How long to keep a spayed (stray) cat indoors?

alisandeJuly 31, 2011

A stray cat gave birth to three kittens on our property two months ago. This past week I had her spayed and gave two of the kittens to good homes. I haven't been able to place the third, so I'm planning to keep that one. I'm told the stray mama has been hanging around nearby barns for a couple of years, so I'm thinking I'll let her remain an outside cat and see how that goes. She's an avid hunter, but I'll keep her fed. We can also provide winter shelter and warmth in our outbuildings.

She was spayed on Wednesday and has been residing in my guest room since then. She and I are both at the point where we'd like her to go back outside. She's restless, and I'd like to be able to keep the kitten in there for a few days (or more) as I introduce her to the two resident adult cats. (The vet advised me not to keep mother and baby together while the mother was healing, so I've separated them.)

Do you think four days is enough of a recovery period? Her incision looks good, and she doesn't seem to be licking it.


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Get her a cat condo and put it in the window. Get her toys. Let her become part of the family of other cats.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2011 at 1:57PM
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The feral cat I trapped and had spayed, was in a cage in the garage just for one night. She had been given an antibiotic by the vet before I brought her home. The next morning I released her - absolutely no problems. Except I did panic when I noticed as she raced off that the bandage from the IV was still on her leg! I called the vet all in a dither and the assistant said it was a paper bandage and it will come off on its own. Which it did in three days time, plus the spay incision never got infected or even red, maybe a little pink because she was licking it. But even the licking didn't last very long. I couldn't believe how fast it healed. That was my experience anyway.

You should see her now. No more skin and bones and finally after a month I am able to reach down and pet her. In fact, she was so surprised the first time I simple reached down and ran my hand along her back, that it was like, "Hey, I think I like this!" Now she's to the point of being rather clingy and loves the attention. I'm working on picking her up and placing her on my lap.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2011 at 2:58PM
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Are you able to handle her? You could give her a quick exam and if the incision isn't swollen or red she's probably good to go.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2011 at 9:59PM
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Thanks for the input. Yes, she's very friendly. Not feral, although the kittens took some effort to tame. Her incision looks good.

Elly, I've had a lot of experience with rescues, and they've almost always become part of the family. In fact, my two current cats were found as a stray mother and her kitten. I had her spayed and took them both in. We had three other cats at the time: two rescued as strays and the other adopted from a shelter. But I have reasons for wanting to try keeping this one outside.

Schoolhouse, good for you! I know how it feels to have your patience rewarded like that.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2011 at 10:37PM
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It is so wonderful that you took responsibility for this (obviously) dumped sweet cat) You've put time and money into her. Now try to find her a good home.

Good luck whatever you do.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 9:47AM
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Now try to find her a good home.

Elly, surely you're aware of the realities of feline over-population. I just spent a month or more trying to find good homes for her litter--and I'm talking about only three kittens! I ended up placing just two of them, which is why I'm keeping the third. Good home is key.....and "good" is a relative term. I might have had more success if I'd been willing to advertise "free to good home," but I know better than to trust that method.

I do, however, trust my judgment on this.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 10:02AM
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Good luck whatever you do.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 11:54AM
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Thanks,alisande. The half grown kitten actually showed up the last of April, so it's taken this long for her to trust me. She came into heat the first three weeks she was here, ugh. But as I said, all went well.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 12:40PM
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When our feral cat Baby was spayed, they kept her overnight at the vet and I kept her in a large cage in in the basement for 2 days, IIRC. We had 2 house cats, she was totally feral, but boy did I want to keep her inside. Just too many concerns about FIP, feleuk, etc with 2 other adult cats.

A plus is that we haven't got ferals around our house except her, and there are a lot of ferals in my neighborhood. She does pretty well outside, we feed & water her 2x/day, and she has a heated house in the winter.
Good luck with her!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 4:19PM
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I agree, keep her as an indoor cat. There are too many dangers outside for a tame domesticated cat. I learned this the hard way.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 8:39PM
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It seems keeping her is not an option (she already has 3), nor is finding a good home (which Alisande already tried).

Again, I think it is very nice to have taken care of her. Not everyone would do that.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 6:57AM
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It's really, really difficult trying to find these stray cats homes. There are so many abandoned, the shelters are full and kittens are so plentiful. I just wanted to comment that I think it's great you took on the responsibility to take care of this cat and all of the kittens. I can't imagine anyone would send her outside again if there was another workable option. (I'm in the same boat with 3 cats - full)! Two thumbs up for having stopped the kitten-making cycle!

    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 1:13AM
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