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How to Help Your Cat Recover from Spaying or Neutering: 5 Important Healing Tips

Rachael Gerkensmeyer

By Rachael Gerkensmeyer

a tabby cat in a medical blanket after neutering surgery

As cat parents, we want to do all that we can to keep your cats safe, happy, and healthy throughout their entire lives. Having our cats spayed or neutered is one way to do just that. There are lots of benefits to be had by spaying and neutering pet cats including the reduced risk of developing cancers and healthier lives overall.

There is a recovery time after spaying or neutering surgery that cats must endure, but luckily there are some things that you can do to help your beloved recover after they have surgery. Here are 5 tips you can utilize to make the recovery process a less stressful and more comfortable experience for your kitty cat:

Top 5 Tips to Help Your Cat Recover from Spaying or Neutering

1. Understand the Recovery Timeline

orange cat with veterinary cone
Image Credit: Sophie McAulay, Shutterstock

It can take anywhere from 5 to 14 days for your cat to recover after spaying or neutering surgery takes place, depending on many things including their age, their health status, and whether there were complications during surgery. Your veterinarian should be able to provide you with an accurate timeline to rely on before taking your cat home to recover.

Understanding the recovery timeline is important because it will help set your expectations as to how long your kitty will require special care. Setting the right expectations will help ensure that you do not prematurely let your cat go back to their regular activity. The more activity your cat does while recovering, the bigger chance there will be of problems arising.

2. Create a Safe, Contained Recovery Space

cat wearing a colorful cone collar
Image Credit: Chomphuphucar, Shutterstock

The less your cat moves around, the lower chance there will be of their incision opening and causing serious infections. Therefore, it is a good idea to create a safe, contained space for your cat to recover in for the first few days. This space can be a kennel, a large closet, a bathroom, or a small bedroom depending on what is available to you.

Set the space up with a cozy bed, an extra blanket, and maybe a soft toy to chew on or cuddle with. Keep the lights down low and make sure that there isn’t too much noise being made in or near the space. Kids should play elsewhere, and televisions and radios should be played on low volume if at all. The idea is to keep your cat calm so that they rest and do not become too stimulated by their surroundings.

3. Check the Incision Site Regularly

Spay stitches
Image Credit: Cattlaya Art, Shutterstock

It is extremely important that your cat’s incision site is kept clean and dry, and that it does not open at all. Your cat should not even be licking the incision site much. Therefore, you should avoid bathing and keep your cat from spending time in moist areas. You should check the incision site several times a day to make sure that it is not pulling apart and that the stitches are completely intact. If the incision site looks red, swollen, or seems to be tearing apart, you should contact your veterinarian immediately as your cat may require emergency care.

4. Consider Utilizing a Cone Collar

spayed cat wearing cone
Image Credit: Elwynn, Shutterstock

If you have trouble keeping your cat from licking their incision site, consider getting a cone collar from your veterinarian to put on them. The cone collar will keep your cat from being able to reach the incision site with their mouth but will not impede their ability to eat and drink. The cone collar might not be necessary while your cat is in their safe, contained area, but they may require it whenever they leave their space to get food or to stretch out a little.

5. Check-in With Your Veterinarian

cat at vet with owner and veternarian
Image By: 4 PM production, Shutterstock

You should check in with your veterinarian every couple of days while your cat recovers to provide updates about their progress and to get feedback about your efforts and things you can adjust if your efforts are not working as well as you wish they would. Based on your updates, your vet can let you know when it is safe for your cat to start resuming their regular activities again.

Spaying and neutering is an important part of pet care, but it's not the only health expense your pet is likely to incur. A personalized pet insurance plan from a company like Lemonade can help you manage costs and care for your pet at the same time.


It is important to provide all the support we can to our cats while they recover from spaying or neutering surgery. While things should go smoothly, there is always a chance that some problems could arise. Working closely with your veterinarian will help ensure that even the bumps in the road can be navigated without serious risk to your cat.

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