Help the coned one eat!
June 6, 2011 7:55 AM   Subscribe

Cone Kitty and the search for food: How do I help my fluffy cone head manage his conehood?

So last night, I had to take my cat to the ER because one of his anal glands ruptured. They cleaned him up, sent him away with antibiotics and painkillers, and a lovely e-collar. He should be fine in 1-2 weeks, but in the meantime, how do I help him eat and drink? He seems to almost be getting the hang of the litter box with the collar on (raise your head, little guy!), but his reaction to trying to get water has me concerned he might just give up and go without. I have tried to rig food and water up higher and in containers that might be easier for him, but he actually walked away from his favorite wet food because he was so frustrated.

Will he stop being frustrated and figure it out? Some friends have suggested that I take the collar off just for him to eat or whenever I'm home and can watch him. I'm worried this will not help him deal with it while I'm away and therefore only do necessary things when I'm around. Plus, he is still trying to get at his rear even with the collar on. Is there anything else that I can do that might help him besides sit and watch? The crazy cat lady in me is having a rough time of that.
posted by itsacover to Pets & Animals (10 answers total)
Can you get a soft collar? That might be more manageable for him than a cone.

When our cat got coned, he hated it, and we eventually went with just putting it on when we were away or asleep, like your friends suggest. It provided him some relief, though we did have to keep an eye on him. After a few days, though, he learned how to pull the cone off. He hid it behind a chair and we didn't find it for weeks, but he turned out okay anyway.
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:11 AM on June 6, 2011

We had great success with a soft collar. They often get inverted, but it seemed OK when we were trying to prevent licking wounds. Not so useful when we were trying to prevent scratching kitty's head, that required a standard hard cone.
posted by advicepig at 8:19 AM on June 6, 2011

Thirding the soft cone. Worked great for keeping kitty face away from kitty rear. Protip: Reinforce with duct tape around the edges before it begins to wear.
posted by anaelith at 8:21 AM on June 6, 2011

When my dog was coned, we took it off when she ate. Might not work if he is a free-feeder.
posted by radioamy at 8:37 AM on June 6, 2011

Wow, I wish I had known about the soft collar. Two things that may help:

- A water fountain (a great idea regardless)- kitty should be able to drink from the stream without obstruction.

- Raise the food and water bowls. Basically, create a raised platform that the cone can fit around without reaching the floor.

Your cat will (should) settle down pretty quickly from his butt being a constant source of annoyance, at which time you can take his cone off for scheduled feedings and some playtime. Just make sure to keep your eye on him and put the cone back on.
posted by mkultra at 8:37 AM on June 6, 2011

In the absence of a soft collar, a blow-up pillow from the dollar store does a pretty good job. I secured this one with safety pins, but you could always sew snap fasteners on the side flaps if you have the time.

Also, raising the bowls definitely helps. Get a small bowl that has a smaller circumference than the cone.
posted by essexjan at 9:51 AM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I recently had a cat who had to be in a cone for roughly a month to allow large wounds behind his ear to completely heal - if we took it off before, he would scratch and reopen the wounds as the healing process caused them to itch.

Once we elevated his food and water bowl roughly six inches off the ground, he had no issues. I wonder if the cone your cat is wearing is longer than it needs to be, preventing him from getting at the food. Maybe check your local pet supply store to see if a shorter cone is available? Although, the soft collar sounds like it definately could be a better option.

Also, perhaps switch the dish used to serve the food to something larger, perhaps a tray? That way the kitty doesn't have to deal with high edges catching on the cone, and could perhaps reach food 'in the middle'.

Good luck, and give your kitty scritches from me!
posted by waxlight at 1:05 PM on June 6, 2011

I have always ended up cutting the cones down to size so kitty could eat and drink. Otherwise, they just seem to push the plate across the floor.
posted by jocelmeow at 3:47 PM on June 6, 2011

Response by poster: The problem appears now to actually be that he figured out how to get the cone off. I can't seem to secure it tight enough. I will begin trying to find a soft cone tomorrow to see how that goes.

Thanks for the ideas.
posted by itsacover at 10:23 PM on June 6, 2011

If he's getting it off, tie a cloth bandage through the hook/flap things at the collar end. Tie it sort of tight (obviously not so tight you can't slip a finger through it and not so tight he can't swallow). If that doesn't work, get a kitty harness (like for walking dogs) and attach the e-collar to that. There's no way in hell your cat will get out of that.
posted by clone boulevard at 10:37 PM on June 6, 2011

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