What to expect when you spay your cat…

This guide for you was inspired by all the wise and well-meaning guidance I received before Medea was spayed. I hope this guide ends any unease you may have about the procedure and its effects on your pet.

  • Your cat will undergo general anesthesia. After the surgery she may be tired and lethargic.

What really happens: Or she may go completely psycho. She will probably be so freaked out about feeling drugged and being unable to walk straight that she will stagger about the apartment for hours and look at you like you’ve completely betrayed her. She will probably be so freaked out about being unable to eat without drooling that she will latch onto your arm when you try to help her and bite and scratch the shit out of you. She will probably be so scared that your every movement is another effort to take her away and remove more organs that she will dart from corner to corner and attempt to climb the walls. And the refrigerator door.

  • To prevent your cat from licking her incisions, fasten an e-collar around her neck where her collar sits. 

What really happens: You tie it onto her neck with some gauze because it’s soft and friendly. She immediately sprints off, does barrel rolls into the laundry closet door and starts kicking the cone of shame with her back legs. She bites and scratches you when you try to untie it, so you and your significant other have to tag team it to restrain her and untie the thing.

  • Your cat will want your companionship while she recovers.

What really happens: She will attempt to climb up your back when you sit down to pet her while she lays on the floor. When you remove her, she will run off and find something else to destroy. Like the comfy bed you got her. She will slowly chew and tear pieces of it apart. She will attempt to eat the stuffing after she has gutted it. She will do this while refusing to acknowledge you when you try to distract her.

  • It is normal for her to want to sleep a lot when you bring her home after the surgery.

What really happens: She will act invincible. She will attempt to jump on the kitchen counter. When you hiss at her, she will stare at you like you’ve lost your mind. She will attempt to jump on the kitchen counter on your other side. You will remove all of her toys from the living room. She will squeeze under the couch and find the one jingly ball you lost weeks ago and bat it around under your feet.

  • Only give your cat small amounts of food or water after the surgery as she may feel sick from anesthesia.

What really happens: You put out a shallow bowl of water. She sticks her nose in it and sneezes. Then she bats the bowl around looking for bits of food she spilled when she woke you up at 5AM to feed her before her surgery. She finds the bits of food, spills water on them and smashes them in the carpet.

  • Check your cat’s incisions a few times a day after surgery. A small amount of bleeding after surgery is normal.

What really happens: You will stare at your cat while she licks all of the iodine off her belly. You will freak out because her incisions look swollen. You will then consult the internet for pictures of normal healing incisions. You will almost make yourself sick. Then you will run off and get tapioca tea 30 minutes before the shop closes just so you have something else to think about for a while.

  • Don’t give your cat over the counter pain medication. Tylenol and aspirin are toxic to animals.

What really happens: Pain is clearly not an issue. Getting her to calm the fuck down four hours after coming home is the problem. You resort to further drugging your cat. Children’s Benadryl liquid, generic Benadryl and pill pockets. She refuses the pill pocket, even after it is disguised in her regular food. You pour a few drops of liquid Benadryl in a cup and smear it on her lips and nose. An hour later, she still isn’t calm.

  • Lastly, provide your cat with a quiet, comfortable place to heal after surgery.

What really happens: No problem. By the end of the day, you are crying in your bathroom pleading with your significant other to bring back your sweet kitty who didn’t act like the spawn of satan. Chewing on guitar strings. Intent on sniffing a hot soldering tool. Trying to bite your friend’s butt while he calculates his turn in chess.

I think this covers the most important points. I hope you know what to expect now.

By the way, thank you for being a caring and responsible pet human.

I’m so glad I scheduled the surgery for Saturday. She slept all day today. I binged on the entire 8th season of Doctor Who. And cleaned the apartment. Ah, lofty Sunday goals.


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