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Elizabethan Collar and Abscesses in Cats - What Other People Are Not Telling You About This

Paul Kramer

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If your cat is recovering from surgery and you do not want him to pull out his stitches, or if he has a wound that must be kept bandaged, you will need to fit him with an Elizabethan collar, so called because it looks like the round collars worn by women in the Elizabethan age.

Otherwise, you will find that he can contort himself like a pretzel to reach every location on his body and will work steadily to remove the offending stitches or bandages. Your veterinarian will provide you with such a collar or you can make one at home.

Simply take a sturdy but flexible material, such as cardboard, and cut out a circle. Cut out smaller circle in the center, slightly larger than the size of his neck to provide room for movement. Be careful not to give him too much room or he will slip his head through and remove the collar.

Then cut away about a quarter of the circle all the way through to the center opening. Punch a double row of matching holes on either side of the gap. Make cuts around the inner circle about ½ inch or 2.5cm apart. These allow the edge to bend for a snug fit. Place the collar around his neck and use a piece of string to lace the open sides together.

Abscesses are hidden dangers. We often cannot see them, but we can feel them. If your cat shows no external sign of a wound, but is listless, off his eating schedule, has a dry, open coat or is not acting normally, there is a chance he is suffering from an abscess.

This is a tricky and potentially deadly situation because the skin will close over an open wound, leaving no visible sign. If your fingers do detect a lump anywhere on your cat, it could be an abscess.

It is best to take the cat to the veterinarian, who can drain the abscess surgically and prescribe antibiotics. Most abscesses are the result of cat fights, and are most common in unneutered, outdoor male cats.

To decrease the likelihood of your cat developing an abscess, spaying or neutering, limiting access to outdoors, and supervising interactions with other cats can be helpful.

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