Many owners and cats have reservations about the ‘cone’ that cats have to wear to prevent them licking at their stitches or surgical site. Although the cone can be difficult for some cats to adjust to, it performs a really important role. Cats will naturally lick at a wound to clean it. In this case, the incision was made under sterile conditions and doesn’t need cleaning; in fact, the bacteria inside a cat’s mouth will actually introduce more bacteria into the surgical area. This can lead to nasty infections, a longer recovery time, increased costs and… being back in the cone! Although most cats who have been spayed require some protection for the incision, after castration a cone is sometimes not required as the incisions are very small – your vet will give you their recommendation on this for your cat.
There are some alternatives to the cone available, such as specially designed ‘onesies’, which may be more suitable to your cat. Some owners also fashion protective wear out of human clothes such as babygrows, but care should be taken in these cases as they may be easier for your cat to get around.
If your pet struggles to eat with the cone on, there is no problem removing it for mealtimes – just remember to watch your cat, and replace the cone once they have finished.