Agitation after general anesthesia earlier today

cmshap

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Willy just had surgery 9-10 hours ago, and has been home for about 4 hours now. See this thread for details.

The time since the vet called me and told me he had woken up has been about 7 hours.

I am starting a new thread here specifically to ask about whether his level of agitation is normal. He's been pacing and seemingly unable to sit still since getting home, and it has not gotten any better.

I was instructed to watch out for excessive lethargy and any signs of infection of the surgical site (which looks fine). Also I was told his diet and bowel movements may take 1-2 days before returning to normal. But I was not told anything about agitation, which seems counterintuitive to the effects of anesthesia.

His sense of balance seems better now than immediately after getting home, when he was still a bit wobbly on his feet, but I would still rather not see him jumping on furniture and climbing in precarious places until some more time has passed. And yet he keeps jumping up, down, up, down, and pacing everywhere.

I've been trying to put him on my lap to settle down (he practically lives on my lap during normal circumstances), but then he jumps down, walks in circles, jumps up in my lap again, then back down after 2 minutes, etc.

Is this normal, or if abnormal, at least not something to worry about?

Edit: He has been eating and drinking plenty of water (not excessively, just as much as if he were extra thirsty).
 
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stephanietx

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Yes, this can be normal for some kitties. My boy was neutered and kept overnight. The vet called me to come get him because he was howling. Got him home and he was agitated, paced, and wouldn't settle for about 6 hours.
 

IndyJones

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Perfectly normal for both cats and dogs to be off for a bit after surgery.

Our old golden was very out of it for a few days after his skin graft for a folicular cancer.
 

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Our guy acted this way after he went under for a dental. Just keep him safe and calm and by morning (after some good sleep) he should be mostly back to normal.
 
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cmshap

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Thanks everyone. He's actually settled down a little bit more since I started this post. He still won't sit in my lap for longer than 5-10 minutes without getting up, but he isn't repeatedly pacing between the living room and kitchen anymore.

He knows he is home, he is appearing comfortable, but it's like he can't decide what he wants. He thinks he wants to be in my lap, then he thinks he's hungry and goes to his food dish, then he changes his mind and comes back to my lap, etc.

I've had a few major surgeries in the past, myself, so I know what it feels like to wake up from general anesthesia and feel loopy. To a cat, it is probably confusing as hell, and I could see some cats converting that confusion into agitation/stress.
 

silent meowlook

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Probably to late to help but, it can be a reaction to the pain medication given after the anesthesia. Make sure to call your vet in the morning so they can record the bad reaction in his chart and hopefully either use a sedative with it next time or use a different medication. It can help to confine them to a small area in the dark that is void of external stimuli.
 
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cmshap

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Probably to late to help but, it can be a reaction to the pain medication given after the anesthesia. Make sure to call your vet in the morning so they can record the bad reaction in his chart and hopefully either use a sedative with it next time or use a different medication.
Not too late to help. He definitely is reacting to something.

The agitation has stopped, but he is still awake as I am writing this, at 5:45am the next morning, about 17 hours post-surgery. I know because I am sleeping on the couch as he won't leave the living room, and I just want to make sure he's okay. He's been just sitting and staring all night.

I've been waking up every now and then and I look for him, and he's never sleeping... just sitting on the floor in a different spot each time, kind of spacing out. He's responsive when I call him, he comes over and purrs/kneads a bit, then leaves shortly thereafter to go space out again.

Also, interestingly, he seems to be drooling a lot because his mouth is always a bit wet whenever he comes over to me. I've been wiping it off, and then it's wet again next time.

I am no stranger to having paradoxical effects to pain meds. In fact, that may be one of the reasons I developed an opioid addiction (which I've been open about on this forum, as someone in recovery). When I would use opioids, I would feel stimulated, rather than sleepy. I could see this possibly being something similar.

I am hoping he will have a big, long sleep all day at some point, when he finally crashes.
 
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cmshap

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Also, interestingly, he seems to be drooling a lot because his mouth is always a bit wet whenever he comes over to me. I've been wiping it off, and then it's wet again next time.
Actually, I'm beginning to suspect it's not drool.

He's been hanging out a lot by his water bowl, and I watched him drink this morning. He appears to be having trouble. He is dipping the whole bottom of his chin/neck into the water while he kind of skims the surface of the water looking for a place to lap (the best way I can describe it), before taking 1-3 laps with his tongue, then he lifts his head out.

I noticed when he was eating food after getting home yesterday, he was having similar struggles. He was like pushing pieces of food around the plate for a while before picking one up.

So, I'm guessing he's thirsty, but still a little disoriented. And he keeps going back to his water dish and sitting by it for long periods of time. I'm not going to worry too much about this because he IS drinking and taking in some water, and the fact that he is persisting at it (his mouth is wet literally every time he comes up to me) means he is taking in fluids.
 

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cmshap

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What kind of surgery was it?
There's a link to the main thread at the top of my first post, but to make a long story short, he has two masses (one under his left ear, and one on his chest/neck) that were biopsied.

If he were facing the other way in the above attached pic, you'd see the surgical site. He has two small incisions on the left side of his face/neck.
 

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Is your vet open today, where they did the surgery? I would call them and see if you can speak to the vet. What is concerning to me is the water interest and intake. I always worry about dehydration in any cat, but especially after surgery. I would definitely call them and let them know what’s going on. Focus more on his thirst when you talk to them.
 

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And for me, I'm more concerned that it's been this long off anesthesia and he still seems out of it. I agree, his thirst and odd way of drinking is "off", I could also imagine that he's parched from the surgery and having his mouth open/tongue out, etc. I could also see that the pain meds could be affecting him. Some of my cats always acted a bit different on the pain meds, so much so that I would taper them off them as soon as I thought I could. Definitely worth talking to your vet about!
 
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cmshap

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I actually just brought him back to the vet. He had been climbing in and out of the litter box for a couple of hours on top of everything else, which I thought was due to constipation. But I observed him actually struggling to pee. I have him at the vet now to check for a urinary blockage.
 

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Do you remember that YT video, "David at the Dentist?"



That's what your cat is going through. ;)
It should clear up within 24-48 hours but it could take a couple-few more days, after that, for your cat to get completely back to normal. If he's getting pain medication, the time to recover could be longer.

If you think your cat is having complications from anesthesia or other problems, you are right to call your vet and take him in to be looked at.

It's a 90% chance that he's just one of those cats that takes a longer time than usual to get over the anesthesia.
 

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cmshap cmshap
I do think he's just slowly coming out of those effects of anesthesia- be interested to see what the Vet says-and when they lie down by their water source it's usually because they are very thirsty- this too can be from both the anesthesia and a side effects of his meds

Glad you took him in with your concerns regarding the litter box behavior

He's going to be okay,praying for little Willy daily( nightly too)
 

Kwik

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Do you remember that YT video, "David at the Dentist?"



That's what your cat is going through. ;)
It should clear up within 24-48 hours but it could take a couple-few more days, after that, for your cat to get completely back to normal. If he's getting pain medication, the time to recover could be longer.

If you think your cat is having complications from anesthesia or other problems, you are right to call your vet and take him in to be looked at.

It's a 90% chance that he's just one of those cats that takes a longer time than usual to get over the anesthesia.
Thsts right, Highly likely- gee,my mother was " one of those cats:" lol She would be out of it for days after anesthesia-had no idea what was going on..... imagine how a poor lil kitty must feel
 
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cmshap

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The vet is currently cathing his bladder, because an ultrasound revealed it was very full, and he was not urinating even a single drop.

The bladder wall did not feel hard, and the muscles were not yet spasming, which would have been signs that he definitely had an obstruction, so she was not 100% sure. But recommended a catheterization.

Normally, she'd recommend taking him straight to an animal hospital for them to do it as they typically leave the catheter in for 24+ hours. But in this case, we opted to cath him at the vets office and send him home with pain meds, then wait and see. He could end up with another obstruction tomorrow, in which case then I'd have to take him to an emergency hospital.
 

Caspers Human

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Not an expert opinion by any means but I think this might be a complication from anesthesia.

Anything that could make a cat go to sleep could also make his bladder muscles "go to sleep" as well. If that happens, of course, he won't be able to urinate properly.

Fingers crossed... Once the medicine gets out of his system, here's hoping he gets back to normal, quickly!

Sending get well vibes! :vibes:

Thoughts and prayers! 🙏
 
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