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Post-Neutering Mayhem


Note [added 29 July 2011 & updated 03 Jan 2013] – PLEASE READ – This particular post is still getting regular (daily) views. Ordinarily I’d be pleased about this, but a lot of the readers appear to be people looking for help and advice regarding post neuter/spay health problems.

It’s heartbreaking to read some of the search terms people have used when stumbling across this page (‘cat pulling on stitches neuter’, ‘cat will not eat after spay’, ‘heavy breathing, gagging after neutering while sleep’ and some even more distressing ones that I don’t want to write here). I’m sorry that there are no real answers for you here. This is just the story of my experience, and the problems I had, with my own cats’ post neuter care.

Anyway, I hope my blog and photos made you smile a little during your search. I feel sad that people are finding my blog when what they are really looking for is serious advice. As all of my blog friends said to me in the comments below, the best thing to do is go back ASAP and speak to a vet you trust, though I know that it’s not always immediately possible (for example, 24hr and weekend emergency vets don’t seem to exist here).

Lastly, I’m glad to say that my cats are both completely fine now.  I hope you all manage to get your furry friends patched up and repaired too.

We wish you all good health, happiness and speedy recoveries.

Eleanor, Spock & Zé

Well, what a weekend!

Part 1 – Friday

The boys went to the local vet on Friday to be neutered. We had to drop them off at 9am and collect them again just before close of business. Marcelo had to work so I went on my own to pick them up. I ‘spoke’ to the vet (I say ‘spoke’ as my Portuguese is still horrendous, but I really tried to understand what she was saying) and she gave me some prescriptions for post-op medicines. This was a little strange to me. I didn’t have to give anything to my other cats (as I remember). The vet had just given them a long lasting antibiotic shot and that was it.

Still, I left feeling ok. Spock was starting to mew in his carrier and Zé looked like he was trying to wake up too. So clutching my papers and cat boxes I headed for the taxi.

When I got home and let them out of the boxes I had somewhat of a surprise. This is what fell out of the carriers!

Spock cat in nappy…what in the world! Cats in nappies?!

Adorable? Yes
Cute? Yes
Happy kitties? No

I called my husband straight away and asked him to call the vet to get all the info that I had obviously misunderstood. I wanted to check that it was ok to take the nappies off now that they were both waking. Marcelo called me back a few minutes later to say he had spoken to the vet and that I should leave them on and that he’d explain everything when he got out of his meeting. Yes, I’d called him in a meeting, but I was frantic. I had 2 wobbling, tottering, half-stoned cats in nappies and I had no idea what I was supposed to do with them.

I should say at this point that I have been cat-mum to three other cats in my adult life. All of them male, all of them neutered, all of them cared for post-op by me. I’m not a stranger to woozy, ball-less cats but this was different.

Ze cat in nappy diaper5 minutes after that call Spock escaped from his nappy. I managed to fight it back on. He was still very sleepy so it wasn’t too hard (that time!). Then, while I was finishing that, I heard the noise that all cat owners know and dread. The unmistakable sound of a cat gearing to up-chuck…yes, it was Zé…and yes, it was spectacular. Sometimes they manage to get some real distance if the trajectory is right. This is actually the very first cat puke that I’ve seen from either of these two. We didn’t have any of the usual kitten puke problems. Just an on-and-off gyppy tummy with Spock, but a spoon of plain natural yoghurt once a day sorted that out.

When my husband came home with the medicines he also had a pack of Baby Pampers (size M) and said that the vet told him to keep these on the cats for a few days to stop them licking the area and/or pulling at the stitches. You can imagine how pleased the cats are about this arrangement! It is a complete nightmare. Zé peed and pooped in his once (I wasn’t fast enough chasing him to the litter tray to remove it for him that time) but other than that they have used the tray like normal and we’ve put the nappies back on after they’ve done their business. I have to watch them all the time. When they escape and start to lick I have to be quick to get them back on again.

Spock keeps charging around like he is being chased. I think that having something on him all the time is making him edgy. Zé is a little more zen (as usual). He seems a bit confused but he’s waddling around at a more normal pace.

cats sleeping in nappies diapers

Part 2 – Saturday and this morning.

Yesterday Marcelo called the vet again to double check everything. The situation as it was just seemed crazy. I’ve never had to do any of this stuff post-neuter for any of my other cats and his cat-owning friends online were all equally bemused when he sent out a ‘please help’ message on Friday night. They all said the same as me. Cat comes home from vet with dissolvable stitches or skin glue. After a few days they are as good as new. No stress at all.

Well, the vet said that for as long as they are licking or picking at the area they need to keep the nappies on – at least 5 days, she said. The stitches are not dissolvable, they will have to go back on Saturday to have them removed. What a palava!

Spock is happy to eat his food when mixed with the antibiotics and B-complex, so he is not such a problem (just the nappy situation), but Zé hates both medicines and won’t touch the food if I doctor it. So all we can do is try to syringe the stuff into his mouth. He is already very traumatized. He gags and spits it up, loses most of it and is now scared when I try to get near him. 😦

This stuff seems to be making him sick and he had diarrhea this morning (he never has this usually), so we’ll see how today goes and then maybe we’ll be calling the vet again tomorrow. If we could get this stuff in pill form it might be a little better. It wont’ stop the puking, I imagine, but administering the stuff would be less traumatic for us all.

I delayed writing this as I have been so stressed that I could not bring myself to write in down. I emailed my mother last night to tell her a brief version and that has sort of opened the flood gates. So now I’ve written this ridiculously long post about it.

I will update here if the situation changes. And if anyone has experienced this or if you have any advise at all please do not hesitate to leave a comment or suggestion for me. I’m at the end of my tether already and Saturday is a very long way away!

Edit: Monday 6th June – about midday: We’ve spoken to the vet again. Please scroll down to my reply to LifeWith4Cats for an update.

34 Comments leave one →
  1. 05/06/2011 1:44 pm

    For Pete’s sake! Your vet is insane…sorry, I had to say it…

    Pick up a couple of e (elizabethan)collars for your boys and get them out of the nappies. They’ll be much happier that way.

    • 05/06/2011 2:09 pm

      Hello, thank you! I’d been wondering about those. I’ve never had a cat that needed one so I wasn’t sure if they would actually be MORE traumatizing than the current arrangement. Thank you so much for the advice, I’ll see what I can get hold of tomorrow when the shops are open again.

  2. 05/06/2011 3:01 pm

    Good LORD dear Eleanor! Palaver indeed! I can’t think of a single thing helpful to say, because Bugs went through NONE of this hoo-hah! You don’t need to hear that! I’m hoping that like Katnip Lounge, our other knowledgeable friends will have more constructive help for you. Meantime, I’m just wringing my paws on the sidelines! May you return to “normal” soon!

    • 05/06/2011 5:30 pm

      Hi Anita. Thank you. It’s been a big shock to me as none of my other boys ever went through this. If I’d known in advance then I might have felt more prepared, but I didn’t realise how different it was going to be until I got them home. Of course by then it was too late. All we can do is plod on and follow the vet’s instructions as best we can. I do think those cone collars would be good if I can find somewhere that sells them. If not we will perservere with the nappies, but it’s going to be a miserable week. I’ve read some hints about getting liquid meds into cats too, so maybe one of these other tecniques will work better for Zé. Thank you for your message – I appreciate it – I think I needed to share 🙂

    • 05/06/2011 11:04 pm

      I agree. I have had a few male cats get neutered and never had either a collar or nappies. If they start tearing at it, then maybe the collar is warranted but I have never heard of the nappy solution for this issue.

      On the dispensing medicine, with two of you it shouldnt be that bad, if you press on the cheeks the mouth pops open and you can hold it that way. Wrapping the cat up in a towel like a burrito helps if the hands get in the way. It can be more of a challenge alone, because you have to have three hands to hold the cat, the mouth open and stuff the pill/liquid in all at once. If you are worried about lasting trauma, try giving a treat before and/or after the medicine. It helps to turn you back into Mr/Miss Good Guy instead of Mr/Miss Icky Medicine.

  3. 06/06/2011 9:48 am

    Hi Oldcat. Thank you for the message. Both cats are being very obsessive with their wounds. Spock licks and licks and licks at his and Zé actually tries to pull his stitches out. As soon as they have access they don’t stop. Spock escaped from his nappy last night and I think he’s managed to remove some of his stitches, so it looks like collars are needed in their case.

    There are two of us trying to give the medicine. Zé is so strong that he manages to twist away from us no matter how we try to restrain him. One time we did manage to get the medicine in. He gagged and lost half of it there and then…then an hour later vomited up the rest (I am much better at giving pills!). My husband is trying to call the vet about alternatives but she’s not arrived at work yet.

    I had big cuddles with both beasts last night so they don’t completely hate me. They’re just scared of me when I approach them (not surprisingly!).

  4. lifewith4cats permalink
    06/06/2011 11:33 am

    This post is breaking my heart! Your two kitties are the best! They dont deserve this kind of horrible experience. That vet is BAD. Can you check his credentials? I would get a new vet right away even before the stitches are out.

    How is it they chose to use non disolving stitches…ridiculous, they better not charge you for the return visit.

    On the other hand, Ze looks so, so cute with that nappie. Its heart meltingly cute. With a little slit for the tail.

    • 06/06/2011 12:16 pm

      My husband just this minute called to say that he has spoken to the vet. She said that we can try leaving the nappies off so long as the wounds don’t get inflamed from their attentions. She also said leave Zé off the meds until Wednesday, then try to get a bit into him. If it’s healing ok so far without meds then he’s probably alright on his own for now.

      She seems to be very well respected. We’ve been told by more than one person that she is one of the best here – maybe she has some reason for using this type of stitch? I’ll try to find out when we go back. She won’t charge for the return visit. But I am as bemused as you as to why she didn’t use dissolvable stitches. If Zé plucks at his too much we might need to do the collar thing (we checked – the pet shop has them in stock), but I think Spock might have already pulled his out last night. When Marcelo gets home I’ll ask him to help me have a proper look. Spock’s not too trusting of me at the moment when I try to flip him over.

      I know, they do look adorable. Those tail holes kill me too 🙂 But the worst bit about fitting the nappies is the part where we have to thread the tail through – they hate it. All this has made me even more opposed to those people who dress cats up for fun.

  5. lifewith4cats permalink
    06/06/2011 1:07 pm

    I hear you there. Kindred minds we are.

  6. Barbara permalink
    07/06/2011 6:46 am

    I just read about Zé and Spock being Cat of the Day and am so sorry the boys have to go through this ordeal. Orion here says he jumped on the cat tree just after he came home.
    I know I would take these nappies off and take it from there. All the best to the boys.

    • 07/06/2011 9:01 am

      Hi Barbara. Yes, the nappies are off now. I thought it was crazy too. My other cats were all back to normal withing hours of having the op. I am not sure why this vet’s recovery proceedure is so different, but the boys both seem fine today and are now running around like the crazy beasts they are. Even the Zen Zé is playing, which is unusual for him. Thank you for visiting.

  7. Alicat permalink
    07/06/2011 11:07 am

    Just visited your blog today from Cat of the Day, and I am hooked 🙂 So be warned, I shall be back 🙂

    My advise would be – get another vet! I have had many, many cats since I was a child, and never have I heard such archaic treatment for a cat! Someone has already suggested an Elizabethan Collar, and truly, that is the way to go if they are picking their wounds. I volunteer at our local RSPCA cat shelter, and that’s all we use there post operatively. We have a LOT of cats that are neutered as it is our policy not to rehome them unless they are done, so I’ve seen a lot of post operative kitties.

    With all the problems you had with the medicine, I would say your vet is inadequate and you really need to look around for a better one. I can’t believe they left you with all that stress, and such unhappy kitties!

    I’m glad they’re better today though. Bless their little hearts


    • 07/06/2011 12:06 pm

      Hi Alison. Thank you. Yes, it seems very archaic. I’ve had enough male cats neutered in the past to know that this is not normal. All of them were fine ‘naked’ and none of them ever even needed one of those collars. I made the mistake of not asking this vet about the procedure – I had assumed that it would be no different from what I’d seen in the past – it’s a mistake I shall definitely learn from!

      Thank you for your comment and advise. I’d love to see you again, so please do come back! 🙂

  8. 07/06/2011 12:24 pm

    That’s bizarre, adorable photos though – they look like very sweet boys.

    • 07/06/2011 12:40 pm

      They are both very sweet and very good natured. Thankfully, they seem to be back to their old selves now.

  9. Daisy permalink
    07/06/2011 1:53 pm

    I’d also just heard of your blog from Cat of the Day and will be a frequent visitor! Wish you luck with your boys–may they forget the trauma of the post-op! Good luck on your Portuguese as well; I have a Brazilian friend (mom of my daughter’s classmate) and she’s a riot!

    • 07/06/2011 2:34 pm

      They’ve really bounced back – I’m so relieved. Within an hour of taking their nappies off they were charging around the place again, playing 1-on-1 football and generally being energetic and cat-like. It was so good to see.
      I’m hoping to find some Portuguese lessons. There were lots of people teaching in Rio, but this city is not very touristy so it’s harder to find a tutor. I’ve met so many nice people here and I’d love to be able to chat to them all.

  10. 07/06/2011 3:44 pm

    Ohhh Eleanor I have never seen furry bums encased in such nappies, it’s sooo funny especially the rear view shot! Seriously though you must be having a total nightmare, my cats are female but yes their stitches were dissolvable and no there were no cones or nappies!
    I don’t think I had to give them any medicine either.
    You must be at your wits end especially if they are doing their business in them which means a furry clean up! Not good!

    • 07/06/2011 4:06 pm

      There were only a couple of times that I didn’t get the nappies off quickly enough. They make so much noise digging around in the litter that I had fair warning to run in there and remove the obstruction for them. I’m not squeemish about cat poop or pee, but I’m glad I caught them in time. It’s much nicer for them to do it in the box. When I didn’t get there quick enough Zé looked so confused when he turned around to cover what he’d done and found there was nothing there! Hahaha

  11. Lolly permalink
    07/06/2011 4:15 pm

    I agree, you should find another vet. I’ve had several male cats neutered & they never had “stitches that had to be removed”. My vets also gives a vitamin K shot to the cat before neutering. (Vitamin K prevents excessive bleeding).—-When giving a pill to a cat or dog,try “wrapping” a small bit of cheese around the pill & they will gobble it right down. I use sliced processed cheese (The kind that each slice is individually wrapped). I hope your “Boys” will be feeling better soon.

    • 07/06/2011 4:23 pm

      Pills, if only! I can do pills. I had a cat who’d had some kind of cat flu as a kitten and as a result his breathing was always laboured. I had to give him pills everyday to help him breath normally. My problem is with giving liquid meds. Spock will eat anything so I can just squirt it on his food but Zé is not that easily fooled. I’ve been given lots of tips these last 2 days though, so we will try again.

  12. Hilda permalink
    07/06/2011 4:19 pm

    Hi Eleanor! Greetings from Chicago!

    I also got to your site from the Cat of the Day…..what truly beautiful “boys’ you have! I am very pleased to see that the boys are doing fine now and off the diapers (I stil can’t believe they sent the boys home with those on!) I look foward to reading your posts and I truly enjoyed their movies.

    I also agree with the other posts, try another vet. I’ve gone through a few myself and if there’s one thing I’ve learned is to RUN when something isn’t right. Remember, you are their voice.

    • 07/06/2011 4:36 pm

      You are so right. That is why I felt so bad over the weekend. I felt that I had really let them down by not checking before-hand what this vet’s proceedure and post-op care involved. I hard lesson learned!

  13. Sigrid permalink
    07/06/2011 4:23 pm

    Hi Eleanor,
    being besotted with mogs my first click in the morning goes to CatoftheDay.
    The story of your two beaus is truly unique.

    So happy to read that both of them got over this weird thing with nappies.
    Our own beloved mog went to moggie heaven almost 30 ago but I still remember his operation and that was 40! years ago .
    Even then stitches did not have to be removed and apart from a very deep growl on the evening our Tommie never seemed to worry about the operation.

    Well, me too, shall be visiting you regularly. Another fan (from Germany).

    Love to you all !

    • 08/06/2011 11:02 am

      Hi, thank you for visiting us and for your lovely comment. It’s nice to know we’re going global!

  14. Laurie Keithan permalink
    07/06/2011 6:20 pm

    Hello Eleanor, Greetings from Connecticut, USA. I just found you blog on Cat of the Day, which is my homepage. This is my first time blogging. I usually don’t get into the fray but I couldn’t help myself. Your kitties are so cute 🙂 I love the looks on their faces in the Cat of the Day photo.
    I’ve owned many male cats that needed to be neutered and never had a vet put in stitches which needed to be removed. They’ve also never needed diapers. Diapers seem like a horrible idea. If they poop or pee in them, the wounds will be covered in it! I I agree with the other bloggers who’ve advised you to seek other care for your adorable boys.

    • 08/06/2011 11:06 am

      Hello, thank you for your comment. Those photos I sent to COTD are some of my favoritves. I love it when they curl up together. They don’t do it a lot as they both have their preferred sleeping spots, but when they do they look so happy and snuggly.

  15. 07/06/2011 7:35 pm

    wow, sounds like quite an ordeal. glad to hear it’s getting better. in December when i picked up my 5-month-old cat from being spayed, they told me not to let her run around too much for a few days. HA! how was I supposed to do THAT? she was climbing the cat tree to eat her food before i could grab her, and jumping down. I was mortified. but you know what, she was fine. Good luck with yours : )

    • 08/06/2011 11:16 am

      I was in such a panic, feeling like I was really failing in not giving them the after-care that the vet advised. But I think her precautions were a complete over reaction. If they needed to be kept from the area, why not prescribe wearing an e-collar? Anyway, they are both fine now, so I don’t think we’ll need to do the collar thing. Thank you for your comment. I’m sure they’ll be ok, and at least they are happy again.

  16. 07/06/2011 10:19 pm

    Wow! I’ve had 4 male cats neutered and they had dissolving stitches — no napies required. They also recovered very quickly so I hope your two adorable lads do as well. All the best. 🙂

    • 08/06/2011 11:35 am

      Thank you, they are (well, we all are) doing much better now.

  17. Jo Pfeffer permalink
    08/06/2011 1:22 am

    Greetings from St. Louis, MO! This is the MOST RIDICULOUS neutering story I’ve every heard! I’m glad to hear that your boys are back to being themselves again. And I’m with everyone else here — get a different vet!!! Don’t care how well recommended this vet was, she’s archaic in her methods; nobody puts neuter cases in diapers. I’ve worked for a vet for years, and also worked in Animal Emergency clinics; we never, ever did any such thing to a male cat. It was either dissolvable sutures or we glued the incision closed. No problems for the kitties that way.

    Along with many others, I’ll be back to visit; your site is delightful! 🙂 I have lots of kitties here too, but this is a geriatric ward here. *grin* Abby is 21 now, and I have all of her “kittens”; couldn’t find homes for them back then, and they are all 19 years old now.

    Good Luck with the healing process and the pills. I’m sure the boys will bounce back to their cute selves in no time at all. 🙂

    • 08/06/2011 11:50 am

      Hi Jo, thank you so much for your comment. They are already much better. It’s been great to hear from so many other people on this subject. At first I had wondered if I was over reacting to the situation, but I haven’t had a single other person saying they’ve had to do this, so it must be a truly unique and weird way of neutering. I’m thankful for everyone’s comments. It’s proved to me that it wasn’t a case of me just being overprotective of them.

      Your geriatric ward sounds adorable. My parents joke about their house being a retirement home – they’ve got two old boys there, one is 14 and one is 16, I think.


  1. Spock & Zé Speak Out « A Life Bewhiskered

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