By bringing stray and feral cats to an Operation Catnip Spay Day clinic for sterilization, you have helped to lessen the burden of overpopulation and to save and improve the lives of community cats. Please become familiar with these important post-surgery recovery instructions.
Monitor Cats for 24 Hours
At the clinic, cats are given a long-acting injection of anesthetic for surgery, and many cats will not be fully recovered at the time of discharge, even if they appear to be. Full recovery may take up to 24 hours. You should monitor the cats for a full day following surgery in order to provide the best care possible.
Keep Cats in their Traps Overnight
Keep the cats in their traps until the day after surgery. Even if they appear to be friendly and alert, they need to sleep. This provides protection and security for both the cats and for the people that work with them.
Report Bites or Scratches
Do not disturb them by reaching into the trap. The cats will be groggy and they often overreact and may bite! If you are bitten or scratched by a cat, you should receive immediate medical attention. Bites and scratches must be reported to the Alachua County Animal Services. Do not release the cat that caused the injury until authorized by Alachua County Animal Services.
Restrict Food and Water for Adult Cats
Do not give adult cats food or water in the trap the same day as surgery. They may spill the water or vomit and aspirate if fed. You can give them food and water the next morning when they are fully awake.
An exception should be made for kittens. They may be offered a small amount of canned food the night of surgery as soon as they are fully recovered from anesthesia. This helps keep their blood sugar normal.
Keep Cats Warm
Keep the cats in their traps in a warm, draft-free area like a bathroom or garage until the next morning. Never leave cats outside after surgery. They cannot regulate their body temperature while recovering from anesthesia and are susceptible to heat or cold exposure.
Monitor Post-Surgical Behavior
Normal behaviors during recovery include deep sleep, head bobbing, wobbly movements, rapid breathing, shivering, agitation and hypersensitivity to light and sound. Bleeding from the ear tip may occur but should stop by the next day. Although normal, cats should not be released until they no longer exhibit these behaviors.
Abnormal behaviors include continued bleeding from the surgical site, difficulty breathing, vomiting, and inability to awaken from anesthesia.
Release Cats the Next Day
The day after surgery, if the cats are fully awake, and do not exhibit any abnormal behaviors, they may be offered food and water, and returned to the area where they were captured. Stitches are absorbable and do not need to be removed.
If a cat is not yet fully awake or still exhibits abnormal behavior the day after surgery, and you have concerns about the recovery of the cat, do not release it. Instead, call the Operation Catnip emergency hotline at (352) 665-9514 and discuss the situation with an on-call volunteer veterinarian or staff member.
If a situation arises that cannot wait for assistance from Operation Catnip, please call your local pet emergency clinic. Payment of fees for care at another veterinary clinic is the responsibility of the caretakers, not Operation Catnip.
In the unfortunate circumstance where a cat dies or needs to be euthanized at a veterinary practice after being discharged to you, please call Operation Catnip so that we can assess the circumstances. We may ask to examine the cat.
For general questions, call Operation Catnip at (352) 380-0940 during our normal business hours, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vaccine boosters are free for “graduates” of Operation Catnip. Bring this cat back (in a trap) in one year for boosters, and then every 3 years after that to protect the cat and the community from rabies and other infections.
If this was a kitten less than 3 months old, the rabies vaccination does not count. The kitten should be brought back in 2 months for an official rabies vaccination and certificate.