What to Do if My Cat Refuses the Elizabethan Collar?
The Elizabethan collar is a protective medical device worn by an animal, usually a cat or dog. Its shape resembles a truncated cone and was designed to prevent animals from biting or licking each other or scratching their heads or necks while healing. However, some cats find it difficult to wear this device as it prevents them from moving normally or performing simple tasks such as drinking water, eating or playing.
In the next oneHOWTO article, you will learn what to do if your cat refuses the Elizabeth collar.
Do not let your cat wear an Elizabethan collar outdoors
Wearing the collar can be stressful for your cat because it restricts their field of vision, especially when they are outside where there are many stimuli. In addition, your cat will not be able to recognize potential dangers.
Additionally, the collar can easily get caught in bushes or on other objects, which prevents the cat from running or jumping around. It is recommended that a cat wearing an e-collar be kept indoors unless it is closely monitored outdoors. If you have a cat that normally goes outside, you should block access to the outdoors during recovery for healing and safety reasons.
Make room for your cat at home
After surgery, there is great hope that your cat will soon be well enough to get up and walk around like they usually do when they are at home. In the meantime, however, your cat will have to get used to wearing a collar, which is much wider than your cat's head. In the first few days, it may be difficult for your cat to move around in the spaces to which they are accustomed, not to mention that they may knock over objects or furniture with the collar.
To prevent your cat from hurting themselves, walk them through the areas of the house where they normally spend time and remove anything that might be in their way.
You should also limit access to tight spaces where your cat could accidentally get trapped by the e-collar, such as under beds and furniture.
Cats are great at hiding and some love to do so. Read this other article to learn more about why cats love to hide in small places.
Make sure the collar is the right size
The Elizabethan collar can be adjusted to the size of the cat. Make sure it fits snugly, but not too tightly, so as not to interfere with the cat's breathing or swallowing. Make sure that you can comfortably slip two fingers between the cat's neck and the Elizabethan collar when putting it on.
If the collar is not adjusted properly, it can cause discomfort and irritation in the neck area. Also, it may slip out as your cat will likely try to take it off.
Also, make sure there are no knots near the collar, which is very common with long-haired cats.
Monitor your cat's daily activities
Daily activities such as drinking, eating, or using the litter box can be quite a challenge for a cat wearing the Elizabethan collar.
Pay attention to your cat's behavior on the first days they wear the collar so you can make any necessary adjustments. It may be necessary to lift the food and water bowls off the floor, use plates or saucers instead of bowls, hand feed your cat, or even cut the edges off the cone. Covered litter boxes may require you to remove the lid so your cat can go in and move around while wearing the collar.
In some cases, you may need to remove the cone while the cat eats or drinks, but you should monitor them closely to make sure they aren't fiddling around with their stitches while the cone is off.
Be sure to clean the collar regularly
Remember that the collar will probably get dirty very often, especially if your cat eats or drinks water while wearing it. If the collar needs to be cleaned, use soap and warm water to clean it and wipe it thoroughly, so it is completely dry before putting it back on your cat. You can also trim the hair on the neck, face, and ears to prevent moisture buildup.
If, on the other hand, you need to temporarily remove the collar to wash it, make sure you or another person watches your cat closely to make sure they do not irritate their wounds.
The collar also prevents your cat from grooming, which can be stressful for a cat. You can help your cat by daily brushing their fur.
As mentioned earlier, wearing an Elizabethan collar can be a stressful experience for a cat. Read this other article for tips on how to treat a stressed cat.
Consider other alternatives
Keep in mind that there are cats that simply cannot get used to wearing the collar, or that the experience is so stressful for them that it interferes with their recovery. If this is the case for you, you may want to consider other alternatives:
- Cat recovery suit or a newborn onesie: these are effective alternatives to cover the sutures, especially the ones on the back and abdomen. You can purchase a recovery suit for cats, or you can try to make one yourself using a newborn onesie. These usually fit cats well. You just need to adjust them by cutting off the area where you want the tail to sit.
- Inflatable collars: these collars are shaped like a donut and wrap around the neck to prevent your cat from reaching the wounds.
- Soft collars: these are softer and more flexible than plastic collars and are also cone-shaped. They are usually made of a flexible combination of nylon and foam.
If you want to know more about how to properly care for your cat after surgery, check out this other article about treating cat wounds.
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