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Taking in & Drinking for Cats Prior to Spaying & Neutering: Our Vet Describes


Apr 6, 2023
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spaying cat
Dr. Stacie Grannum Photo

The information and facts is present and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian investigation.

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Anesthesia is advantageous for cats undergoing surgical treatments simply because it temporarily renders them unconscious in a managed environment, building them unaware of their environment and safeguarding them from emotion pain all through the operation. Anytime anesthesia is involved, nevertheless, there are specific dangers to be aware of. 1 is that it impairs the aspect of the brain and anxious technique liable for the swallowing reflex. If a cat regurgitates or vomits a stomach total of foods while underneath anesthesia, they will be not able to safeguard their airways mainly because they are unable to swallow, and they hazard respiratory stomach contents into their lungs.


Why Is Fasting Before Surgical procedure Needed for a Cat?

Fasting is needed to avert surgical issues, these types of as regurgitation or vomiting of belly contents. When a cat is less than general anesthesia, the anxious technique is frustrated and the cat is temporarily unconscious. While in this state, the cat also loses the means to swallow. Swallowing is a standard reflex in all mammals and serves two required capabilities:1

  • It allows food to pass into the stomach, where it can be more digested for the uptake of vitamins.
  • It safeguards the respiratory technique by clearing secretions from the nasal and oral passages and closing the epiglottis to stop foodstuff particles from traveling into the larynx and lungs.

If a cat vomits or regurgitates foods throughout their unconscious state, the contents might journey down the trachea and into the lungs, foremost to aspiration pneumonia. The cat’s potential to swallow and protect their respiratory tract is impaired when below anesthesia. On top of that, the stomach acid from regurgitated meals or gastrointestinal reflux can irritate the esophagus (esophagitis), resulting in scarring of the delicate tissue, which can lead to a stricture or narrowing of the esophagus. If the esophagus has a stricture, food items and often drinking water will not go as quickly as a result of it to the abdomen.

burmese cat lying on couch
Impression Credit: Viacheslav Lopatin, Shutterstock

What Are Latest Fasting Recommendations for Cats Prior to Spay or Neuter Surgery?

The frequent fasting recommendation for cats is “no food stuff right after midnight the evening before surgical procedures.” Realistically, however, fasting tips for cats can range significantly involving clinics and veterinarians, as there is a lack of apparent-minimize evidence for supporting a certain fasting protocol.2 Long fasting situations may well not assurance the finish emptying of a cat’s abdomen ahead of anesthesia.3 Cats that are pressured, try to eat huge meals, and take in dry weight loss plans (absence of humidity in kibble) may possibly result in food stuff to vacant far more bit by bit from the abdomen.

Recommendations for fasting your cat just before surgical procedure are always at your veterinarian’s discretion. Variables that your veterinarian will consider into thought incorporate your cat’s breed, age, sexual intercourse, sizing, and present health and fitness status. The American Animal Medical center Affiliation (AAHA) and the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) have very similar but differing recommendations for fasting cats just before surgical treatment.

AAHA recommendations advise that healthy adult cats must rapidly 4 to 6 hours prior to anesthesia. Kittens beneath 8 months of age really should not go with no foodstuff any lengthier than 1–2 hrs, as they are at risk for hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Withholding food from diabetic cats is suggested for no for a longer time than 2–4 several hours right before surgical procedures. Cats with a higher threat of regurgitation or these with a history of regurgitating/vomiting even though under anesthesia really should be fasted for 6–12 several hours to lessen their risk as a lot as probable. AAHA guidelines also suggest that veterinarians think about feeding cats in the superior-risk group 10%–25% of their usual breakfast 4–6 several hours prior to anesthesia.

AAFP recommends fasting cats no more time than 3–4 hrs prior to anesthesia, though it is up to the veterinarian’s choice and judgment.

Is Drinking water Withheld In advance of Anesthesia?

H2o is normally okay to supply your cat overnight and on the early morning of operation. AAHA endorses not withholding water from balanced grownup cats, kittens, and diabetic cats prior to surgical procedure. Water may perhaps be withheld for 6–12 hrs for cats at large danger of regurgitation. AAFP implies that “water should be obtainable until eventually the time for premedication.” Due to the fact tips can range, it is always finest to seek your veterinarian’s assistance about supplying h2o prior to the surgery.

Scottish Fold drinking from water fountain
Graphic Credit history: ANURAK PONGPATIMET, Shutterstock



Cats really should be rapid right before spay or neuter operation to protect against anesthesia troubles these kinds of as vomiting, regurgitation, and gastrointestinal reflux. These steps although below anesthesia can guide to really serious issues these kinds of as aspiration pneumonia and esophagitis. Fasting recommendations can range based on your cat’s breed, sex, measurement, age, and existing well being issues. The AAHA and the AAFP have released recommendations for fasting cats prior to anesthesia. Even so, pre-surgical recommendations are often at your veterinarian’s discretion, and any thoughts or problems that you might have about your cat before surgical procedure can be answered by them.

Showcased Image Credit score: De Visu, Shutterstock

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