Almost everyone that’s owned pets has heard the saying, “it’s all fun and games until someone ends up in a cone.” And just about every pet owner dreads the Elizabethan collar. They can be uncomfortable, make it difficult for pets to get around, and more. And when it comes to cats, that can be even harder as they tend to be craftier at getting out of a cone and more sensitive overall than their canine counterparts. That’s why we’ve put together some alternatives to the cone of shame for cats so that next time you dog or cat needs some protection, they can do so in style!

Alternatives to the Cone of Shame for Cats

Depending on the size of your cat or dog, the severity of their injury, and the location of the injury or issue needing to be protected, there are some alternatives to the cone of shame. From soft pillow collars, to stiffer neck collars, and even flexible ones, we’ve put together a list of some of our favorites – with photos of course!

Inflatable collars

These work similar to a cone, but tend to be more comfortable for your cat or dog. They also allow easier navigation as they are not as wide as a traditional cone. This can help tremendously for any animals that have a hard time figuring out how to get through doorways and in and out of letterboxes with a standard cone. These don’t offer quite as much protection, but they can be great for upper body injuries. 

alternatives to the cone of shame inflatable cone for cats

Gus in an inflatable collar after surgery. Photo compliments of Kelli & Gus Yingling.

Soft flexible collars

Our friends at Trupanion have a few suggestions about soft collars that are readily available on Amazon. These are easy to put on, but do offer less protection than even the inflatable version. They are a lot more flexible so pet owners tend to prefer these to a traditional cone. Some of these can work better than others depending on your cat’s individual situation, so be sure to talk to your veterinarian. 

flexible cone for cats

Here Gus sports a flexible cone. Photo from Kelli & Gus Yingling.

Chihuahua & small dog sweaters

It just so happens that most cats are roughly the same size as a chihuahua or small dog and many places carry small and extra-small sized dog sweaters that can work great in a pinch. Places like Walmart often carry these in season, and a a wonderful quick alternative to a cone. Because many small dogs tend to lack thick fur coats, a lot of the sweaters go higher on the neck which works out great for neck or shoulder injuries that can be irritated by a cone or some of the other collars. This is what one of our own client’s used when their cat needed stitches.

alternatives to the cone of shame for cats

Patient Aslan Millar sports his dog sweater from Walmart. Photo from CJ Millar.

Our favorite (for cuteness): baby clothes for your cat instead of a cone

Another great alternative to a cone for cats is baby clothes. Whether it’s an adorable flannel or just a onesie, these are great way to keep your cat protected while their injury heals. Most cats are a 3-6mo or 6-9mo size and these can work great when you need to cover their legs. Onesies with feet can also keep a cat’s claws covered so that they can’t scratch at the injury. In the case of the one picture below, Aslan, a patient of our, had stitches on his neck and the baby clothes stretched enough to cover the bandage while also preventing him from scratching it. Other options include baby shirts, and button up shirts make it easy to get on and off your cat.

baby clothes as alternative to cone of shame for cats

Aslan, one of our patients, did well with baby clothes over the bandage covering his stitches. Photo from CJ Millar.

baby clothes instead of cone of shame for cats

Here, Tiny Rick sports his flannel as a way to keep protected as he heals. Photo courtesy of Maylynn and Jacob Devish.

Whatever option you choose, make sure to speak with your veterinarian and make sure that the wound underneath is healing properly. If you’re not sure what would work best, as your vet and come up with a plan for an alternative to the cone of shame for your cat!