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Does A Cat Gain Weight After Being Spayed? What You Need to Know!

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By Nicole Cosgrove

spaying cat

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lorna Whittemore

MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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‎Spaying your cat‎‎ is a responsible and beneficial procedure. ‎‎1‎‎ Not only does it prevent your cat from producing an unwanted litter, but it also prevents uterine infections, reduces the ‎‎risk of mammary cancer‎‎, and decreases behavioral changes caused by reproductive heat cycles.‎

As a responsible pet owner, you have probably had your cat spayed and may have noticed your cat packing on a few pounds after the procedure, but could the two be linked?

The answer is yes. Your cat can gain weight after spaying, which can be due to a few factors. We will discuss the factors that play a role in your cat’s weight gain and how to keep your cat healthy and safe after the procedure.

hepper single cat paw dividerWhy Does a Cat Gain Weight After Being Spayed?

Once your cat has been spayed, it’s not surprising that you will notice a decrease in their activity levels. This is because their estrogen levels are lower, resulting in lower energy needs. If your cat is eating the same amount of food as before but is less active, she can easily gain weight. Estrogen is shown to decrease appetite, and your cat’s appetite may increase after surgery. Some studies have found that after having your cat spayed, food intake can increase by an average of 50%, and body weight can increase up to 29%.

What About a Primordial Pouch?

Every cat has a primordial pouch, regardless of weight and age and if they have been spayed or not. A primordial pouch is an abdominal flap made up of loose skin and fatty tissue that plays an important role in your cat’s bodily structure. It serves as protection for your cat’s vital organs and provides food storage by allowing your cat’s abdomen to expand, which gives it flexibility when jumping and twisting.

Other Reasons Your Cat Could Be Gaining Weight

fat cat sitting on the grass
Photo Credit: Dennis van de Water, Shutterstock

If you notice that your feline friend has gained a few extra pounds, it can be related to other reasons, including:

Breed: Certain cat breeds are more prone to weight gain: usually cats of mixed breeds.

Gender: Female cats are more likely to gain weight.

Age:  Older cats are less energetic and metabolic rate reduces making them more prone to weight gain.

Medical issues: Very rarely weight increase is linked to a medical condition that may need a specific course of treatment.

Overfeeding: It makes sense that cats with limitless access to food eat more than they require, and it’s important to avoid overfeeding your cat.

Feeding habits: Obesity can result from feeding table scraps and human food.

Lack of exercise: Obesity is a common outcome of excessive food intake and insufficient activity.

hepper cat paw divider

How Can I Maintain My Cat’s Weight After Being Spayed?

Spayed cats only require 75–80% of the food needed by intact cats to maintain their body weight. It is crucial to avoid free-feeding your pet but instead offer several measured meals. You can speak to your veterinarian to ensure your cat’s nutritional requirements are met and pay special attention to your cat’s diet at least six months after the procedure.

Keep your cat fit and active by playing their favorite games and providing them with a scratching post. We would also like to hand you a tool to know how much you should feed your cat to maintain their health:

The exact amount of calories an individual animal needs to maintain a healthy weight is variable and influenced by many factors including genetics, age, breed, and activity level. This tool is meant to be used only as a guideline for healthy individuals and does not substitute veterinary advice 

How to Keep Your Cat Safe After the Spay Procedure

spayed cat wearing cone
Photo Credit: Elwynn, Shutterstock

Contact your veterinarian right away if your cat has any of the following symptoms in the first few days after surgery:

  • Refusal to eat for more than 12 hours following surgery
  • High or low rate of breathing
  • Swollen stomach
  • Weakness or lethargy
  • Pale gums
  • Episodes of vomiting and diarrhea
  • Struggling to urinate and producing no urine
  • No urination for 12 to 24 hours following surgery
Follow post-operative instructions provided by your veterinarian, including:
  • Ensuring rest, such as seclusion in a cage or small space to prevent jumping, running, and stair climbing
  • Checking the incision site daily
  • Keeping your cat’s E-collar on to prevent it from licking the wound

Although your cat most likely won’t enjoy wearing a cone, most veterinarians believe it is necessary to wear one until the check-up examination. The first 12 to 24 hours after your cat has been spayed are crucial for monitoring postoperatively and for regular urination, so you should not leave your cat alone at this time. You can then leave your cat in a small space with its E-collar on as long as it seems at ease and is urinating.

hepper single cat paw divider

Final Thoughts

Your cat may gain extra weight after a spaying procedure but they don’t have to. You can help them stay healthy and keep the weight off with proper nutrition and exercise. It is important to investigate alternative reasons your feline may be gaining weight if it experiences troubling symptoms. Help your cat stay safe and heal comfortably by following your vet’s post-operative instructions and keeping a close eye on potential complications.

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Featured Image Credit: De Visu, Shutterstock

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