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7 Cat Cone Alternatives for Recovery

Happy cat resting on a couch
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If you own a cat, chances are that they’ll need to wear a recovery cone at some point during their life. For instance, around 80 percent of all cats in the U.S. are spayed or neutered, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, and when your pet is recovering from this surgery, your veterinarian will likely recommend they wear a cone. Cones may also be used if your pet is injured or suffering from allergies or another ailment. 

However, while some cats tolerate plastic cones just fine, others may become quite distressed while wearing the dreaded “cone of shame.” In this case, there are a variety of cat cone alternatives you may want to use while they heal. 

Our Top Cat Cone Alternatives

Why Do Cats Wear Cones?

Cat wearing a cone at home

Cones are designed to prevent cats from scratching or licking certain areas of their body, and there are a few different reasons your vet might recommend one. “The most common reason for a cat to wear a cone is after having a surgical procedure performed,” explains Dr. Brian Evans, medical director at Dutch. “We also commonly use it to prevent them from licking other wounds, as the constant worrying at one spot will only make it worse and prevent it from healing.”

If your cat is constantly licking or scratching a wound or surgical site, it can cause problems with their stitches or lead to an infection, both of which may be painful and require further vet care. As such, it’s important to follow your vet’s instructions and keep your cat in a cone for as long as needed to ensure proper healing. 

Problems With Cat E-Collars

Cat looking up sad doesn't want to wear collar

Traditional Elizabethan collars, also called E-collars, are made from hard, stiff plastic that extends up around your cat’s head, preventing them from licking other parts of their body.

“We understand that almost no one likes the traditional E-collar,” says Dr. Evans. “However, the reason why veterinarians recommend it is because it tends to be the most effective way to keep your pet away from the area of interest.”

While effective at their job, cat E-collars come with a few downsides. 

Most cats don’t enjoy wearing them. Wearing a cone can be quite stressful for some animals, especially those who are nervous to begin with. Because cones extend up on all sides of your cat’s head, the plastic tends to restrict their vision, as well as their movement, and it can cause them to bump into objects. 

They make eating and drinking difficult. E-collars can also make it challenging for your cat to eat or drink, as they may hit the edges of the cone on the bowl and/or floor. 

They’re not comfortable for sleeping. Since traditional cat cones are made of hard plastic, they don’t provide a plush or cozy sleeping option and may prove uncomfortable for your kitty. 

Types of Cat Cone Alternatives

Cat wearing an alternative cat collar

If your cat is having a hard time adjusting to an E-collar, there are a few other types of products you can use to keep them from bothering wounds. These following are the most common cat cone alternatives:

  • Soft cones: Soft cones are shaped just like a traditional E-collar, but they’re made from a softer material—usually a combination of fabric and padding. They’re still sturdy enough to hold their shape and prevent cats from licking or scratching, but they offer a wider range of motion and have some “give” that makes it easier for your cat to eat, drink, and sleep. 
  • Inflatable cones: Inflatable cones have a doughnut-shaped design that sits around your cat’s head. When inflated, the cone prevents your cat from turning their head to lick, but it offers a better range of vision and movement, allowing them to eat and drink more easily. However, keep in mind that these cones may not work for every cat—some animals are flexible enough to get around them to access their wounds.
  • Surgical suits: Depending on the location of your cat’s injury or problem area, you may also be able to use a surgical suit. These full-body suits will stop your cat from licking without restricting their movement or vision. However surgical suits don’t cover all areas of the body and shouldn’t be used on cats with leg or tail injuries. 

7 Best Cat Cone Alternatives

All featured products are chosen at the discretion of the author. However, Great Pet Care may make a small affiliate commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Best Overall Cat Cone Alternative

Our Pick: WZ PET Adjustable Soft Cone

WZ PET Adjustable Dog Cat Cone,Soft Recovery

If you want to swap out an E-collar for a more comfortable option, the WZ Pet Soft Cone has the same shape, yet it’s made from soft fabric with a layer of padding inside. The cone comes in two sizes to fit all cats — you’ll need to measure your cat’s neck to figure out which size will fit best — and you also have your choice between a blue or pink polka dot design. The cone has a velcro closure to keep it in place on your cat’s neck, and it can be flipped backward to allow your pet to eat and drink more easily. 

Highlights:

  • Multiple sizes.
  • Padded design.
  • More comfortable for sleeping.
  • Flips back for easy eating and drinking. 

Things to Consider:

  • Fabric gets dirty over time.
  • Determined cats may be able to access their legs or lower body.

Best Adjustable Cat Cone Alternative

Our Pick: ANWA Adjustable Cat Cone

ANWA Adjustable Cat Cone Collar Soft

Not only is this fruit-inspired cat cone adorable, but it will also prevent your pet from licking at incisions or wounds on their upper bodies. The doughnut-shaped cone comes in two sizes, depending on your cat’s weight, and it has an elastic cinch in the center that allows you to tighten it onto their neck. Your cat will love that this cone doesn’t restrict their vision or movement as much as regular E-collars, and the cushy design doubles as a comfortable pillow, making it easier for cats to sleep. The cone is machine-washable for easy cleaning, and most cats will be able to eat regularly while wearing it. 

Highlights:

  • Cute design.
  • Multiple sizes. 
  • Doesn’t restrict vision.
  • Comfortable for sleeping.
  • Machine-washable. 

Things to Consider:

  • Not recommended for lower body and leg wounds.

Best Cat Recovery Suit

Our Pick: Suitical Recovery Suit

Suitical Recovery Suit for Cats - Black Camouflage

The Suitical Recovery Suit is a tight-fitting bodysuit that covers most of your cat’s torso. It has holes for their legs and snaps shut in the back, giving your cat full range of motion while covering up wounds on their stomach, chest, or back. It’s made from a lightweight fabric that allows incisions to breathe, and most cats are able to use the litter box while wearing the suit. It comes in four sizes to fit cats of all ages and breeds, and it features elastic protective bands around the neck and leg openings to keep it in place on your cat. 

Highlights:

  • Multiple sizes.
  • Lightweight, breathable fabric. 
  • Doesn’t restrict movement or vision.
  • Most cats can use the litter box while wearing the suit.
  • Machine-washable. 

Things to Consider:

  • Suit doesn’t cover legs and tail.
  • Some cats may chew through the fabric. 

Most Versatile Cat E-Collar Alternative

Our Pick: ARRR UFO Pet Recovery Collar

ARRR Comfy UFO Pet Recovery Collar

This “UFO” Recovery Collar may look a little silly, but it’s definitely a more comfortable option for your cat. It’s made up of three soft rings that encircle your pet’s head, and there’s a drawstring in the center that you can tighten to prevent your cat from wiggling out. The collar is made from a water- and hair-resistant fabric that comes in five different colors, and the rings can be pushed forward for a traditional cone shape or backward to allow your pet to eat. However, because the collar is made for both cats and dogs, there’s only one small size that’s suitable for cats, and you’ll want to be sure that you measure your pet’s body to ensure a proper fit. 

Highlights:

  • Multiple colors. 
  • Can be used in multiple positions.
  • Soft to sleep on.
  • Water-resistant fabric.
  • Doesn’t collect pet hair. 

Things to Consider:

  • Limited cat-friendly sizes. 
  • Determined cats may be able to access their legs or lower body.

Most Affordable Cat Cone Alternative

Our Pick: Bolbove Recovery Cone

Bolbove Pet Plastic Clear Cone Recovery E-Collar for Cats

The Bolbove Recovery Cone is essentially a classic E-collar with a few adjustments. While the majority of the cone is made from hard, translucent plastic that will effectively prevent licking and scratching, it features soft fabric edges that makes it more comfortable on your cat’s neck. The fabric has snap closures to keep it in place, and there are two cat-friendly sizes to choose from, as well as several colors. The cone may still impact your cat’s ability to see and eat, but it will keep them comfortable and prevent them from bothering their wounds.

Highlights:

  • Affordable.
  • Multiple sizes.
  • Soft fabric around the neck.
  • Sturdy plastic construction. 
  • Easy snap closure.

Things to Consider:

  • Limits vision and ability to eat.

Best Inflatable Cat Cone Alternative

Our Pick: MIDOG Inflatable Collar

MIDOG Dog Cone Collar for After Surgery, Pet Inflatable Collar Soft Protective Recovery Cone for Dogs and Cats

The MIDOG Inflatable Collar has an inner PVC tube that you inflate just like a pool float, and it comes with a soft, machine-washable cover that’s comfortable for your cat. The doughnut-shaped design goes around your pet’s head, and it velcros in place using a strap with a durable metal buckle, reducing the chances your cat will be able to get it off. It also has inner straps that you can attach to your pet’s collar for additional security. The inflatable collar comes in several sizes for both cats and dogs, and there are three color options, as well. When you’re done using it, you can simply remove the air from the collar, and it will fold flat for easy storage. 

Highlights:

  • Multiple sizes.
  • Adjustable neck strap.
  • Removable cover.
  • Deflates for easy storage.
  • Durable buckle.

Things to Consider:

  • Determined cats may be able to access their legs or lower body.

Cutest Cat Cone Alternative

Our Pick: SLSON Cat Recovery Collar

SLSON Cat Recovery Collar Soft Pet Cone Collar Protective Cotton Cone Adjustable Fasteners Collar for Cat and Puppy, Yellow

Your cat will look as cute as a button in this flower-shaped soft cone. It comes in two sizes, and it’s made from soft cotton fabric that makes it easier for your cat to eat, sleep, and move around your home. It has a velcro closure that lets you adjust the cone to their neck size, but keep in mind that the fabric is fairly flexible, so your cat may be able to reach wounds on their tail or back legs. 

Highlights:

  • Multiple sizes.
  • Cute design.
  • Not as clunky as an E-collar. 
  • Easier to eat and sleep. 

Things to Consider:

  • Some cats are able to slip out of it.
  • Trim can get wet when your cat drinks.

Cat Cone FAQs

Cat laying on bed feeling sick

How long should a cat wear a cone?

Your cat may need to wear a cone for varying lengths of time, depending on the nature of their surgery or wound. Speak with your veterinarian for guidance on how long your cat should wear their cone to ensure proper healing. 

Do cats need a cone after spaying or neutering?

Most cats need to wear a cone for around 5-7 days after a spay or neuter surgery. This gives the incisions time to heal and may also help prevent your cat from running or jumping around, which can cause the wound to re-open.

How should I feed a cat with a cone?

If your cat has trouble eating while wearing an E-collar, there are a few options you can try. If you will be with your cat the whole time, you can take off the cone during mealtime and monitor them to make sure they don’t lick or scratch. Some cat cone alternatives can be adjusted or flipped down so that your cat has full range of motion while eating. Alternatively, you can try hand-feeding your cat or raise the bowl up a few inches so they can access it more readily.

How can I make a cat comfortable in a cone?

“The traditional cone shouldn’t be uncomfortable, per se, just inconvenient,” explains Dr. Evans. “You can talk with your vet about removing the collar while they are eating meals, drinking, or sitting on your lap.”

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