How to Keep Your Cat from Ripping Out Her Stitches

Kitty having fun with her stitches?

Kitty having fun with her stitches?

Fluffy made it through surgery OK, only to pull on her stitches nonstop. Unless you want to follow her around 24-7 saying "Stop it," your best bet might be to cover the incision. Just keep in mind that cats are resourceful and stubborn and will get to the stitches eventually.

Get Kitty a "cone of shame." This is the typical white or clear plastic cone—officially called an Elizabethan collar—that ties up around the neck and prevents an animal from reaching his incision. Cats tend to hate E-collars and might show their protest by crying a lot, so patience is in order.

Play dress-up. A baby T-shirt or onesie can be an excellent cover if the stitches are in the body. Kitty will probably hate you for it, but this is actually more comfortable than the E-collar. Just make sure that the item of clothing is tight enough that your cat won't be able to dig under it and lick or bite the stitches anyway.

Give your vet a quick call. Some cats lick and pull on stitches if they're in pain and uncomfortable—of course, some lick because they can't stand the idea of stitches on their bodies, and that's another story. If your vet didn't send you home with anti-inflammatories or pain medication, ask him if they could help.


  • Some vets use glue or staples instead of stitches to prevent animals from opening up the wound. If your cat has already managed to rip out her stitches and needs the incision to be closed again, ask your vet if there are other options that would work better.

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About the Author

Tammy Dray has been writing since 1996. She specializes in health, wellness and travel topics and has credits in various publications including Woman's Day, Marie Claire, Adirondack Life and Self. She is also a seasoned independent traveler and a certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant. Dray is pursuing a criminal justice degree at Penn Foster College.

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