If your pet has ever recovered from surgery, you’ll remember just how much they hate the Elizabethan collar, aka the “cone of shame” — that stiff plastic cone that goes around their neck, preventing them from licking or tearing out their stitches. In addition to looking uncomfortable, the cone of shame limits their field of vision, and makes it harder for them to eat or drink.
The good news is that there are some more comfortable alternatives to the cone of shame, which will leave you and your pet feeling a little bit calmer.
Dress your pet in a onesie
One of the simplest alternatives for the cone of shame is to dress your cat or small dog in a onesie. A onesie will provide full coverage for your pet, covering their torso, preventing them from licking or tearing at any stitches. It’s also a far more adorable option.
When it comes to putting your pet in a onesie, you’ll need to pick the right size. When I tried this out on my cats, my 5 kg cat needed a nine-month onesie, while my 8 kg cat needed an 18-month onesie. (As you can see from the following photo, Cement, my 8 kg cat, looked very grouchy in his onesie, but that is nothing new.)
Depending on where the stitches are, you might need a full onesie, one that snaps at the bottom, for which you’ll need to cut out a hole for the tail, or if you don’t need quite as much coverage, you can use a baby shirt, which would cover the shoulders and upper stomach.
You might also need to modify the onesie slightly, to make sure that it fits comfortably, whether that’s using a pair of scissors to open up the arm or neck holes, or pinning the torso to make for a snugger fit.
Cut up an old t-shirt
If you don’t have any onesies on hand, another alternative is to cut up an old t-shirt to create a post-surgical suit. For this option, you’ll cut out a large square of fabric, cut four holes for the arms and legs, position your cat or small dog in the leg/arm holes, then use safety pins to fasten everything.
You’ll need to customise the leg and arm holes for your pet, and when it comes to pinning the suit, you’ll want to pin along the top of your pet, rather than the abdomen, for comfort’s sake. If your pet is patient enough, you can try using a darning needle and some yarn to stitch the jacket into place, in place of safety pins. (You’ll have to cut them out of the jacket, but that’s why you use an old t-shirt.)
If you aren’t in the mood for a little DIY, there are also some store-bought alternatives to the stiff plastic collar. Some of these options include a soft collar, which fastens around your pet’s neck, as well as an inflatable collar, which looks like a big fluffy doughnut.
So when your pet gets home from the vet, looking pitiful because of their recent surgery, you’ll have some more comfortable (and adorable) options for them, rather than adding to their indignity with a cone of shame. Just make sure to take a photo.