Don’t get caught unawares like I did. A few years ago my white cat had surgery for an abscess in which the vet decided to put drainage tubes into the abscess skin pocket which drained out in several places. The look of rubber tubes coming out of his skin was quite shocking but even more upsetting was my cat’s reaction to wearing a plastic hard collar. He absolutely detested it and initially shook his head until it came off and it had to be tied on tighter. He continued to writhe with the collar on. When he got home he was so spatially disoriented, walking with the cone he bumped into walls and doors and his light body bounced this way and that way, causing him to crash on the floor with each movement. He had to relearn his body space. It horrified me and I felt helpless!
Also he had a lot of trouble with eating and drinking with the cone on and refused for several days causing me further distress but I didn’t think I could take it off of him due to his surface tubes that were stitched just under the skin and out. It wouldn’t take much to cause some serious damage to them. Of course I called the vet in a state of distress that my cat was not drinking any water…
I came close to having to take my cat in for some intravenous fluid support only minutes before he finally took a very long drink of water in a bowl that I put in the middle of my backyard. It’s stressful experiences like this, for both animal and caregiver, that have resulted in some veterinarians choosing to recommend soft cones and inflatable collars as alternative options for post surgery.
The problem was that I never anticipated the challenges of this situation, causing considerble stress… but there are, in fact, options to consider. My cat, Max, recently went through surgery where the vet offered me a hard plastic cone after a few days when my cat started to pull at his stitches. My vet also recommended other options such as an inflatable collar but did not carry them, referring me to a pet pharmacy to buy one. I began searching for other options such as shirts, vests and jackets and found some better solutions that worked well for my tuxedo cat, Max.