Smooth Sailing Surgeries for your Cat If your cat needs surgery, for whatever reason, there are multiple steps you can take to help your cat with this process. There are three main classifications of surgeries. First, elective surgeries are those that you choose to have done, but that do not have to be done. Spaying and neutering fall into this category. The second kind of surgery is called nonelective, and these are surgeries which have to be done for your cat’s survival, but which you schedule. Lastly, there are emergency surgeries, that are done quickly and as your pet needs them, such as if your cat is hit by a car. If your cat is having elective or not elective surgery, there are ways to prepare for this, and if your cat is recovering from any type of surgery, you can do certain things in your home to make this easier. First and foremost, when your cat is going to have surgery, it is usually best for this to happen when your cat has an empty stomach, unless your vet indicates otherwise. The most common response to the anesthetics used is vomiting, so your cat will have fewer problems if his or her stomach has no food in it. If you deny your pet food for about 12 hours before the surgery, most of the food in the stomach will be gone. In most cases, your cat having access to water is fine. If you have other pets in the house, you may need to confine your cat to one room so that he or she doesn’t eat from other dishes, or you may need to withhold food from all of your pets. When your kitty goes into surgery, remember that any number of things may go wrong. You’ll be responsible for the vet bill, even if it is higher than the estimate. After the surgery, it may take a day or even longer for your cat to be awake and functioning. You may also be looking at a few days—sometimes more—in the vet hospital for recovery. You should visit during the hours allowed, and volunteer to help feed or care for your cat. This will let your cat know that you have not abandoned him or her. When you bring your cat home, follow all instructions completely. Your cat may need multiple medications daily or a special diet. Your cat may also not be allowed outside for a certain amount of time. For cats with any kind of incision, assume this to be at least a week or two, which may be difficult if your cat is used to going outside often. If your cat’s fur had to be clipped or shaved, keep in mind that he or she is probably colder than normal, so it may be a good idea to provide extra blankets warmed in the dryer or a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel. Remember, your other cats will need attention too. By making sure that your house is safe and loving, you can keep all of your cats happy after surgery.