Have you heard of the ‘cone of shame?’ Just like what the name suggests, this cone that you put on cats isn’t exactly the most flattering of accessories. It’s useful, yes, but your cat won’t like it, and the first few times she has to wear it, it might even stress her out as she tries to adjust. So why must you be forced to pay for one? The good news is, you don’t have to as long as you know how to make a cone for a cat anyway.
There are plenty of benefits to be found in making one yourself. It’s a fun side project, it’ll help you save money, you’ll be able to show your cat that you care, and perhaps you can use your creativity to make it look less like a ‘cone of shame’ to spare your cat some dignity. Best of all, with a custom-made cat cone, it will be easier for you to make adjustments because it’s your own creation. You’ll be able to make it comfortable for your cat, so she will adjust to wearing this cone faster.
In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about this device. First of all, we’ll start by explaining the functions that cat cones serve and when exactly you’ll find a use for them. Next, we’ll provide a guideline on how to make five different DIY cat cones using common household tools and supplies. We will also let you know how you can help your cat feel more comfortable while wearing a cat cone.
What is a Cat Cone?
Simply put, a cat cone is a device designed to prevent a feline from licking or chewing some parts of her body. As you can imagine from the name alone, it looks like a cone. It is placed around the cat’s neck to provide a physical barrier between her mouth and head from the rest of her body. With this device, cats won’t be able to lick or bite at a wound, lesion, or incision site. It can also prevent her from scratching or rubbing head lesions.
Some people believe that the saliva of an animal can speed up healing. But that’s certainly untrue for cats that have tongues rough enough to damage healing tissues and delay healing as a consequence. Licking may also lead to nibbling and chewing especially when the wound is itchy and there’s no one to watch over the cat.
The cat cone may be very useful in hastening the healing process, but it can’t be denied that it is also odd-looking. As a result, it has gotten other nicknames like e-collars and buster collars. It has also been called the ‘cone of shame’ for the way it ruins the look of a cat. Another common nickname is the “Elizabethan collar” due to its resemblance with high collars worn during the Elizabethan era.
How to Make Different Types of Cat Cones
Cat cones come in many varieties. In the past, vets used to custom-make pet cones for their clients using cardboards and pliable plastic sheets. Today, you don’t have to get a license to be able to make a cat cone at home.
Homemade Cat Cone #1: Paper Plate Cone
You can make a cat cone using a paper plate easily especially if you have a kitten or a small cat breed like the Munchkin or the Singapura cat. It’s a good choice if there’s a medical emergency. You can bring your pet to the vet right away and keep her from messing with her wounds with this simple homemade cat cone.
Simply cut a circle in the middle of a paper plate. Make sure that the circle is big enough to be slipped in over the cat’s head. Then gently settle the cone around her neck. Check that the cone is not fitted too tightly so that your cat would be comfortable with it.
A well-fitted cat cone is snug around the feline’s neck but loose enough for you to slip one or two fingers between the neck and the collar. It should also be tight enough so your cat will not be able to remove it. There should also be no hard edges that can put pressure on her neck.
Vets often recommend that the cone extend a little bit past the tip of the cat’s nose, depending on the area that needs to be protected. For example, if there are wounds near the feet or the tip of the tail, then you would need a longer cone since the cat can easily lick those parts of their body if she only has a short cone on.
But if you’re dealing with head wounds or lesions or you simply want to protect her face, eyes, and her ears, then you can settle for a slightly shorter cone.
Homemade Cat Cone #2: Cardboard Cone
You can also make a cone for your cat using a piece of cardboard. You will need the following materials for this simple DIY project:
- A piece of cardboard
- A pair of scissors
- Scotch tape/brads
- Hole puncher
Follow these steps to make this simple DIY cone:
- Using a measuring tape, measure the distance from the tip of her nose to where you intend to rest the cone. Add an inch to the measurement to determine the height of the cone.
- Loosen your pet’s collar so that you can easily slip the cone on and off her head without falling off. Then remove the collar to measure its length. Add an extra half-an-inch to get the diameter of the cone’s opening.
- Put a pencil inside the compass then set the latter guided by the nose-to-collar measurement to draw a circle on the cardboard. Cut out a circle using a pair of scissors then cut a line along the radius of the circle.
- Place the compass to half of the collar measurement then draw a circle in the middle of the cardboard circle. Cut out the center circle before folding the larger circle into a cone.
- Using some tape, secure the edges. You may also use brads for this purpose although you have to make sure that the button is placed inside the cone with the arms on the outside. This would stop the brads from injuring your pet.
- Using a hole puncher, put 4-5 holes around the inner circle. There should be at least a centimeter from the edge.
- Attach your pet’s collar to the cone using a ribbon. You have to weave it through the holes and the collar. Tie the ends of the ribbon so that the collar will be held in place.
- Insert your pet’s head through the hole at the bottom of the cone in such a way that the wide end would point towards her nose.
- Attach the collar to her neck to keep the cone in place. Tighten it if necessary to prevent it from slipping off.
Homemade Cat Cone #3: Inflatable Pillow Cone
Do you know those circular pillows used by people to sleep on airplanes or cars? You can also use them as a makeshift cone for your pet. It can be handy during emergencies like when she is severely wounded, and you don’t have time to buy a cat cone or make one using cardboard or a paper plate.
Simply inflate the pillow and place it around your pet’s neck. Secure it with a Velcro. The pillow can prevent your cat from licking or scratching at her wound.
Homemade Cat Cone #4: Foam-Based Cone
You might have several pieces of foam in your house. Don’t throw these away as you can turn them into a makeshift cat cone. You’ll need the following materials for this DIY project:
- A thick piece of foam
- Measuring tape
- Needle and thread
This cone is very simple and cost-effective to make. Here’s how you do it:
- Measure the circumference of your cat’s neck using the measuring tape. Then take the distance between the back of her ear and the shoulder. This will give you an idea on how wide the cat cone should be.
- Cut the cone according to the measurements you have just taken. Cut a sleeve out of the felt so that the foam will be able to fit inside it. You may add 4 to 5 inches to the length of the foam so that the Velcro can be accommodated when it is sewn on.
- Sew around the edges, leaving open one end where you can insert the foam. You may opt to sew this closed or leave it open so you can replace the foam when needed.
- Add the Velcro on the flaps and the area where it would meet the body of the cone so that it would fit snugly around your cat’s neck. Choose an extra wide Velcro so that it will be sturdy.
- Place this on your cat and adjust accordingly. The felt can make the cone less of an eyesore.
Homemade Cat Cone #5: Old Towel Cone
Do you have old towels that you no longer use? Don’t throw them away as they can be used as an improvised e-collar. You can also settle for a small towel or a hand towel depending on the size of your cat.
Simply fold the towel and then wrap it around the cat’s neck. Wrap it tightly but not so tightly that you restrict her breathing. You may even use an adhesive tape so that the towel won’t fall off.
This should prevent your cat from finding ways to lick her wounds. You can let her wear this for several days until the lesion has properly healed. Change the towel with a fresh one as often as necessary.
How to Feed a Cat Wearing a Feline Cone
Many cats will initially find wearing a feline cone uncomfortable. And it’s not uncommon for cats to have problems feeding or drinking while wearing an e-collar. Other cats may be more dramatic; they will try to remove the e-collar with their legs. Some will also jump around and twist their bodies trying to get rid of the cone.
So how do you deal with a cat that’s having troubles eating while wearing a feline cone? One way to assist her is to adjust the height of the dishes when she is eating. It can be quite difficult for her to eat when she’s wearing a cone as it will prevent her from reaching the food. This often happens when the bowl is only a few inches from the floor. This can be discouraging for your feline pet and could her cause to give up on eating.
You can help her by elevating the bowl so that her cone won’t get in the way of her eating. You should also consider using slim bowls instead of bigger ones.
In most cases, though, cats are smart enough to adjust to the cone quickly. They would figure out how to angle their head without the cone getting in the way of their food. Observe within a few days how your feline copes with her e-collar. Although, you’ll have to expect your cat’s meals to be messy in the beginning.
In case she is still struggling to eat while wearing the e-collar, then it may be time for you to take it off during her meals. Remove the cone during meal times and when you can supervise her. Make sure to put the cone back on when she is done eating. This will also give you the chance to check her neck daily and see to it that the collar is not causing skin problems.
A cat cone may make your cat look silly. It may even be bothersome to her at first. But you have to keep it on as much as possible when she has a wound or a lesion. A cat cone can prevent her from licking and chewing those parts of the body and thus speed up the healing process.
While you can readily buy a cat cone from your vet, pet accessory stores, and online, you don’t have to spend money on this simple device. You can easily make one out of cardboard. A paper plate with a circle cut in the middle may also serve as an effective barrier between your cat’s mouth and the rest of her body. You may even use a circular pillow to keep her from licking her wounds. Some foam can also be used for this purpose, and the same can be said for old hand towels.
Do you have other tips on how to make a DIY cat cone? Or do you want to share your experience in using a cat cone? Let us know by writing in the comments section below.