How Do You Feed a Cat With a Collar On?

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Cats and dogs must wear protective collars after surgery.
Cats and dogs must wear protective collars after surgery. (Image: Dean Golja/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

After surgery, veterinarians often affix cats with a removable Elizabethan collar, also called an e-collar. The plastic, cone-shaped e-collar extends beyond the cat’s muzzle, preventing it from biting at itchy surgery stitches and opening up wounds. For the same reasons, the e-collar prevents cats from accessing their food and water bowls. Food and water are especially important while your pet is in recovery. Take special care to feed your cat normally while he’s wearing the e-collar.

Prepare the quantity and type of food the veterinarian recommends after surgery. Many pets don’t need to eat and will refuse food the day they return from surgery, but will return to a normal diet the day after that.

Lift the food bowl up to the cat’s mouth so it can access the food while wearing the collar. Also, you can remove the collar during meal time and supervise the cat while it eats.

Offer your cat as much water as it wants. Either lift the bowl up to the cat’s mouth or take the collar off and let it drink at least once an hour.

Tips & Warnings

  • Pets 4 months old and younger must eat the night after surgery. If your cat refuses food, rub a little maple syrup or corn syrup on its gums.

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