If your cat is scheduled for an operation that will need stitching, then your vet may have already warned you that they want your pet to wear a protective collar, These collars are usually plastic cones that sit around your cat's neck and extend out around the face. This design prevents your cat from getting its mouth on its wound site. So, the collar will help prevent infections, healing delays and pulled-out stitches.
While few cats are happy to wear collars, they tend to adapt well enough. However, there are a few things you need to know before your cat comes home after surgery.
1. Feeding May Be Difficult
You don't need to take a collar off when a cat feeds. Generally, your pet will adapt to the collar and will find ways to eat and drink. However, your pet may find it hard to use its regular bowls. For example, it may not be able to get into a deeper bowl as easily if the collar gets in the way; bowls that normally sit on the floor may be hard to reach.
In some cases, it may be easier to switch your cat's bowls for flatter options like saucers. Experimenting with raising or lowering bowls to find a comfortable height may also help.
2. Your Cat Can't Go Out
If you have a cat that likes to roam about outdoors, then you may need to be on high alert while it wears a collar. You generally shouldn't let a cat outside while it wears a collar. It may damage the collar or even get it stuck on something and hurt itself. So, if you have a cat flap, then this needs to be locked or blocked. You'll need to take extra care not to let your cat escape when you open external doors, and you may need to keep some windows closed.
3. The Collar Can Do Damage
Your cat's sense of its own body shape and its peripheral vision may be affected by the collar, at least to start with. Your cat may cause some damage if it misjudges a leap or movement and the collar catches on something. So, sweep through your house and look at the places that your cat normally likes to spend time. For example, if your cat likes to sit on a windowsill and you have some plants on there, take the plants off for the time being. The collar may knock them off.
To find out more about what to expect when your cat wears a collar and how to deal with it, ask your veterinary surgery office for advice.