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Why Is My Cat Licking the Inside Of Their Cone? (How To Stop)

As a cat parent, you may not have had to experience your cat needing to wear a cone. I had been a cat parent for a few years before one of my felines needed abdominal surgery for an intestinal tumor. The vet put a cone on Jimmy until his incision healed.

My first thought was, “This is barbaric.” I don’t know who this was harder on, Jimmy or me. Not all cats need a cone and never bother the wound site. They are few indeed.

There are a few names for cat collars, such as,

  • Elizabethan Collar
  • E-Collar
  • E-Cone
  • Collar of Shame

These collars are made of different materials, like hard plastic, soft plastic, rubber, or fabric.

This collar is not as brutal as it looks or you would think it to be. This collar must be used for the following reasons.

  • To keep the kitty from licking and chewing on its wounds
  • To speed the healing process
  • To keep the cat from licking at and pulling its stitches out

If your cat keeps licking and pulling at its stitches until they come out, the wound will come apart. The worst scenario is that the kitty gets a life-threatening infection or bleeds to death. Suddenly, this collar does not sound too darn bad. 

Your kitty is much like a little child; they do not know what is best for them. But, know that cats are also masters at adaption.

Your cat will adapt, but probably not before they attempt to slip out of this cone. Be vigilant that this does not happen. I have seen some cats tear the strips holding the cone apart to get it off.

Why is My Cat Licking the Inside of Their Cone? 

If your cat is injured or has surgery, your vet may order an E-Cone to keep the cat from fussing at the wound.

Believe me when I say your cat will not like this cone any more than you do, but it is a short-term necessity and does not last forever.

If surgery is soon for your kitty, ask the vet if you can get an E-collar for your cat to wear before surgery so they can get used to wearing the collar.

In my opinion, post-surgery and a cone in one day are two terrific shocks to your kitty.

Why not introduce the collar to your cat before surgery to (maybe) help them get used to wearing the collar?

The stricter you are with this cone, the sooner your cat will be resigned to wearing it. Some cat parents may remove the cone so the kitty can eat and drink better.

However, many cats do not find it a problem to eat, drink, play, or sleep with a cone in place.

Your vet may put a cone on your cat for most common surgeries like spaying and neutering. It is not unusual to see your cat licking the inside of the cone.

But, still, you may wonder why your cat is constantly licking. My first thought was that the cat was trying to get out of the cone and make it go away.

Perhaps your cat does not bother the wound and stitches, thus they do not need this collar. If you have ever had stitches, you know that eventually, they start to itch as they heal, and all you want to do is scratch at them. A cat is no different.

  • Cats are masters at licking. Some cats are worse than others. Cats lick to keep clean. When a cat is wearing a cone, it is not surprising that they lick the inside to keep it clean.
  • Another reason they lick the collar is to make it go away.
  • Most cats can get used to eating and drinking with a collar on. There is a possibility that your cat is thirsty, so licks the collar. Make sure it is drinking lots of water to prevent dehydration.
  • These collars are not in the way if the kitty must use the litter pan. However, cats must clean their hinnies after using the litter pan, and they cannot do this hygiene, so I would remove the collar under observation.
  • Licking helps the cat to remove some of the stress of wearing this dreaded collar.
  • Cats do not adjust to confinement well, and an E-collar confines them, so they will lick the collar to death trying to get it off.

If you remove the collar at mealtimes, for drinking, and litter pan use, do this only if you can stay with your cat to observe them, making sure they leave the wound area alone.

How to Stop My Cat from Licking the Inside of Their Cone? 

Your vet will tell you how long your cat needs to wear a collar. You should follow your doctor’s recommendations for a speedy recovery. You must remain vigilant, ensuring your cat drinks sufficient water and continues to eat.

Drinking avoids dehydration, and eating adequate amounts of foods helps with the healing process. Cats do adjust to eating and drinking with cones. Cats do not seem to have a problem sleeping with a collar on.

  • If your kitty is still having problems, you could try to raise its water and food bowls, making them easier to reach.
  • I never worried about trying to think of ways to stop my cat from licking the inside of their cone. It was bad enough that they had to wear the cone. My cat was not hurting itself, nor could they damage the cone by licking it. I simply let them lick away, but I did try some interventions to help deter the licking.
  • If your cat enjoys a bit of catnip, ensure they get a bit more while in the collar. Catnip may help to relax your cat and accept the collar quicker.
  • If your cat is prone to going outside, please never let them outside until its wounds are completely healed. And never let your cat outside with a collar in place; this is dangerous.
  • I feel that trying to keep your cat from licking the inside of its cone is yet one more confinement they do not need.
  • Cats love to go outside and nibble on grass which is also soothing to the stomach. You could purchase a cat grass plant and a fresh catnip plant. Place the cat grass in an easy-to-reach place to nibble on at will. Allow your cat to nibble on the catnip plant at intervals during the day.

I never sit out a catnip plant because my cats tear it apart and will shake it apart, getting dirt all over the floor. I give them the catnip plant under supervision. I may break off a few leaves for them to eat as a treat and then put the plant where they cannot get it.

Cone Alternatives

If the cone your cat is wearing is making life highly miserable for the kitty, it cannot get used to wearing the collar and seems to lick the inside constantly; talk with your vet about an alternative.

Some alternatives to wearing a cat collar are as follows. Your vet may have some for sale or you can search for these on Amazon. It is wise to speak to your vet before surgery to see what they recommend if the collar does not work well. Have an alternative on hand.

You must look at the pros and cons of each of these alternatives and use caution. Do your research and talk it over with your vet.

  • BiteNot Collar
  • ProCollar Premium Collar
  • Kong EZ Soft Collar
  • The Comfier
  • The Boobooloon
  • Optivison/Novaguard
  • Soft Fabric E-Collar