Having any sort of surgical procedure done is a difficult process to go through. Not only is there the experience of the surgery itself, but then there is having to endure the road to recovery- post-op appointments, physical therapy, etc.
No cat parent, or any decent human being, likes to see their cat in pain and sometimes a hip replacement surgery is necessary for your cat's quality of life. If you choose to proceed with the surgery, there is a handful of care tips to utilize afterward.
1) Your cat’s mobility will need to be limited
The first week to two weeks after surgery is crucial to the healing process. In total, it takes about six to eight weeks to fully recover from an orthopedic surgical procedure. The connective tissue and sutures cannot be stretched out or strained whatsoever.
Your cat will need to rest in a crate or another very small enclosed space. They cannot run, jump, or play with other pets in the house. They will need assistance walking to their litter box if they will not allow you to carry them.
To help your cat walk around, you can use a towel or blanket as an abdominal sling. Simply wrap the sling around their hips to help support their rear legs. Your vet can give a demonstration on how to do so properly.
2) Follow all of the vet’s medication instructions
After surgery, your vet will prescribe a painkiller and an anti-inflammatory. Each medication will have instructions on how many pills to give your cat and how often. The anti-inflammatory will keep the swelling down and the painkiller will prevent any pain and also act as a sedative.
Many pets will not take medications willingly, so you will need to disguise them with food. You can hide the pills in peanut butter, tuna, or salmon.
If your cat doesn’t care for any of those foods, Greenies makes pill pockets for cats. They are basically hollow treats. You place the medication inside, pinch the opening on top closed, and give it to your cat.
3) Prepare a comfy place for your cat to rest
Due to all of the rest and rehabilitation your cat will need after surgery, they will greatly appreciate a cozy space. Your vet will recommend how long they are to be on bed rest.
Luckily, there is an excellent product to help make your cat’s recovery more comfortable. Surgery is a traumatic experience and the recovery can be anxiety-inducing, but a fluffy anti-anxiety bed will be just what your cat needs.
The bed is a round shape with raised sides which creates a feeling of being cradled and helps cats feel secure. It is made with pet-safe faux fur and is incredibly warm and cozy.
This calming anti-anxiety bed is available in four different sizes and colors. Your furry friend won’t be able to resist it! It will easily become their new favorite bed, even after they are finished recovering.
In addition to the fluffy bed, you can also enhance your cat’s space with their favorite toys, blankets, and some soft classical music playing in the background.
4) Keep an eye on them and give them comfort
Keep a close eye on your cat, especially during the first few days post-op. Their sutures cannot get wet, so they cannot be licking them. This will disrupt the healing process.
They should be in their crate or enclosure when you are unable to watch them to ensure they aren’t putting any strain on their leg.
If you work from home or can come home during your lunch break, your cat will appreciate some pets and cuddles from you. Do this as frequently as possible to comfort them.
5) Use a paper-based litter until their sutures are removed
Traditional cat litter might stick to bandages or get caught in wounds. If this happens, it could lead to an infection.
During your cat’s recovery, it’s an excellent idea to switch their litter to one made of shredded or pelleted paper. This can be purchased from a pet supply store or you can make your own. It won’t be very absorbent, but you can place a pee pad underneath. Be sure to change it often.
Recovering from surgery, especially a hip replacement, is never easy for a cat. It is a process that needs a watchful eye and a caring heart. We hope these tips help make the recovery process a little smoother.