Kittens go through a lot of changes in their first year. One thing every kitten should go through is surgery to spay or neuter them. But what about aftercare? Robert S. writes:
Robert, thank you for being a responsible guardian for Ernie and having him neutered. If everyone did this, we'd quickly get past our cat overpopulation problem. Feral cats can also be trapped, fixed, and released - a process called TNR for "Trap Neuter Return".
Surgical aftercare really depends on how well the surgery went. If your veterinarian didn't mention it, he or she may have just assumed that since everything went fine, you'd let Ernie return to his usual routine immediately. Nowadays, the sutures used in these procedures are absorbed into the body so there's no need to remove stitches. With TNR patients, they're left in the trap overnight so that their anesthesia can completely wear off and are then returned to the wild the next day when they're wide awake.
If there's no infection or other complications, Ernie should be able to return to his usual routine seven to ten days after surgery. You'll want to verify this with your vet, though, as we're not familiar with the specifics of Ernie's case. During that time, it will be important for you to keep Ernie clean and dry and to stop him from licking or biting his incision. Yes, that means the use of the cone of healing until your vet says it's okay to remove it.
The key indicators that something is wrong will be vomiting, lack of appetite, bleeding (more than spotting), diarrhea, difficulty breathing, or lethargy. If any of these signs is present, you'll need to get Ernie to the vet immediately.
As to allowing him outside, we hope that you'll only allow him outside under supervision. Cats live much longer and healthier lives as indoor-only pets. Since Ernie is a kitten, he will easily adapt to an indoor-only lifestyle if given the chance and can probably be trained to be on a harness and leash when taken outside with his humans.
Robert, we wish you and Ernie all the best, and hope you enjoy your life with your young friend! There's nothing quite like kitten power!