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Home > Cats > How To Feed a Cat With A Cone: 6 Great Tips

How To Feed a Cat With A Cone: 6 Great Tips

cat wearing cone

Cats are America’s 2nd-favorite pets for a good reason; they make our lives more enjoyable. Unfortunately, like all living creatures, your cat will occasionally have an accident or injury. When that happens, your veterinarian may prescribe an Elizabethan collar, commonly referred to as a cone, to help them heal.

Cones are incredibly helpful as they prevent your cat from chewing, licking, or scratching at its wound or injury. Cones help your cat heal, but they pose one small problem: they can get in the way when your cat tries to eat. To help, we have six great tips below to help your feline heal and get a good meal. Read on to discover them all and help your favorite feline stay fed while they get better.


The 6 Tips to Feed a Cat with a Cone

1. Elevate your Cat’s Water & Food Bowls to make Access Easier

While wearing a cone, your cat will likely have issues getting its mouth and tongue near its water and food. Elevating both bowls will often solve the problem, allowing your feline friend to access its water and food better while wearing its cone.

Elevating your cat’s bowl on a slight angle can also help, although you will likely need to stabilize it somehow. How high should you elevate the bowls? About 2 to 4 inches off the ground should do the trick.

2. Change Your Cat’s Water & Food Bowls to Small Saucers

A food or water bowl, being bowl-shaped, can make eating and drinking difficult for your cat because the cone hits the edge of the bowl. Changing the bowls to saucers can help since there’s no raised edge. One caveat, however, is choosing saucers with a smaller diameter than the cone on your cat’s fuzzy head.

That way, when they go to eat or drink, the saucer will fit inside the cone and not get in the way. Keep in mind that it might take a few tries for your cat to get used to this temporary eating arrangement. Any help you can give will be appreciated by your pet as they heal.

British Shorthair cat in the Protective Collar for After Surgery at home eats wet food from a bowl
Image Credit: Lilia Solonari, Shutterstock

3. Use a Different Type of Cone

If your cat has never needed a cone before, you might not realize there are several different kinds. Technically, there are two types of cones: hard plastic cones and soft cones made from softer materials, including nylon. Some cones are flexible and make it easier for your cat to move around and eat while wearing them. There are even smaller cat cones made specifically for kittens and made with softer, lightweight PVC with padding around the edges.

It might take some experimentation, but eventually, you’ll find a cone that empowers your cat to eat and drink while it’s healing. However, a hard, plastic cone might be the only kind your cat can wear while recovering. In other words, check with your veterinarian before you purchase something different than the cone given to your cat at their office.

4. Feed Your Cat by Hand while Wearing the Cone

If you have the time and energy, you might consider feeding your cat by hand while they’re wearing a cone. Feeding a cat by hand can be messy, especially if your cat is used to eating wet food rather than dry. In that case, a spoon and lots of patience will be necessary.

As for water, holding your cat’s water bowl under their mouth while they drink is ideal. The good news is that after a few days, your cat should be able to eat on its own while wearing its cone.

person scooping out dry cat food out of bag with their hand
Image Credit: Ekaterina_Minaeva, Shutterstock

5. Temporarily Remove Your Cat’s Cone

While not highly recommended by veterinarians, removing your cat’s cone while they eat is an option that can work. You should know, however, that it might be difficult to put the cone back on in the correct position. Also, you’ll need to supervise your cat while they eat to ensure they don’t start licking, scratching, or otherwise messing with their wound or injury.

In some cases, your cat might have a condition, issue, or injury that prevents you from removing the cone. Talk to your vet first to ensure it’s okay and won’t cause any additional problems for your kitty. The last thing you want is to try and help your cat and hurt them more instead.

6. Use an Inflatable Cone on Your Cat

Our last great tip is to use an inflatable cone. Inflatable cones look more like a donut than a cone and, for a little fun, come with various decorations. As the name suggests, you inflate the cone and place it over your cat’s neck. Because it’s shaped like a donut, there’s no edge to hit their water or food bowl, making it much easier for your cat to eat and drink.

Before purchasing an inflatable cone, you should contact your veterinarian and ensure it’s okay based on your cat’s specific injury.

Blue protection collar for Animals
Image Credit: Birgit Reitz-Hofmann, Shutterstock


Can Cats Sleep while Wearing a Cone?

It’s normal to worry that your cat might have problems sleeping while wearing a cone since they’re rather large and bulky. However, millions of cats have slept, eaten, gone potty, and performed other daily activities while wearing a cone with few problems.

Sure, a cone is uncomfortable, and your cat will likely hate theirs, but besides being problematic when it comes to eating, most other activities shouldn’t be a problem.

The domestic gray British Shorthair cat lies in the Protective Collar for After Surgery at home in a basket and sleeps.
Image Credit: Lilia Solonari, Shutterstock

Should You Leave a Cat Alone While it Wears a Cone?

Cat cones, while not inherently dangerous, pose several issues you must address. One of those is whether you should leave your cat alone while it’s wearing a cone. Veterinarians recommend that you don’t or only leave them alone for short periods. That way, your cat won’t have enough time to figure out how to take off their cone and reinjure itself.

It’s highly recommended that, when you leave your cat alone wearing a cone, you leave it in a room where there are very few objects it can knock over. Unfortunately, even though cats are incredibly nimble and flexible, wearing a cone turns them into clumsy fur balls. Removing anything they can knock over will keep your cat from destroying items and injuring itself.


Final Thoughts

An Elizabethan collar or, as most of us know it, a cat cone, can make the difference between your cat recovering in a few days or re-injuring itself constantly and needing much more time to heal. The problem is that cones can get in the way of your cat feeding itself and drinking water.

Hopefully, the great tips we’ve shared today will allow your cat to eat and drink with few issues and get the nutrition it needs to recover quickly. While your cat might hate its cone, ensuring it can eat and drink while wearing it correctly is essential. The faster your cat can adapt to the cone, the faster it will heal and be able to get rid of the silly thing for good.

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

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