How Does a Cat Eat While Wearing an Elizabethan Collar?

You can take the Elizabethan collar off to feed her.
You can take the Elizabethan collar off to feed her. (Image: Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Watching your kitty recover from a medical ailment is gut-wrenching all on its own. But then as soon as you bring her home, she has to wear a massive cone on her head, known as the Elizabethan collar, or E-collar for short. The collar limits your furry chum’s ability to reach the rest of her body. Your vet will recommend an E-collar after surgeries, if Muffin has hot spots or if she has another type of wound she shouldn’t be picking at. Muffin can eat while wearing her special collar, it just takes a little work.

Special Dishes

Changing the type of dish you have for Muffin can make it easier for her to eat. If you leave her food and water in bowls, she could have a harder time getting the nourishment she needs. Rather than her signature feeding dish, put her food and water on a plate or saucer. The larger eating surface gives her more opportunity to nibble her food and lap up her water.

Elevating Platters

Once you find just the right platter for Muffin’s food and water, you’ll need to elevate it. Putting her food up high can make it easier for her to eat if she’s struggling to feed herself from a dish on the floor. Cover an old phone book or low-lying shoebox with a towel to make a sturdy feeding spot. Simply place her saucers on top of the elevated step and see how she does. She’ll probably find it more convenient to eat and drink.

Feeding by Hand

Some kitties have a hard time nourishing themselves no matter how much effort you put into their eating station. If Muffin won’t eat for a day or two with her Elizabethan collar on, feeding her by hand may be another option. Place her kibble or little balls of wet food on your hand and offer it to her. Petting her and talking to her can soothe her, enticing her to eat. If she’s not drinking either, you can give her water through a syringe, although you’ll want to have your veterinarian show you how beforehand.

Taking the Collar Off

You can also take the Elizabethan collar off to let Muffin eat. However, only do this as a last resort, since getting her to hold still to get it back on can be tricky. Remove the collar, let her eat and drink under your supervision, and then put it right back on. If you take it off and walk away, she might pick at her wound, further delaying her recovery time and the time she has to keep the cone on.

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