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After Spaying/Before Setting Free

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Hi! A friend of mine has two stray cats that roam around her neighborhood (and her back yard). The lady next door feeds them, when she is in town. Other than that, they don't really belong to anyone. I told my friend that if she would set a trap, I'd pick up the cats and take them to the vet to get fixed.

My question is this: After they are spayed/neutered, I know I must keep him/her in the trap for 1 day. But how do I care for him/her while he's/she's in there? Where would he/she use the restroom? How would I give him/her water? I don't know how friendly the cats are? I doubt they will want to eat very much after surgery...

Can anyone help? The last time I did this, I trapped the cat and took her to a friend who's part of The Cat Network. She took the cat to be spayed and took care of her for two days (the cat was pregnant). She then brought her back to my neighborhood and released her back to her "home."

So this time, I have to do all that. And I really want to help these cats! Any advice would be so very welcome. Thanks!!
post #2 of 4
Is there any possibility that after the cat is fixed he/she can recover in a kennel or small cage? If you don't have one, maybe the vet or someone with the cat network can loan you one. What I've done with feral cats in the past is released them from the trap or cat carrier into the kennel, which has space for a small litter box, food, water and a towel for them to lie on. I just hold them in there until they've recovered, then release them from the kennel. Sometimes, depending on the cat, it's a bit of challenge to keep the kennel clean, but I wear gloves and heavy jacket with long sleeves when I reach in to change their water or clean the litterbox in case they swat. I've never had problem with them, though.

Good luck. It's a wonderful thing you're doing for the kitties.
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the suggestions. I hope my friend helps me catch those kitties!!! I'll ask the vet if he can provide a crate or something larger to keep the cats in for a day before I let them loose.

post #4 of 4
At the spay/neuter clinics I work as a volunteer in the post-op recovery area, and on occasion I'll take cats home for complete recovery before release.

Any number of factors can complicate and prolong a cat's recovery, from injuries which need to be treated to upper respiratory infections and worms--none of which are unusual, especially with strays and ferals.

Assuming a cat is otherwise healthy, my protocol is as follows: the cat is placed in a carrier with both a front and side opening (Tomahawk sells them, and they're good) while it's still groggy from the anesthesia. The carrier is then placed in a large dog crate and the side flap is opened. A bowl of water is placed in the crate; no food for at least 12 hours after surgery. Even tame housecats should be crated overnight after surgery to protect them while the anesthesia wears off. A small bowl of food can be added later.

The crate is lined with newspaper as there's no room for a litterbox. This is not a problem as the cat probably won't eliminate until after it has been fed, and clean-up is relatively easy--the bottom of most dog crates can slide out.

The carrier is used as a "hidey-hole" by the cat, and additional privacy can be obtained by covering the crate with a sheet. As feral cats especially will retreat to the carrier when disturbed, this facilitates the safe release of the cat--simply close the side flap and remove the carrier with the cat in it.

My general rule is that healthy neutered males can be released after 24 hours of recovery; 48-72 for healthy females as their surgery is move invasive (at our clinics, spayed females get a prophylactic injection of antibiotics along with their immunizations). The exceptions arise from inclement weather and, in the case of females, the potential survival of an undiscovered litter of young kittens unable to survive without their mother.

While the cat recovers you have an opportunity to observe its demeanor and determine whether it's a friendly stray or a feral--something you won't be able to do while it's in a trap and frightened....
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