Cat Care: Understanding The Possible Post-Surgical Complications Of Spaying

Spaying refers to the surgical procedure carried out to sterilise a female cat. Spaying is considered to be a very safe, routine surgical procedure and the benefits are considered to outweigh the risks. However, when making the decision to have your cat spayed, it's important you're aware of the possible complications that can arise during recovery. This allows you to make a fully-informed decision and understand what symptoms you need to look out for while your cat is recovering.

The procedure itself is relatively straightforward and involves your cat having a general anaesthetic. An incision is made in their lower abdomen and their reproductive organs are removed before the incision is sutured closed. Your cat may be able to return home the same day, or your vet may recommend they stay at the clinic overnight for observation. When you take your cat home, your vet will give you instructions for keeping their wound clean and your cat will be wearing a surgical collar to prevent them from biting their sutures. Read on to learn about the potential post-surgical complications you should be on the lookout for.

Bacterial Infection

If bacteria enter the wound site, it can become infected. Signs of a bacterial infection include localised redness, swelling, seeping and crusts forming around the edges of the wound. Bacterial infections need to be treated with antibiotics, and if an infection is left untreated, it can spread to nearby tissue or lead to your cat developing sepsis, which can be fatal.

Wound Separation

Wound separation after spaying can happen if your cat catches their sutures on something or if they are too active and cause the sutures to burst by jumping on and off furniture. It can be difficult to keep a cat calm and limit their movements, but keeping them in a large, suitable pen for a few days after their procedure can help prevent wound separation. If you notice the wound has separated, they need to be seen by your vet right away. The wound will need to be cleaned and closed and your vet may prescribe antibiotics to prevent an infection from developing.


A hematoma can occur just behind the surgical incision site. It's characterised by a large collection of blood and causes significant bruising around the wound. Some hematomas resolve on their own when the blood is reabsorbed into the body, while others need to be surgically drained. If your cat has excessive bruising around their wound, or if their bruising seems to be getting worse, contact your vet for advice.

Spaying has a number of benefits aside from preventing pregnancies, such as lowering the risk of your cat developing certain cancers and eliminating their risk of developing pyometra, which is a potentially fatal condition that affects the uterus. If you'd like more information on pet desexing, contact your vet.