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Post-Op Care for Ferals

Feral cats must be kept indoors in a small room for 7 days post-operatively. Cats may be frantic for a short period of time, but most will look for a location in which they feel secure and settle there. Place the post-operative carrier in the room, open the door and leave the room.If housing for 7 days is not possible, they must be kept inside at least over night before releasing.Food can be dropped into the trap.

Provide a small box or plastic container in a corner/out of the way area without a lid from which you can visually observe the cat

Line it with clean towel for the cat

Remember that cats prefer to just fit in their bed

Kept in large crates, cats will often sleep in the litter box creating an opportunity for infection.

Do not leave the cat carrier in the room during the recovery period. When you are ready to release the cat, replace the bed/box in the room with the carrier with the carrier door open and a towel inside. Put the carrier out of the way and near where the cat has been sleeping. Move in and out of the room - do so even if the cat is in the carrier - several times, moving gradually closer to the carrier. When you can get very close to the carrier without the cat moving out of it, close the carrier door.

Feral cats will huddle in a small area. Signs of postoperative problems will not be obvious.

Keep cats on white or light-colored towels so you can see any external bleeding.

Watch food intake closely - lack of interest in food, especially after days with a good appetite can signal a problem.

Clean the litter box often - once daily at a minimum. The cat should urinate at least once daily. Lack of urine production, especially in female cats, can indicate a problem.

Become familiar with the cat's 'energy level'. In most cases, a feral cat will not move when you are nearby; however, he/she will be watching closely.

If the cat's attention to you when you are nearby seems less energetic or his/her eyes seem less bright/attentive, contact the clinic for support.

If you can touch the cat (formerly untouchable) and the cat feels cool to the touch, (especially female cats) he/she could be in trouble.

If the cat's third eyelid is visible (and does not move back after awaking, etc), this is also a sign of distress.