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What to Do Before Surgery
Food and Water
  • No food after MIDNIGHT before surgery; water is acceptable
  • Feed cats both wet and dry food for at least 3-4 days before surgery to prevent dehydration
  • For feral adults, feed both wet and dry food from after you trap until midnight the night before surgery
  • Confirm kittens are large enough for surgery and vaccinations (see services page for details)
  • Make sure kittens have an extra large meal before midnight the night before surgery
Transporting Your Cats/Kittens
  • Bring each of your cats/kittens in a separate carrier or trap (hard plastic carriers are preferred for pets, traps are preferred for ferals)
  • Cardboard carriers are not permitted
  • Please make sure you have a clean towel, sheet, or pillowcase inside each carrier or trap for your cat's comfort as he or she recovers from surgery
  • Ensure your carriers/traps are secure and that the doors are latched properly so your cat cannot get out
  • While at the clinic, do NOT open the door of the carrier or trap or remove your cat from the carrier or trap
Feral Cats
  • Make sure you have a place for feral cats to recover after surgery
    • Feral cats MUST be given a minimum of 24-48 hours to recover/come out of anesthesia before being released
    • When possible, it is recommended that male cats be held at least 3 days and females at least 1 week after surgery
  • Trap feral cats the day before surgery; always trap ferals using a humane trap - NEVER attempt to pick up a feral cat
  • Place an old towel in the trap before trapping the cat for the cat's comfort before surgery
  • Keep the top and side of the trap covered with an old sheet to minimize the cat's stress level while in the trap
What to Do After Surgery

Although it is a common procedure recommended for all cats, please remember that cats that are spayed/neutered have just gone through SURGERY and need proper post-surgery care, including a quiet, clean, warm, and dry place to recover.

Pet Cats/Kittens
Your pet cats will need special care while they recover from surgery. Please print and review our Post-Surgery Instructions for Pet Cats before the clinic so you will know what to expect and how to care for your cats after surgery.
Feral Cats/Kittens
Feral cats need special care while they recovery from surgery as well; however, it must provided in a way that is safe for you and not stressful for the cat. Feral cats are not used to human contact and caregivers caring for feral cats should print and review our Post-Surgery Instructions for Feral Cats before the clinic.
What to Do in an Emergency

If your cat has an emergency, contact your veterinarian immediately. If your veterinarian's office is not open, contact an emergency animal facility immediately.

Here are a few of the emergency facilities in our area:

Red Bank Veterinary Hospital
1425 E Marlton Pike, Cherry Hill, NJ 08034
(856) 429-4394

Animal Emergency Service Of South Jersey
(same building as Mount Laurel Animal Hospital)
220 Moorestown-Mount Laurel Road, Mt Laurel, NJ 08054
(856) 727-1332 and (856) 234-0122

Regional Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Center
(previously Black Horse Pike Animal Hospital)
4250 Route 42, Turnersville, New Jersey 08012
(856) 728-1400

In an urgent situation, call your veterinarian, CCAS during normal business hours at (856) 401-1300.

Please remember, while post-surgical complications are not common, they are possible. Proper monitoring and aftercare are the best way to help ensure your cat has a speedy, healthy recovery. Obtaining post-surgery veterinary care and all associated costs are your responsibility. While CCAS assumes no liability for any surgical complications, CCAS will do its best to assist you with post-surgery care when needed.

Immediately After Surgery
Your pet may still be affected by the anesthesia when they first come home from surgery. Help your dog in and out of the car, and keep your pet away from stairs until the next morning. It's very common for your pet to sleep the night they are discharged after surgery. Make sure they are kept in a warm, quiet place for recovery. They may not have a good sense of balance or direction. To prevent them from falling and injuring themselves, keep your pet confined until the drugs have left their system. You may want to put them in a kennel or small area for a few hours. It can take 24 hours for anesthesia to fully wear off. However, your animal should be somewhat coherent and awake when you pick up. Lethargy lasting for more than 24 hours after surgery, diarrhea, or vomiting are not normal and you should contact us immediately.
Provide only small amounts of food and water until he re-adjusts to being at home and is recovering. Too much food and water can lead to an upset stomach or vomiting. Their appetite should return gradually within 24 hours of surgery. If your pet is not interested in food and not eating or drinking by the 2nd day after surgery, contact us immediately. Do not change your pet's diet at this time and do not give junk food, table scraps, milk or any other "people" food for a period of one week. This could mask post-surgical complications.
Monitoring the Incision
The healing process takes at least 7 days. Female dogs have a mid-line incision in their abdomen. Male dogs have an incision just above the scrotum. Check the incision site at least twice daily. What you see today is what we consider normal. There should be no drainage. Redness and swelling should be minimal. Female dogs may develop a hematoma or a "lump" just under the incision. This is common after surgery. It may be a reaction to the sutures inside. If this lump seems to get exceedingly large contact the shelter or post surgical emergency line. Male dogs may have swelling in the scrotum. If the area gets extremely swollen and red; immediately contact the shelter or post surgical emergency line.
Some dogs will chew or lick on their surgical incision when it starts to heal. Check the area around the incision daily for redness, swelling or drainage. If you detect any irritation, contact the shelter or post surgical line immediately. Try to keep your pet from licking or chewing at the wound. If this is difficult to do, you might want to provide a physical barrier by placing an 'Elizabethan collar' around their head. Your dog may need to wear this collar, which is designed to prevent them from reaching the incision site, if you are away and unable to monitor her activity. They can be purchased at your local Petsmart or pet store. Make sure the E-Collar goes 3 inches past the nose to prevent them from reaching the area with their tongue.
Sutures are absorbable and can take 3 to 6 months before they fully dissolve. Monitor incision to make sure your pet has not chewed out the stitches. They need to remain in for at least one week after surgery. As the wound heals, there may be a firm lump under the incision as the absorbable sutures break down. Don't let the incision get wet for the first seven to 10 days; avoid swimming and bathing, and keep trips outside in wet weather to a minimum.
Activity Level

Your dog will need to stay indoors for at least a week following surgery, perhaps longer depending upon their exact condition and the specific procedure performed. Flies and or dirt could cause harm to the incision site.

Limit your pet's exercise. Climbing stairs, jumping or running may open up sutures or cause nausea. You should keep your pet calm and quiet at all times during recovery and they should not be allowed to run or jump for at least a week.

When you take your pet out to relieve themselves, they should remain on leash. Monitor bowels movements for diarrhea and or constipation. Usually loose stool is normal after surgery. Monitor urination as well. It's ok if they do not eliminate the first night due to withholding of food. Do not let it persist longer than 2 days. If so contact the shelter for assistance.

Sleeping Area
During your dog's recovery, provide her with a cushioned bed. Place them in a resting area in a quiet place where they can still feel close to the rest of the family. Ensure they are out of drafts and are warm. Warmth is often a pain reliever, and, at the very least, may make them more comfortable. The dog's resting place should not be elevated or require her to climb stairs to access it.
Potential Complications
Spaying and neutering are very safe surgeries; however, complications can occur. Minimal redness and swelling should resolve within several days. If it persists longer, please contact us. Please contact us immediately if you notice any of the following:
  • Pale gums
  • Depression
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Discharge or bleeding from the incision
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Labored breathing
If you have any questions or concerns directly related to the surgery during the recovery time period, please do not hesitate to contact the clinic at 856-401-1300 during normal business hours. After hours, please use the post surgical emergency number, 856-325-7535.