How to water Elizabethan cat?
February 1, 2014 9:52 AM   Subscribe

Cat with cone needs to drink.

Our cat had pretty extensive surgery to remove five mast cell tumors. So he has holes. He is wearing an elizabethan collar. It is too large for him to eat, but if we cut it down he will be able to access his stiches. It's ok for meal times because he'll eat quickly if we take it off and observe him eating, but he won't seem to drink water while we're watching. He's only eats dry food (we tried), and especially given the weather, etc. he does not need to be dehydrated right now. That would be bad. We've thought of smaller raised bowls, but he just knocks into the side with his cone.

Any suggestions?
posted by Luminiferous Ether to Pets & Animals (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Can you try a tall glass, like a pint glass filled to the rim?

Maybe keep the glass in the bathtub, or at least on some towels in the kitchen if he does knock it over.

Also I bet your vets office would have some suggestions for you. Cats can take subcutaneous injections of water at home, if you really don't find a way to get him to drink.
posted by fontophilic at 10:03 AM on February 1, 2014

What you need are wide bowls, not small raised ones. Say, as big around as a salad plate. Place them against a wall. He'll learn how to lean in to the bowl (that's why it's next to the wall, so he doesn't scoot it across the room).
posted by Houstonian at 10:04 AM on February 1, 2014

If you left a trickle of water running from the bathtub faucet, would he be able to get his en-coned head under the faucet to drink?

I've known several cats who love to drink out of a running faucet.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 10:05 AM on February 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Cats generally adjust to the collar after a day or two. In the meantime, if you are really concerned and have a syringe or dropper, you can pry his mouth open and squirt in a few drops at a time, or you can dip you finger in water and rub it on his mouth. He will lick it off.
posted by clarkstonian at 10:05 AM on February 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Add 1-2tbsp of water to his food. Just small enough that he might not notice.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 10:12 AM on February 1, 2014

I vote for bathtub faucet as well. He might bug you later to turn it on for him again. A nice big (wide) bowl of water at the other end would be a good idea too.
posted by maryr at 10:59 AM on February 1, 2014

how about a squeezeable baby bottle, with a slightly enlarged nipple aperture that you can squirt through? you could smear worcestershire sauce on the end of the nipple so the cat will take immediate interest.
posted by bruce at 11:13 AM on February 1, 2014

How about one of those water bottles for rodents that has a long spout.
posted by effluvia at 11:54 AM on February 1, 2014

Response by poster: Oh, stupid omission: kitty is not allowed to do any jumping while he is recovering. One of the incisions is right near his shoulder so he really can't do much moving around. Even getting into the bathtub with stools is probably too much. The bathroom is the only place in our one-bedroom he can't jump up on anything so he's locked in there.

The dropper thing worked once until he figured out what we were doing now he just looks away. I know cats are not the best at diagnosing how thirsty they are, and this makes things difficult. Keep the suggestions coming!

Here's a picture of him before the surgery when he was being a stealth ninja cat and not being very good at it.
posted by Luminiferous Ether at 3:06 PM on February 1, 2014

I agree with Houstonian: try a large, wide container he can dip his head (and cone) into.
posted by moira at 4:14 PM on February 1, 2014

I wonder- would a collar that extends out to the sides (rather than to the front like the classic cone) work better for him? Maybe something like this? There are also some more ideas in this previous askme, including an answer with an excellent picture of essexjan's cat wearing an inflatable travel pillow.
posted by Secretariat at 5:33 PM on February 1, 2014

Oh, and probably not a great idea to feed a cat worcestershire sauce - it contains onions and garlic, which are toxic to cats. If you did need to squirt something in a cat's mouth a syringe without a needle is the usual tool. (Which, personally, I'd probably consult with a vet before voluntarily deciding this was going to be the easiest solution. I think my cats would resist and spit food or water everywhere. Some cats might be ok with it, though.)
posted by Secretariat at 5:49 PM on February 1, 2014

Even cats who don't eat wet cat food can be tempted by chicken puree baby food (no onions or garlic added), with extra water if need be. If chicken puree doesn't work, you can try tuna or other canned fish, beef, whatever. But if you make them soupy, they get a lot of liquid with the food in but eat it quickly so you don't need to sit there waiting.
posted by jeather at 7:15 PM on February 1, 2014

Oh, what a handsome kitty!

Since the stitches are up around his shoulders, how about going the other way, and finding a dog sweater to put on your cat that will cover the stitches so he can drink his water without a cone?

Normally ai wouldn't suggest dressing up a cat because they seem to want so much to be dignified creatures, but the cone has already rendered that point moot.
posted by misha at 7:16 PM on February 1, 2014

If all else fails, subcutaneous fluids and the stuff to do them at home with are cheap - my vet sent me home with the fluids, extra tubing, several needles/syringes, and a sharps container for less than $10. I'm very needle-adverse. But with youtube videos, and one heck of a lot of "I've gotta do this or [my kid's cat] is going to die before he can get home to see her" I made it through. (Happy note: She was given a 2-3 months at-most-with-a-lot-of-luck life expectancy July 29 - yes, six months ago and is still going strong - I am SO glad I forced myself to do it!)

Oooh... except, dummy me, I just realized this may not even be an option for you if she has stitching in the shoulder area. I'm sorry.
posted by stormyteal at 7:25 PM on February 1, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks everyone! We mixed water into his food and he ate some of it! We also did the dropper thing and he hated it and we're going to keep doing it! Deal with it thirsty cat!
posted by Luminiferous Ether at 7:33 PM on February 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

One of our cats had the e-collar after surgery not long ago. I filled a shot glass with water and held it for him to drink from every so often, and he loved it.
posted by salix at 2:30 AM on February 2, 2014

When our cat had to wear the cone, we tried it backwards (so it flared out around her body instead of her head). She had to walk more carefully (which turned out to be good because she also couldn't jump), but she could eat and she couldn't reach her stitches.
posted by dogmom at 6:54 AM on February 2, 2014 [3 favorites]

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