible: if you are a cat person, you know they "march to their own drummer," and to heck with what you want.
I have found it easier to keep other animals and kids away from "the invalid" if possible. I also discovered that if I sit on the floor to read or to watch TV, the cat will generally want to be with me.
I would then watch behavior, eating and drinking, use of the box, and the attention the cat shows to the stitches. My cats never had to wear "head gear," but it may depend on the vet and the specific circumstances of the cat's surgery. Either way, it doesn't last long; I figure the cats know more than we do about how they are feeling, and as I said, they are tough to control.
Your cat will probably need to wear the "cone of shame" for a while, to keep her from licking the sutures, and you will also discover the joy of giving anti-biotics (usually a pink, pepto-bismol like liquid) to an unwilling feline who doesn't feel well. The good news is that they recover quite quickly, and the surgery is very routine.
These days, you will probably have two choices when it comes to spaying (at least I did when I had my dog spayed). The traditional method is where they make a medium-sized incision and do the operation, and the other is the laproscopic method (where they make a very tiny cut, and do most of the work with the aid of a small camera/cutting tool and the aid of a camera). The latter method promotes quicker healing time, but is about $100 more expensive than the traditional method. I chose the former method because I did not have the other funds, and my dog was loggy (due to the drugs they knocked her out with) and a little slow-moving for about a day...but after that she was just fine.
Thank you for spaying!
Lots of good advice above. Usually the incisions are quite tiny, and the main thing is to monitor for redness, drainage, or other signs of infection. Also, some vets give cats a tattoo when they spay - my vet does a little green line on the belly. It's invisible when the fur grows back, but if the cat is ever lost somehow and winds up at a shelter or in a new home, it's there to let a vet know that she's been spayed already. It's a good idea, just in case. You might want to ask your vet about it.
Be ready to have a couple of challenging nights. The day before the surgery, quit feeding and giving water to the kitten by 10pm or by the time the doctor told you. If it is HARD to get a GROWN (and spoiled) cat from munching whatever she finds on the ground at night, it might be a bigger challenge for a much hungrier kitten, so make sure that you leave her in a room with the potty and make sure it is vacuumed. Food and anesthesia do not mix.
Also, since the anesthesia will make the kitten sleep a lot, just leave the kitten sleeping in your room (like a baby) and look for signs of infection (if any) in the operated area. I spent 15$ in a small electric blanket that I set to very low, and it seems to ease them from the trauma of being carried there, etc. Good luck and good choice in spaying!
I honestly do not remember anything outside of keeping the incision site dry and looking for signs of infection. My cat was pretty calm, just slept a lot. I do not remember after surgery being a big deal.
The main thing you need to do is check with the vet who will be doing the surgery. As with any surgery, there are risks, but the vet will do his/her best to minimize them. For your part, do your best to keep kitty quiet and calm for a couple days after the surgery - no jumping on the furniture if you can prevent it (good luck!). See this link (http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/cat-care/spay-neuter.aspx) for more specifics.