The Different Types of Elizabethan Collars or E-Collars for Cats

A cat wearing an Elizabethan collar or E-collar.
A cat wearing an Elizabethan collar or E-collar.

Elizabethan collars (known as an “E-collars” in vet lingo or the “cones of shame” on social media) prevent cats from licking or chewing surgery suture sites. I won’t sugarcoat it: Cats hate E-collars.

1. Lampshade

E-Collars for cats, traditional Elizabethan collar.
A cat wearing a traditional E-collar. Photography ©maxsattana | Thinkstock.

The old style, opaque “lampshade” type is particularly loathed, mainly because it robs the cat of his peripheral vision (in addition to interfering with eating and grooming).

2. Clear Plastic

A clear plastic E-Collar for cats.
A clear plastic E-collar for cats.

Clear plastic E-collars allow for some peripheral vision but are still uncomfortable.

3. Soft E-Collars

A cat modeling a soft E-Collar.
A cat modeling a soft E-collar.

In the last few years, a number of pet supply manufacturers have devised a variety of alternative types of E-collars, including a soft E-collar that can be turned downward so that it acts as a bib, preventing the cat from fussing with the incision while not affecting peripheral vision or eating. These collars are surprisingly well-tolerated by cats.

4. Donut

A cat in an inflatable donut E-Collar.
A cat in an inflatable donut E-collar.

Another style is that of an inflatable “donut” that goes around the cat’s neck, resembling pillows that people use on airplanes when traveling. In my experience, cats dislike these only marginally less than the old lampshade-type collar, although I’ve had a few patients who didn’t mind them.

Tell us: How do your cats react when they wear E-collars? What Elizabethan collar works best for your cat?

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2 thoughts on “The Different Types of Elizabethan Collars or E-Collars for Cats”

  1. My 18 yr old, tri-pod had a bladder stone removed, & couldn’t tolerate a cone. I bought an ACE tennis elbow brace, & so far, so good. Maybe a younger, more agile cat could still bend her neck enough to get at her belly, but for us, this seems to fit the bill!

  2. My senior cat has had a few occasions where she has needed stitches or wound care on her belly, and instead of an E collar, her vet recommended I put a little baby t shirt on her instead to keep her from licking or biting at her belly. Surprisingly, this has worked great for her! She doesn’t seem to mind it and she has much better mobility/functionality than with that dreaded “cone of shame.”

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