Can Cats Sleep With a Cone on? Poor Darlings!

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The amazing cat can twist and turn its body in ways that we humans only wish we could. When cats are trapped, they continue to work hard to escape as soon as possible.

If they cannot escape, they sit in wait and when the time is right, make their move as quickly as a streak of lightning.

One such thing that I feel many cats consider a trap, is a collar called a cone.

Cone collars are necessary if the cat has had surgery or an injury. You and your vet gently apply and fasten the cone around the cat’s neck to prevent the cat from licking or irritating the healing area of concern.

“Can cats sleep with a cone on?” That is a good question. They don’t look sleep friendly.

I eventually found out that the cats were doing fine. Cones have other names such as,

Soft Collar
Elizabethan Collar

Be aware of not fastening a cone too tight around the cat’s neck. You could injure or choke your cat, and that would not be a good thing. 

How Do Cats Sleep with a Cone On?

I have been a faithful feline rescuer and caretaker of cats for over 30 years. A few of my cats have had surgery or received an injury, and the vet ordered them to wear a cone for a couple of weeks. My big concern was, 

“How will the cat sleep with a cone on?” 

I did have one cat that did not adapt well. I have also seen exceptions to the rules for wearing a cone collar. There are other alternatives, as described later.

These stiff plastic collars look uncomfortable, and I felt sorry for my cat. However, if you stand your ground and are firm with your cat, they (and you) will accept wearing the collar and will be forever grateful when they do not have to wear it. 

Some say to never remove these collars. But, I felt I wanted to rest my cat and I removed the collar at intervals during the day, never at night. I kept an eagle eye on my cat while the collar was off during meal times or for a few minutes during the day. But, speak with your vet before doing this. 

However, I did not trust taking a collar off my cat for the night. When sleeping, they can do more damage to a surgical site or wound if the collar is off.

Never worry about them being able to sleep with this collar on. The cat does well and can lie in about any position it wants to lie.

cat sleeping on an amplifier while wearing a cone
This is our cat wearing a soft cone. He is sleeping on the warm amplifier. The amp has survived the cat hair. We didn’t have the heart to remove him. I apologize for the photo quality.

The soft e collar was a marked improvement on the harder plastic ones. Go with the advice of your vet as it will depend where the wound is located.

This is an example of a soft e collar.

 Soft Cat Recovery Collar  - Easy to Eat and Drink

This is an example of an inflatable e collar.

 Protective Inflatable Collar for  Cats

My Experiences Caring For Cats wearing a Cone

The cats that I have seen in cones never seemed to mind. However, never be too surprised if they find a way out of the cone. One cat knew where the collar fastened and used its paw to release the opening of the collar. 

Another cat simply slid its body out. Another cat was able to slip its paw under the rim of the collar and slip it off like a shirt. I found it amazing how creative my cats became when not wanting that collar. 

Each cat soon found out that the collar went back on them as quickly as they removed it. After a few times, they decided that it was not worth the effort and left it alone. 

Cats certainly know what they want and do not want. While a cone around your cat’s neck may seem awkward, it does not hinder your cat from doing what it wants to do.

Any cat needs a few days to become accustomed to wearing the collar, but they really do not seem to mind after they get used to it. 

The cat can eat, drink, use the litter pan, take cat naps, and sleep the night or day away as though the collar was not there, maybe not quite under the covers though.

However, the stricter you are about making them wear the cone, the sooner they get used to its presence.

Can Cats Sleep with a Cone On?

Cats can sleep with a cone collar? If you keep a watchful eye on your cat, you will likely find out that the cat did just fine.

My cat looked comfortable and was able to lay on its side. He could not curl up in a ball as he sometimes does. However, he adapted.

It is essential to follow your vet’s instructions so your cat can heal from whatever trauma they have received. 

a cat sleeping while wearing an e collar
The cat can still sleep!

My Cat Won’t Sleep with a Cone On!

Cone collars are made of durable plastic and are placed around your cat’s neck to protect a wound from the cat’s mouth by licking and biting at the wound with its teeth.

If your cat does not sleep with a cone on, this presents a problem, depending on your cat’s situation. 

 Cat Cone Adjustable  Recovery Collar

Does your cat have an open wound or perhaps stitches in place? 

Cats tend to tug and pull stitches out with their teeth. This can cause more trauma and infection to the wound. If the injury does not have stitches, your cat is likely to keep licking the wound because it is painful or it itches.

The constant licking of the wound site can create a deeper infection and more problems. It is essential to be strict about your cat wearing its collar until the wound heals

The one thing that cats do the best is sleep. Cats absolutely love to sleep and can average about 18 hours of sleep per day.

Your cat will eventually fall asleep with the collar in place. They may never get used to wearing the collar.

However, they will accept it and be resigned to wearing it.

How to Help Your Cat Sleep with a Cone

If you have a big soft heart for your cat and feel their pain, ask yourself,

“Who is bothered the most by Fluffy wearing this collar, Fluffy or me?” 

If you feel so uncomfortable following your vet’s orders for your cat to wear this cone for two weeks and simply cannot follow through, speak with your vet and explore some other options that may work better.

The vital thing to remember is your cat cannot, under any circumstances, be allowed to lick or bite at the wound or use its teeth to try to pull out their stitches if they have stitches. 

a cat with a facial injury wearing an e collar
The cone is preventing the cat from reaching the facial injury

Removing his cone will not help the cat’s healing process and will likely worsen matters.

If you do not do what your vet says, your cat could end up in the hospital and in a cone anyway. The whole process is then longer and more costly.

It is much safer to make the cat wear the darn collar for a short time.

Tell yourself, this is not forever. Some cats never adjust, no matter how strict you are about them wearing one. 

Related: Does your cat have Sleep Apnea? Read about issues that can affect the sleeping behaviour of cats.

can cats sleep with a cone on

Possible Cone Collar Alternatives

You can ask your vet or go to the store and buy an over the counter calming pill to help your cat relax. If your cat does not take calming medication but enjoys treats, you can buy a treat called a pill pocket. Put the calming pill in the pill pocket. 

I have two cats who have needed medicine every day for a few months but will not take any form of medicine.

No matter how I try to give it to them, they sniff it out and push it to the side or refuse to eat the food with the medicine.
I found that pill pockets work well for my cats. I slip a bit of each pill into 2-3 pill pockets and mix it with a few treats, and they chew it up. This works like a charm. It is worth trying to help your kitty fall asleep with its collar in place.

 PILL POCKETS for Cats Natural Soft Cat Treats, Salmon Flavor

Speak to your vet about an alternate cone collar, such as a soft cloth collar or e-collar which is actually short for an Elizabethan collar.

original type of e collar from Elizabethan times
An collar from Elizabethan times. You can see where the name comes from for pet collars!

Research what you can find on Amazon, as they have an extensive supply of collar types. It is best to check what type the vet gives the thumbs up.

Check for a pillow collar, that may be more comfortable, yet has the durability of a cone collar. 

An inflatable collar is made of a flexible material that allows your cat more freedom of movement when sleeping, yet controls their neck and their ability not to touch their wound.

Can Cats Sleep with a Cone On? The answer is a definite yes, most times with a few exceptions.

I had to wear one once dear. I didn’t mind as it as color coordinated with my coat.

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