The Hervey Foundation for Cats
Is There an Alternative to the Cone for Your Cat?

Is There an Alternative to the Cone for Your Cat?

Cat cones might be uncomfortable and strange looking, but they are used by veterinarians for a very good reason. Being creatures without a language, cats’ behaviours are regulated by their emotions and instincts. When feeling scared, they might do things that are detrimental to their health without realizing the outcome. 

A great example of a cat doing something without realizing the outcome is licking stitches after surgery. With the burred tongues cats have, licking surgery stitches can become a major issue. This can rip the stitches out and cause a lot more problems. Your cat won’t realize what they have done until it is too late, and as their caretaker and owner, it’s up to you to ensure they don’t get into this type of situation. 

Veterinarians know how badly a scared or insecure cat can damage themselves after a medical treatment unless they have something to inhibit them from being able to do so. In a lot of cases, what we affectionately call “The Cone” is brought in to help.

Cones wrap around the neck of an animal to prevent their face from making contact with their body. While this does prevent them from licking areas they shouldn’t, it also makes their lives harder. Lying down to sleep becomes that much harder, scratching itchy spots can’t be done with the mouth or teeth anymore, and for a cat, that can be quite frustrating. 

So, what is the alternative?

The Alternative to the Cone is the Recovery Suit

Cat recovery suits are great alternatives to the cone. These little suits might look similar to a jumpsuit, or “cat’s pyjamas”, providing a simple, less invasive method to cover the area your cat needs to avoid interacting with. 

These little suits come in a range of different shapes, colours and sizes. Some cover the entire body while others may just cover a specific area. For example, some cats might have a problem area on their chest and can simply where a chest piece instead of a full-body suit. 

Since the recovery suit is an alternative to the cone, it should be comfortable for your cat. Be sure to measure your kitty before placing an order for a garment.

Things to Consider

  • These suits are not for every cat. While the cone is invasive and uncomfortable, it does not press down on their body fur. Some cats will oppose the recovery suit simply because any sort of clothing against their fur feels overwhelming to them. People who have owned cats for many years know that while it is not a 100% rule, many cats do not like wearing clothes. 
  • Recovery suits can get dirty quite quickly, therefore you might benefit from purchasing a few and keeping them clean in the laundry cycle. A dirty recovery garment is not going to help stave off bacteria. 
  • Since the recovery suit typically covers the area of recovery, it’s important to check it frequently. You might not immediately realize your cat has bumped their stitches, or something to that effect unless you check up on them. This is a great time to change their suit and wash the previous one!

Know Your Cat/Talk to Your Vet

The only way to know if a recovery suit is appropriate for your cat is to both talk to your vet and know your cat. Your vet won’t have information like how sensitive your cat is to touch, or how much it dislikes having its fur pressed down on by things like clothes or costumes. 

Your vet will, however, know if it’s an appropriate alternative to the type of procedure your cat endures. They have the education and training to best inform your decision. Be sure you are setting up your furry friend in a recovery suit because you think they will benefit from it, not because you think it is cute!

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