Cat surgery problematic, I need some help.

Thanks for looking at the thread. I had a very difficult day. My cat had surgery, (stones removed), and I took her home from the vets today. On the way home she had an “accident” in the carrying box that I use so she feels a little safer in the car. She urinated on her hind legs. Now that she’s home she can’t clean herself because she has a safety cone around her neck that’s supposed to stay on so she doesn’t lick her dissolvable stitches. I have her in a large/clean area in my basement, but I will NOT leave her there for much longer. I need to wash her off, but there are 2 problems.

  1. She hates water. If this had happened to either of the other two cats I have, it wouldn’t be such big a problem. They don’t freak out with water as much. Damp washcloths don’t help much she doesn’t really let me near her with them in hand, and I can’t scrub.

  2. The dissolvable switches might get wet.

Isn’t there something you can place under cats nose that stuns some of them for a while?

I’ve only heard of this once, and it was a while ago.

The dissolvable stitches… How frail are they? The cone is not easy on the eyes, only because my poor cat looks really uncomfortable. I’ll keep it on for as long as it takes!! I just know that a vet or doctor may exaggerate a few things just so they stay safe… which I understand, but it all worries me.

Thank you all for the help. I love my cat so much! This is very hard on both of us. I hate to see her like this.:frowning:

I don’t know about a cat stunning method, but maybe you could try some damp paper towels with a mild soap solution and just sort of pat it off the best you can. If you can get to a pet store, you might look for some dander wipes; they’re sort of like handi-wipes but made 'specially for kitties. I’d just rub a ton of those over her legs. There’s also dander spray stuff that you could sort of spray on her or on the paper towel and rub it on her legs. I wouldn’t take the cone thing off, though.

I’m not sure if they use the same stiches as with people; I’ve had dissolvable stiches and it took a week before they started dissolving and they got wet every day. I don’t think just some damp paper towels will cause them to dissolve prematurely.

Good luck to you and Ms. Kitty.

Vinegar and water will help neutralize the cat urine smell. I’d dip a washcloth in vinegar-water solution and give her a sponge bath.

Thanks for the tips.

It means a lot

As to the bathing of your cat, I would leave it alone for awhile. She has been through enough without you chasing her around with handi-wipes. The urine may seem offensive to you, but I bet any soap is more offensive to your cat.

The stitches seem to take forever to dissolve. My cat had them after surgery and they fell out about the time I was ready to remove them myself.

I would try removing the cone and see how she responds. The danger is not that her saliva will dissolve the stitches, but that she will bite them and try to pull them out. Keep an eye on her and see how she acts, if she licks them - fine, if she tugs on them too much - put the cone back on. My vet didn’t use the cone, the cat freaked out about his newly installed zipper for a few minutes and then settled down. It was unsettling to see him attack his own belly, but he figured out it wasn’t helping matters and didn’t hurt himself at all.

an update.
Last night, (her first night home), we had nasty thunder storms. Somehow she left the room she was in and ran down the basement out of fright. During all of this, SOMEHOW got her cone off. We don’t know if she just fell asleep, or licked/bit her stitches at all. I looked at her stitches and I can see 2 “X’s”… I don’t know if there were normally three but I’m probably just worried too much, and seeing things/makeing conclusions out of anxiety. We’re supposed have thunderstorms today to. She WONT take her medication. We have tried pill and liquid drop form. She wont eat anything with the medication in it.

I admit I’m going nuts. I wish I knew how to help her. She’s such a great cat. The urine doesn’t bother me, I just didn’t want her to be irritated by it. But WiseOldMan was right I think, I don’t think it’s her biggest concern right now. I just care about her feeling better.

Any other tips would be great. This bored is the single most uplifting thing I have done so far. Thanks so much!

WiseOldMan has a good point about not further stressing your cat. Since she seems to keep running to the basement and there may be more storms today, why don’t you make a nice snug bed down there and just let her hang out. I don’t know where you keep the litter box, but I’d put it down there, too, with fresh litter.

As for the medicine, I know it seems cruel and impossible to squirt that liquid down her throat, but if one person holds her wrapped in a towel and the other person holds her jaw and squirts the medicine down, that might work. Sometimes you have to be what you might think is a little cruel and ignore her squirming and complaints. What is the medicine? Antibiotics? If she’s otherwise healthy maybe she’ll be alright without them; just keep a real good eye on the incision site to be sure it isn’t getting infected.

Also, now that it’s business hours, you could call the vet and ask what they think about all this (if they’re kind and caring like mine, anyway; I have heard of vets that just don’t seem to care about their patients).

First, I want to say that you have 100% of my sympathy and good wishes. I actually had a very similar experience just recently (geriatric boy cat with bladder stones), and can relate.

I agree with the wrap in towel idea. It will make you feel like a big ogre (it did me) but the antibiotics that they gave you are very important.

Another thing to watch for is to make sure that the cat can drink water past the cone. This was a problem with ours and it caused a trip to the vet (more stress for the animal) so that we could have him hydrated. If need be, force water.

Best of luck!

Former Vet Tech here…

As long as she seems to be leaving the stitches alone you can leave to cone off. If it’s been a couple days, healing has already begun and if she chews out her stitches, hopefully her skin will be partly healed over. I seem to recall that with stitches, it was okay if they got damp (after all animals do lick themselves clean and will lick the stitches), you just shouldn’t immerse the area in water so that the stitches got sopping wet.

As far as giving meds is concerned, it’s hard, and the cat may complain, but it needs to be done. I am very good at giving meds to cats (had lots of practice- I have 5 cats!), so I know a few techniques. Wrapping the cat up in a towel is a good one, just be careful that they can’t sneak a front leg out. We used to call that technique “making a cat burrito”.

I have found it is best if you hold the cat on your lap, with the cat facing away from you. I usually kneel and then sit back on my legs (does that make sense?), and hold the cat between my thighs, that way they can’t run away. Tilt the cat’s head back, this will cause the mouth to open slightly. For liquid, you can insert the dropper between the cat’s cheek and gum and squeeze the rx in that way, it will run through the cat’s teeth and hopefully down the throat! For pills, tilt the head back, press either side of the jaw with your fingers, or open the cat’s mouth with the tip of a finger, pop the pill in and then force it down the cat’s throat with one finger. Then clamp the cat’s jaw shut and rub the throat. This should get the cat to swallow. The action with the pill should be performed as quickly as possible.

I know it sounds difficult and kinda gross. But it works, and sticking your finger in a cat’s throat is NOTHING compared to sticking your finger down a large dog’s throat! (I used to hate it when a large dog that was in the hospital recovering from surgery or whatever, wouldn’t take its meds, and it was my turn to feed/medicate the in-house critters!)

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call your vet. They are used to getting lots of questions, and they will actually like it that you are concerned about your pet. If you are still having problems with giving the meds, you might want to ask your vet if you can bring the cat in and have them show you a good technique. Good Luck!

The vet said it was ok not to give her meds if there’s risk of popping threads, but I’m going to try anyway, and try to put some in food of some sort. (she doesn’t eat it, but maybe VERY small amounts… it can’t hurt). TRUST ME, She goes NUTS when you try manualy… there are 2 people holding her down… and it just doesn’t work, we’ve tried everything. The vet said to keep an eye on the wound and try to give her the meds.

The cat has had a lot to drink since…
And food.
I’ll call the vet tomarrow to make sure things I’m doing are ok… I don’t know what to do about the meds, I just don’t… but I will try.

You guys and gals are great


First, I hope your kitty gets well soon and I understand the stress.

Second, a trick that worked with one of my cats who wouldn’t take meds in pill form was a)the towel trick and b)butter. Take the pill and get it nice and buttered up and then use moggy’s advice. The butter pretty much causes the pill to slide right down the throat. Of coarse, consult your vet about my idea. My vet recommended the technique but I won’t vouch for it’s saftey.


Here are detailed instructions with pictures describing how to give pills to your cat:

While I’m sure much advice here is good, I can’t help wondering why you don’t just call your vet’s office and ask them? The receptionists or techs could probably answer many of your questions without taking up the vets time. If not, then your vet’s time is worth taking up!

You cannot know the background and expertise of everyone who posts here. As much respect I have for (and excellent advice I have received from) the SDMB, there is no substitute for professional advice, especially when you are dealing with your pet’s health.

We’ve consulted the vet and receptionists.

Last night we put the eye dropper med in a little ice cream, and It worked the best. I think, though, she tasted the meds and stopped.

I think I have to find other things she will eat to mix the meds in.

If the meds are in an eye dropper, that means you can squirt it right into your cat’s mouth. Perhaps I don’t understand fully, but liquids should be no problem.

I give one of my own cats medicine like that sometimes. As much as he hates it, once the liquid is squirted into his mouth, he has no choice but to swallow it.

If you are having problems opening your cat’s mouth to get the liquid squirted in there, just follow the directions from the link in my previous post; but once you have the cat’s mouth open, instead of placing the pill into his mouth, just stick the end of the eyedropper half way into his mouth, and squirt the medication into the back of his throat. He won’t like it, but with a quick squirt it’s over in a second.

A pill is harder. Our cat has even learned how to “fake us out” by leaving the pill alone until he walks away, and then spitting it out. So I have to place the pill in his mouth (as described, with pictures, in the link in my previous post), and then keep holding him, with my hand under his chin (occaisionally stroking his chin as I do it) until he does swallow. It may even take a minute or two… or three… but eventually he will swallow or just lick his lips, which is also a sign that he has now swallowed the pill. Then I let him go his merry way.

With are other two cat’s it not a hard…
We found a way to give it to her, she likes it mixed with maple syrup.

We give pills to our dogs in peanut butter which they love to eat. They don’t even notice they are taking a pill. That might work for cats too. Or you could try a similar soft type food they like.