My Cat Needs Surgery. What Can I Expect?

We know that surgery day can cause concern about your feline family member’s well-being. Having a better understanding of what will happen when your kitty comes in for surgery can help ease the anxiety.

The information below will help explain what you and your kitty can expect when a surgical procedure is needed. After you're done reading, we encourage you to ask us questions about what will be done (and why) before, during, and after surgery.

Pre-Anesthetic Examination

Before your kitty has surgery, it’s very important that he or she have an exam to help determine if it’s safe to be anesthetized.

Your kitty’s veterinarian will perform a full physical exam, from nose to tail.

During the exam, a blood sample will be drawn. The blood sample, when analyzed, will evaluate organ function and help determine if anesthesia is a safe option for your cat.

Once it’s been determined that your kitty is a candidate for undergoing anesthesia, we will schedule a surgery date and time.

The Night Before Surgery

It’s very important that you do not give your cat any food after midnight the night before surgery. Water is fine, but no food please! We do this to help guard against aspiration problems while your kitty is under anesthesia.

In some cases your veterinarian may recommend that your cat receive subcutaneous (under the skin) fluids the night before surgery.

Your technician will let you know if this is recommended for your kitty, and will schedule your appointment.

Surgery Day

On the day of surgery, you will drop off your kitty between 8:00 and 9:00 a.m. We will ask you to review and sign the surgical medical plan, sign an anesthesia release form, and leave a deposit of 50% of the cost of the procedure.

Before surgery gets underway, your cat will be examined by your veterinarian, who will listen to the lungs and heart to check for any new findings that would indicate surgery may not be safe.

Based upon your cat’s earlier pre-anesthetic examination and blood work, your veterinarian and technician will have completed an anesthetic assessment plan.

This plan takes into account the amount and type of pre-anesthetic and anesthesia drugs needed, along with any secondary illnesses or diseases also being treating.

After your kitty’s examination, a pre-anesthetic medication will be given to help your kitty feel more relaxed and comfortable and to help with pain control.

After the pre-anesthetic medication has had adequate time to take effect, the surgical technician will place an intravenous (IV) catheter.

We use the IV catheter to help rapidly induce anesthesia so your kitty does not experience an excitement or anxiety phase as the anesthesia is taking effect.

The IV catheter also gives us immediate access should administration of emergency drugs be required while your cat is in surgery.

Once your cat has been fully anesthetized, we will begin the surgical procedure.

After the procedure is done, a technician will call you to let you know when your kitty is awake and recovering from anesthesia.

We will closely monitor your kitty until it’s time for him or her to go home.

Typically, surgical procedures are performed mid-day, and you will be able to pick up your cat between 4:30 and 5:30 p.m. the same day. Once your kitty is in recovery, we will confirm your pickup time.

Post-Operative Care

During your scheduled pickup visit, the technician will review your kitty’s post-operative needs with you.

The post-operative review will include how to administer pain medication, which is a very important part of your kitty’s post-surgical care. Pain medication helps ensure that your kitty will experience as little discomfort as possible while recovering at home.

After review with the technician, you’ll receive a copy of all post-operative instructions to take home.

We will also schedule a follow-up exam with your veterinarian, typically in 5 to 7 days.

During the follow-up exam, your veterinarian will remove sutures or staples, administer additional antibiotics or other medications if needed, and provide any additional post-surgical care that is required.

Please let your veterinarian know if you have any questions about your kitty’s surgical procedure.

Thank you for entrusting your kitty’s care to us.