If you have been following in my kitten series, then you now know how to handle young kittens, how to wean kittens off the bottle, when they leave their mothers, and when they can be spayed. Chances are, if you have a kitten, then the obvious next step are going to be spaying or neutering them.I have talked in the past why it is so important for everyone to spay and neuter their cats. You can read the entire article about why you should spay your kitten, here. Now that you know you SHOULD spay your kitten, you are probably hoping to get some hacks or tips on how to handle spaying kittens. So let’s talk about some spaying hacks for your cat!
Before I started fostering again, I had not dealt with a kitten spaying in a good amount of time. I was in ignorant bliss about the level of difficulty and therefore did not feel a post was warranted. However, after going through a recent spaying with the foster kittens, I developed some pointers that made my life so much easier, and hopefully they make yours easier as well.
Preparing for your kitten’s spaying
The first thing I always like to do before any big event is to make sure everyone is prepared! There are so many things you can do to prepare yourself, your kitten, and your home for a spaying or neutering.
First things first, you need to make sure you have a vet, and a vet you can trust. You can read my post about why you need to find the right vet, here, if you would like. Once you have your vet, you want to make sure you know what the procedure is going to be like.
Types of Stitches With Spaying
Some vets will use normal stitches, some use dissolvable, some use lasers, and some use glue, and perhaps some other options that I am not aware of. Some people have preferences on the types of equipment their vets are using and some don’t. For example, when Phoebe was spayed, they used dissolvable stitches. I didn’t know any better at the time, but I LOVED them! It felt so much easier than everyone else was telling me. And I remember a friend telling me about their kitten being spayed and having so much pain with the normal stitches.
When the kittens were ready to be spayed, that was the first thing I asked. Can they have dissolvable stitches? I knew it would be easier on the kittens, and honestly me, if they have dissolvable ones and that also meant one less trip to the vet.
With the kittens, I had the awesome ability to not have to look for vets. PetPromise had all the connections and was able to hook me up with the vets that were able to do the dissolvable sutures. Now fair warning, this was pretty much where I stopped in terms of preparation. And that is what I do not want you to do!
Kitten Spaying Preparations Hacks
I wish that I had done some of these things to help prepare myself for what was coming when it came to spaying kittens. I had the forgotten memory of Phoebe, so I figured it would just be a walk in the park.
Some things I wish I would have done was: prepare a safe room for them, prepare their “after surgery” attire, and get some necessary supplies that would have made the night much easier for myself.
When I talked about a safe room, I mean preparing a room that the cats can be in where you don’t have to worry about them jumping, running, or getting into too much trouble. Luckily for us, we were able to use the foster room as their safe room because that was already the place that had food, water, and beds for them.
The Problem with the “Safe Room”
Our biggest problem with them was they were used to sleeping in bed with us, not locked in a room away from everyone else. We tried it for about five minutes, until their crying weakened me. (I’m a push-over, I know it). So I decided I was going to sleep in the room with them. Again, I had not prepared for myself to be sleeping on the floor.
I was so unprepared I ended up crashing on a pile of blankets and pillows and sleeping horribly. What I wish I would have done was get an air mattress, or have them in a room with a bed with baby stairs so they could climb up on the bed and not feel like jumping. But, I am still on the fence with the stairs, so next time, I will probably use an air mattress, actually I got this air mattress, so I will keep you posted on how that goes.
The next, and possibly biggest thing I wish I would have done was prepare for them after surgery. I did not remember Phoebe having any issues with licking her stitches, the stitches coming undone, anything. So again, I did not prepare.
My Preparation Fails are Your Steps to Success
Zoe, the tortoiseshell foster kitten, did excellent. She came home and was a little groggy but mostly she was okay. Chloe, our ginger cat, was not. She was wanting to lick her stitches like crazy. My first instinct was to panic. Sorry, I know that not right, but that was my first instinct and I want to be honest with you.
My second instinct was to make sure she didn’t lick. I went on Amazon 2-hour and ordered some infant onsies. So I knew I could hopefully have the problem solved in about 2 hours. But we needed a fix NOW! So my fiancé ran out and got a cones for Chloe and Zoe (if she started to lick). And we placed the cone on her for some temporary relief.
She HATED it. Poor thing was trying to rip it off and was crying like no ones business. Stress out, I reached out to my friend, Angela. She is one of the heads of PetPromise, and therefore a kitten and spaying expert. Angela was kind enough to give me some tips and pointers to help the kittens not lick. She mentioned putting bitter apple spray on their stitches so they would not lick their wounds.
Making things Work
Unfortunately, we did not have bitter apple spray, so she recommended putting Vaseline on the area because it probably itches. So we found some Vaseline, placed it on the “area” and she started to relax. Right around that time, the onesies also came in.
We were able to cut the bottom part of the onesie off, put it around her head and arms, and safety pin it on the back to make sure she couldn’t get out of it. I am not sure if it was the Vaseline, the onesie, the medicine wearing off, or just that she wasn’t wearing the cone anymore. But once she got the onesie on her, she was the most relaxed kitten. She fell asleep in my arms, and did not try to lick her stitches again.
So, my recommendation, have a infant size onesie on hand that you don’t mind cutting up (and maybe a back up in case you make a mistake). You can also try a cone, some cats really don’t mind them. The smartest thing is to have options so you can feel out what will make your kitten happiest.
Items you may need
So a lot of you are like me where you tend to skim things and don’t really need to hear the whole story. If that is you, here is a concise list of things I recommend for people to have on hand when preparing for kittens to be spayed or neutered. If something doesn’t make sense, just skim above for the appropriate words.
These items, can all be bought on Amazon, though you may already have some at your house. In my opinion, if you have these items going into your kitten spaying, you are setting yourself up for success. You will be calmer because you will be prepared, and your cat will feed off of that.
Kitten Spaying Hacks
Again, for the skimmers, I wanted to do a quick summary of some hacks when your kitten is spayed.
- Talk to Your Vet about the Types of Stitches They Use
- Prepare a Safe Space for your cat(s) to recover after surgery without getting into trouble
- Make sure you have the proper supplies in order to help prepare for their arrival after surgery.
- Stay calm, kittens can feed off of your energy. The most you stay calm, the more likely they will be calm as well.
What to Avoid after your Kitten is Spayed
Lastly, I wanted to talk about some things to avoid after your kitten is spayed. Some of these items may be common knowledge, and some may come as a surprise, so hopefully this can help save you some headaches in the future.
First, don’t assume when it comes to the stitches. Unless they are specified as dissolvable stitching, you need to get the stitches removed around ten days after the procedure. If you wait too long, or too short, this could cause infections and additional issues with the kitten.
Second, you want to make sure your kittens do not lick the stitches. No matter what kind of stitches. They need to be able to heal without them licking the wound. Licking could cause infections or worse, the incision could open up and start to bleed.
You want them to avoid excessive running, jumping and rough house as well. Especially the first few days, those stitches need time to heal. When kitten run and jump, they can stretch the incision, making it susceptible to breaking off. Giving them a safe space, even for a few days, can help prevent injury, or having to get stitches all over again.
Do not pick them up by the incision. Spaying is still surgery. They still have an incision that is healing and sore. You will want to watch how you pick them up around this time. Personally, I like to do a scruffy/scoop pick-up. I will grab with excess neck skin to keep them still and scoop them up with the bottoms. This protects them, and I am still able to hold them.
Kitten spaying and neutering does not have to be a stressful ten days for you. The best thing you can do for your cat is prepare yourself and your home for after the operation. And remember, its only 7-10 days of their life. Once its done, you never have to do it again!