How to Keep a Cat from Licking Its Sutures

Don't let your cat switch his E-collar onto the dog.

Don't let your cat switch his E-collar onto the dog.

When your cat has had surgery or sustained an injury that requires sutures, it can be an uphill battle trying to keep him from licking his stitches. It's vital to the healing of the wound, though, that you not allow him to disturb the sutures or get them wet.

Elizabethan Collar

Measure your cat's neck with the tape measure.

Draw a circle in the center of the paper plate using a pencil. Make the circumference the same size as the measurement of your cat's neck.

Cut a slit from the edge of the paper plate to the edge of your penciled circle, then cut out around the pencil line. This will create a hole in the middle of the paper plate.

Open the paper plate along the slit you've cut, taking care not to tear the plate. Place the plate around your cat's neck, overlapping the outer edges just a little to create a slight cone shape.

Secure the overlapped edges of the plate with masking tape.

Bandaging

Cut a small piece of gauze to a size that will just cover your cat's sutures.

Cut several strips of medical adhesive tape and attach them to the edge of a counter or table to keep them handy.

Place the gauze over your cat's stitches, applying the pieces of tape over it to hold the gauze in place.

Items you will need

  • Paper plate
  • Scissors
  • Cloth tape measure
  • Masking tape
  • Pencil
  • Gauze
  • Medical adhesive tape

Tips

  • You can purchase a commercially made Elizabethan collar for your cat from the vet or at a pet supply store. Measure your cat's neck as described here so that you can buy the correct size.
  • There are topical ointments formulated with a bitter taste to discourage your cat from licking an area he's not supposed to. Ask your vet if it's safe to apply these products to your pet's wound.
  • Muzzles are an alternative to an E-collar or bandaging. They cover the eyes as well as your cat's nose and mouth area. Covering this much of your cat's face is supposed to calm him down, but many cats won't tolerate their faces being covered in this manner. If you want to try a muzzle, be prepared that it may not work for your cat.

Warnings

  • When measuring your cat's neck for a homemade E-collar, don't pull the tape too tight. It is better to leave it just a little loose so that when you cut the hole in the paper plate it won't be too tight.
  • When applying the medical tape to the gauze, you'll only want it to adhere to the shaved area around your cat's sutures. If the tape extends over the shaved skin onto an area with fur, it may not keep the bandage in place and will be easy for your cat to remove if he's so inclined.
 

References

About the Author

Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.

Photo Credits

  • Janie Airey/Lifesize/Getty Images