That notorious cone collar: turns your kitty’s head into a lampshade, right? If Scruffy is pulling out his fur or has a set of stitches, it’s necessary to keep him from nipping at his body. There are other things you can do, however, that might be a little less obtrusive.
Ask your veterinarian about a neck brace. These collars are just like human neck braces. They force your companion to keep his neck straight, limiting his ability to reach those itchy stitches on his belly. He won’t like not being able to lick his rear end, but it should be easier for him to eat and drink, versus when he had that cone on his head.
If Scruffy has seasonal hot spots and pulls out chunks of fur on his paw, using a bitter spray can help. Pick up a bottle of spray or lotion specifically designed for wounds – it’ll be labeled as a type that can be put directly on his skin. Bitter products work by making the area taste terrible. Apply it when he’s distracted while his nose is buried in his evening entrée. The next time he goes to take a bath, he’ll quickly realize that his paw tastes nasty. He won’t want to lick there anymore. Because wounds can be very sensitive, don’t apply the product directly to a hot spot or open sore. Instead, put it on a cotton swab and dab it on the surrounding fur.
Yes, you read that right: clothing. Pick up a cute kitty T-shirt or sweater at the pet boutique. If Scruffy's wound is on his torso, that top will cover it so he can't get to it. However, shirts won't work if his sore is on his paw. In this case it might be helpful to cover it with gauze and bandage wrap.
Keeping Scruffy entertained is just as important as keeping him away from his tender spot. If he’s bored, he’ll be more inclined to sniff around at his stitches or pull out his fur. While recovering from surgery, your vet will probably want him to take it easy for a few days and lie around as much as possible. Make an extra effort to sit next to him, give him extra love and tell him about your day. It can also be helpful to wiggle a dangly wand toy in front of him while he’s lying down. At least he’ll be able to bat around for a few moments and forget all about that booboo on his belly.
Don’t get rid of that Elizabethan or cone collar just yet. You can’t always keep an eye on Scruffy and you don’t want him ripping out his stitches while you’re in the shower. Keep it nearby and put in on him during those times when you can’t closely monitor him. Depending on the area he needs to stay away from, you may be able to get a smaller E-collar that doesn’t completely bury his head. Talk with your vet about your concerns and follow her advice so your beloved buddy can get back to his old self as soon as possible.
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.