Does your cat need to have a surgical procedure? If so, you may wonder what to expect during the recovery phase. It's never easy seeing your furball in discomfort following surgery, but knowing how best to take care of them is vital. Additionally, you need to be aware of common cat behavior after surgery as they may not act like themselves for a while. Below, we discuss the behavior changes cat parents can expect as their kitty recovers from surgery.

Cat behavior after surgery can vary widely from your pet’s usual personality. This is normal. Learn more about what pet parents can expect.

Surgery recovery: What cat parents can expect

Seeing your cat undergo surgery is stressful enough without worrying about how they'll recover. Regardless of whether your cat is getting a spaying procedure or managing an illness, it'll take time for your cat to feel like itself. Any surgery that requires anesthesia will undoubtedly put a hamper on their everyday activities.

As a result, pet parents should expect their cat to feel sleepy, dizzy, and potentially grumpy when recovering. This is all normal. Your veterinarian will tell you what to expect regarding cat behavior after surgery—especially as your cat comes round from the anesthetic. For example, many cats may feel nauseous and not interested in eating food.

The minute you bring your cat home following a surgical procedure, your first goal is to make them comfortable. Provide them with a recovery room; fill it with comfortable bedding, water, and food. While your cat is recovering, they should be separated from other pets and shouldn't have any distractions around them (e.g., scratching posts).

Typical cat behavior after surgery

As mentioned, it's normal for your cat's energy levels to be less after surgery. If they usually love to eat and are suddenly disgusted by the sight of food, this is also normal. Cat behavior after surgery can include some temporary personality changes too. It's these behaviors that worry pet parents the most. However, in most cases, your kitty will return to its lovable self in no time.

One typical cat behavior some kitties exhibit after surgery is hyper aggression, mainly if they live in a home with other cats. This may result in reactions such as hissing, growling, swatting, and scratching. Your cat's behavior is usually caused by feeling disorientated after the anesthetic and being extra sensitive and vulnerable. It may also be a sign they're in pain.

Your cat may also be more stressed and anxious than usual. When this happens, they can engage in constant meowing. Some vets believe the smell of antiseptic can make your cat feel distressed. Combine this with their pain, and it's no wonder they aren't acting like themselves.

Other common cat behaviors after surgery pet parents must be aware of are excessive licking and depression. If your cat has an incision site, they may try to lick it if it's causing pain or discomfort. This behavior can be discouraged by putting a cone around their neck. Additionally, if your cat is listless and depressed, this could be a sign of surgical wound infection.

Best tips for helping your cat recover at home

Changes in cat behavior after surgery aren't unusual. As your cat recovers, you'll slowly see them become their bubbly, bright selves again. The way for this to happen is to give them an excellent recovery experience at home. Make sure to follow the treatment plan provided by the vet. Depending on the type of surgery your cat had, this could be antibiotics or pain medication.

Keep your home environment calm and free from any stress. If your cat becomes too overstimulated, this could set back its recovery process. Instead, have plenty of cozy beds they can relax in and give them plenty of loving cuddles. After about two weeks, they should be able to engage in less restricted movements, such as playing. However, talk with your vet if you're unsure which activities will be too much.

Cat wellness insurance: Taking care of your pet when they need it most

Bringing your pet in for a surgical procedure can be challenging for pet parents. Not only are you worried about your cat's health, but the cost of surgery may weigh on your mind too. With Wagmo's wellness pet insurance, this isn't the case. Our cat insurance with wellness plans supports you financially from diagnosis to surgery and aftercare.

When you sign up for one of our three deductible options, we'll provide 100% co-insurance once you reach your deductible. So if you have to take Mrs. Whiskers in for surgery, we'll help you focus on what matters—your pet's recovery.
Want to learn more about cat wellness insurance? Check out Wagmo's Pet Insurance and Pet Wellness plans. Ready to sign up? Take our pet insurance quiz.