Adventures in Cat Adoption Part Four : Bringing Your Cat Home From Neutering Surgery

Bright-Eyed Boy Cat

Skeeter, our rescue cat
Skeeter, our rescue cat | Source

True Stories

Hilarious account of what we did and didn’t do (but should have) when a five-pound bundle of fluff dropped into our lives.

If you have been following my cats-don’t-use-soap-opera, you know that our staid, settled, dull two-cat family was turned upside down by the addition of a male kitten abandoned outside in the cold by his former human family. Within two months after joining us, he caught up in health and growth, becoming “Super Tomcat” sans cape. His age-appropriate (turns out he is about a year old) aggressive play and urine marking led us to schedule neutering surgery for our Skeeter.

After Surgery: So Far, Very Good

We drove Skeeter home and opened the carrier. Although a little sleepier than normal, he ate and sipped water without problems. His reprocessing of food and liquids and the delivery of these products into the litter box also seemed normal and without pain. We were instructed to watch how much Skeeter licked his surgical site. If he licked “too much,” we were to bring him back to the vet’s office to procure an E-collar.

Okay buckos, how much is “too much” licking? Cats lick. Duh. And, furthermore, I imagine that more licking would be required at a recent surgical area to remove all the alien tinctures, antiseptics, and medicines that mysteriously welded themselves there. So, we watched his crotch. Can you imagine talk at the office watercooler? “So, whaddya do this weekend?” “Oh, we scrutinized our cat’s genital licking for 48 hours….”

In addition, we were delegated to watch the site for swelling, bleeding, or anything abnormal. Short of the two of us grabbing our boy’s limbs to spread-eagle him (which we did NOT do), how does one monitor this? I, for one, did not want to further call Skeeter’s attention to his backside. He was very interested without my help. I did catch a glimpse of a Pepto-Bismol-colored circle in his fur, so I inferred that it was medical germicide rather than blood. Lack of anything dripping from our kitten or signs of pain supported our conclusion that all was healing correctly.

The Welcoming Committee of the Other Cats

Sigh. The Goddess and Sammy enjoyed an evening of contentment while Skeeter was staying overnight at the veterinarian’s office. They neither looked for their new brother nor acted the least bit disturbed. Perhaps in prior lives, they had lived in a totalitarian state where individuals routinely disappear.

Thus, when we arrived home with neutered Skeeter, they did not acknowledge the mending of any gap in the family structure. On the contrary, it was as if we had time- travelled back to the first day of his arrival. Hissing, growling, chasing, and more hissing. Even Sammy joined in, as he had two months earlier. Skeeter was in no shape to defend himself, so the older cats had many “time outs” in other rooms. My Guy and I were vexed and perplexed.

The positive aspect is that it took only 24 hours for Sammy to resume his neutral attitude. Sammy will be happy if Skeeter leaves him alone, as in: "don’t taste my food, don’t start a game of tag, don’t sit in the window I wanted. After that, I give you permission to breathe, use the litter boxes, have your own scent, and play with those klutzy humans." However, the Goddess continues to have great difficulty granting him those rights. I imagine that in the Feline DSM, she is having “adjustment difficulties.” My positive description in an earlier hub was probably overly optimistic. She is on the list for an inspection and tune-up at the vet’s, to rule out (or discover) any physical ailments which may be contributing to her unhappiness. Sadly, she seems to be in permanent frown mode.

Post-Neutering Behavior

One of my fears with neutering and its accompanying hormone removal is that the vigorous boy-cat will morph into a fat sloth. Therefore, I play with Skeeter every morning after feeding. He loves chasing the feathers on a wand and does nice leaping. At three weeks post-surgery, he is back to normal.

Our wonderful vet tech informed us that Skeeter’s over-the-top aggressiveness should disappear, but not overnight. It might take 6 weeks to a few months for all the raging testosterone to work itself out of Skeet’s system. I think I am seeing evidence of that, but this speculation. However, he seems to engage in chases and tag but the teeth are no longer being applied to Sammy. Sammy and the Goddess are not accustomed to such a high level of activity – they run from a playful kitten who will joyfully bear hug or piggyback them. I hope all can settle into healthy, beneficial play.

Another curious thing is that Skeeter seems to be vocalizing more in a conversational way – this is from a human perspective of a back-and-forth exchange. Skeeter’s voice is like a trill or a pigeon coo. It is a light, high-pitched yet complex sound. Recently, he and the Goddess went back and forth with their own voices. To My Guy and me, it sounded like a conversation. Also, he sometimes seems to converse with us. It is a delightful phenomenon.

Status report

Skeeter’s surgical site looks like a fur covered miniature tree stump at times, or a fur-covered half-walnut.  Since appetite, activity, and sleeping are normal, I conclude that the neutering chapter is closed. Our three-cat circus has a summer of bird watching and adjustment ahead.

To be continued.

Photos and text copyright 2011 Maren Morgan.

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