cone of shame

Alternatives to Cat Cones or Donuts to Protect Stitches

cats cones or donuts

Tessa says I ain’t wearing no stinkin’ cat cones or donuts.

Who knew that cat cones or donuts were not the answer to prevent a cat from tearing out her stitches? Last month I wrote about taking our cat Tessa to VCA for a surgery consultation, and sure enough the surgeon suggested surgery. Immediately. Like the next day. Which meant I had to be there bright-eyed and bushy-tailed to drop Tessa off. We knew from the time Pia had surgery, our cat who suddenly had a heart attack from a blood clot, that cat cones or donuts were two options we could try. Pia was miserable with the cat cone, but she finally gave in to the donut. Her donut was somewhere in the house, but after tearing apart out bathroom cabinet, I could not find it anywhere.

Rather than continue searching, my husband bought another donut. Except his had a picture of a dog on the front, and it was a small. Everybody said it was OK, that donuts are for both types of pets, it’s the size that matters. I had my doubts. I couldn’t get it out of my head that if it was meant for a cat, it should have a picture of a cat on the package. Dogs are dogs and cats are cats. They’re different. Have you heard Cindy Lee Berryhill perform her song: I like cats, You like dogs? It grows on you, catchy tune.

cat cones or donuts

Tessa removed her first donut in 3 minutes.

Sure enough, when I brought Tessa home from her surgery, she was wearing a cat cone. I had given the vet assistant the donut, but the assistant claimed she could not blow it up. She tried, she said, and nothing happened. She even tried to use some sort of surgical device to blow it up. Millennials! I imagine she waved it around in the air and when it didn’t magically inflate she gave up. What is so danged hard about blowing up a donut? Even Lauren Bacall knows you put your lips together and blow. It’s like whistling, only easier. I blew it up while I was driving home.

Mommy! Why is that lady’s cheeks so puffy and red in that car?

I asked Tessa which she wanted when I took her out of her carrier. Cat cones or donuts? She was too busy trying to get the cone off her head and running around bumping into things to answer me. The vet said it would a good thing if we could keep her quiet and sequestered, maybe in one room while she healed; however, we have no special room without something to jump on. She definitely had a small hernia, which he repaired. He also biopsied the fat lump but we don’t have the results yet.

Within minutes of attaching Tessa’s collar to the donut and securing it around her neck, she managed to wiggle out of it. I put the cat cone back on her, but she wiggled out of that within 3 seconds. OK, there must be alternatives to cat cones or donuts, I figured, so I drove to Petco. There I discovered a plethora of garments made for, well, mostly dogs, because cats are too danged smart to wear something so stupid. I grabbed a couple of outfits and asked the clerk for assistance. It’s a good thing I did that because she pointed out that every single dress, shirt or jacket made for a small animal has the belly exposed. Which completely defeats my purpose of wanting to protect the stomach.

cat cones or donuts

Pia could not remove her cone, unlike Tessa.

I bought an extra small donut with a picture of a cat on the box and put that around her neck. Fling! Into the air. She was a master now. Fortunately, I had bought dog wraps. Dog wraps are like a diaper with gauze you wrap around the center of the body. Went over like a lead balloon. I was afraid she was gonna hyperventilate. Tessa rolled back and forth like a rabid bat, started to tear at the gauze with her teeth. No, not a good thing.  This was not an alternative to cat cones or donuts. Within minutes she’d been down to her bare belly and biting stitches just to get the thing off.

Next up was an idea from my sister. She thought cutting off the sleeve from a t-shirt and trimming out four holes for feet would work. I cut up one of my t-shirts and slipped it on Tessa. She bolted to the other room like a caffeine-induced junkie. When I scrambled around the corner, I discovered the t-shirt lying on the floor. OK, maybe we needed something tighter. Surely, I have old pantyhose that would work. I chose a textured pattern because the material was softer and not as easy to run.

Using the discarded t-shirt sleeve as a pattern, I cut out four more holes for feet and slipped Tessa into the pantyhose. Just like Houdini, it was lying on the floor with seconds. That settles it, the only thing left to do is chain her to the wall. Just kidding. She’s not licking her stomach or pulling out stitches. She’s taught me she can be trusted. Or, maybe I just got lucky? Well, we all know who rules our house.

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