How to care for a kitty with a cone on her head

The doctor said to leave the cone on until 2 days after the stitches come out (2/10 is the visit for that) Her neck is itchy where the incision is so I clearly need to keep it on her. But she is going nuts with this thing on her head. Bashing into stuff, playing in the litter because she has to use an open box, struggling to eat and drink. I am home for 3 days so I have been taking it off for her to eat and drink and then putting it back on. But she is used to free feeding and she keeps trying to get a snack. Is there an easier way to deal with her? Or would you just feed her twice a day when I can take the cone off and supervise a meal? Also, I have 2 doses of pain med and they said to give them to her today, but she seems fine. I was going to do one at bedtime tonight and then tomorrow night to stretch them out. Does this seem reasonable? She seems like she feels ok today but cats are so hard to read as far as pain goes.

Asked by Kira on Jan 30th 2009 Tagged ecollar in Illness & Disease
Report this question Get this question's RSS feed Send this question to a friend


  • This question is closed.

Best Answer


Once the stitches come out the collar can come off. You don;t need to leave it on longer than that. You could try to take the collar off at all supervised times but anytime she is unsupervised (bedtime, you leave the house, etc) the the collar should go back on Unless you don't mind having to take he back in to get re-sutured if she rips them out. The other problem is sf she licks at the incision. She could get it infected and if this is the case she she'd need to go back on antibiotics.
It's actually pretty funny when people come in to get the sutures out You can tell when an animal has been licking at their incisions even if the the owner denies it.

Hunter answered on Jan 31st.

Other Answers


Sassy (2001-2012)

You could try changing over to a soft e collar. There are a few different ones out there but they are all made of soft flexible material so that its easier for the pet to eat and more comfortable when they sleep etc. I can get them at my vet and PetCo also sell them so you should be able to get them locally.

Not sure about the pain meds question. Maybe call your vet and ask them for advice as you're right cats can really hide pain.

Sassy (2001-2012) answered on 1/30/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer

Izadore (Izzie)

Don't tell my vet, but when they put a cone on Delilah for her infected tail, I took it off as soon as I got home. She couldn't see with the thing on or eat. I supervised her very carefully so she didn't chew. You'll have to watch Kira so she doesn't rub her face on furniture when the fur starts to grow in and it itches. One of my dogs had the soft e-collar and it was a blessing. It's not as effective as the hard one, but much easier on the animal. As for the pain meds, cats and dogs are very stoic. I'd definitely give Kira a dose at nighttime so you, yourself can get some sleep. It's been a difficult week for you as well as for her and you need your rest. You know Kira well enough to know if she's in pain or not, and if she needs more happy pills, you can ask your vet for some. They usually give the lightest dose to begin with, so don't worry that Kira will get addicted.

Izadore (Izzie) answered on 1/30/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer

Lucy Nooner

Lucy once had to wear an e-collar for 3 months. It was awful but we made it through. It definitely took a day or so for Lucy to figure out how to move around without bonking into walls. I confined her to one room and felt more comfortable having her in one room when I left the house, knowing she wouldn't be roaming and was safe.

I bought a litterbox with low sides so she could get in and out with less problems. I fed her and gave her water in larger bowls and she was better able to eat out of the larger bowls. Also, when in the e-collar, she really likes to sleep in kitty beds with raised sides as she is able to easily rest her head on the side.

No matter what you do, it's a challenge and Lucy hated the e-collar. I kept it on to keep her safe and healthy so she could heal and I kept reminding myself of that (as I just wanted to take the thing off and chuck it into the garbage!). I've heard the soft collars are easier to manage so that may be an option. Take care!

Lucy Nooner answered on 1/30/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


When DustytheDogcat had surgery in December for skin cancer on his tail (not his first cancer surgery, but first on his tail), the vet wanted us to use a cone. I swear, when we got home, I thought Dusty was going to kill himself with that cone. He was trying to gnaw at it (he actually had the rim closest to the neck in his mouth and caught on his canines), he kept pushing the wide end into the floor (cutting off air supply), and trying to run up and down the stairs (we live in a 3-story townhome -- not good). The cone was a nightmare. Within minutes of getting inside and catching Dusty, I removed the cone and stayed very close to Dusty all weekend. He never once bothered with his stitches. And without the cone, he was cooperative with medications. I say, leave the cone off (but hang onto it, just in case). Kira will be just fine. Good luck! And best wishes to Kira for a speedy recovery.

DustytheDogcat©(Dusty) answered on 1/30/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


In our experience with Gracie and her spay (she came out of that in a lot of pain), Kira will let you know if she's not feeling good by not fighting the pill.

We were sent home with five days worth of pain medication (like I said, they must have noticed right away she was in a lot of pain at the vet), and we knew she was feeling better when on the 4th day she put up a fight when pill time came around. Before that, she'd just sit there and let the pill gun do all the work.

Gracie was also annoyed at having to use an e-collar, and at first was finding it hard to eat (drinking was not a problem, we have a fountain). We rigged up a feeding cup that was smaller than the collar (basically, mom filled a ramekin with cat food) and that worked pretty well when I was not stealing her food.

After about a week of this, we called the vet to ask if we could take the collar off 3 days early. She said as long as enough fur had grown on the incision, it was ok, so off it went.

Boris answered on 1/31/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


You could try to locate a soft Elizabethan collar. They sell them at pet stores. Don't take the collar off unless you are supervising your cat at feeding times, etc. My cat had to wear one when she had eye surgery and yes, she was running around bumping into things. It is upsetting to watch, but you need to keep those stitches intact until it is time to have them removed. As for the pain meds, you could try to give her the recommended dosage today. It may relax her somewhat and make her sleep. It probably wouldn't hurt. Yes, cats are difficult to read. They hide their pain very well. Best of luck.

Member 185886 answered on 2/1/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer