How to Fit an Elizabethan Collar to Your Cat

Buster collars are a common sight to see with pets leaving a veterinary practice and are used most often following a surgical procedure. In this guide, Goddard’s very own Sam Green will demonstrate how to assemble and fit a buster collar to a cat with the assistance of Doda.

What is a Buster Collar?

A Buster Collar, also known as an Elizabethan Collar, is a protective shield worn around the neck of a pet to prevent biting or licking at a surgical wound that could cause the removal of stitches or infections. Buster Collars are most commonly plastic but can be bought as inflatables for additional comfort.

Why Does My Cat Need A Buster Collar?

Following any surgical procedure, your cat’s natural reaction will be to attempt to lick and clean the wound left behind. This is an instinctive reaction, but one that can be harmful to the recovery of your pet. By licking or nibbling at the area it is possible to dislodge stitches added by the vet or to cause infections in the wound. Both of these will cause negative reactions and delay the healing process from the procedure.

Assembling A Buster Collar

After a surgical procedure, you will be given a buster collar for your pet. Collars are available in a range of sizes with smaller ones often an ideal size for a cat. To assemble the collar you will need a stretchy bandage or length of fabric, alternatively, you can connect the collar to your cat’s quick-release collar.

When the collar is assembled it can be gently slid over your cat’s head and into place. This can be a good time to offer a treat as a way to reinforce this as a positive experience. Ensure the collar is fitted appropriately for your cat but that it also allows free movement and is not too tight that it may be excessively uncomfortable.

Bring the bandage to the back of your cat’s neck and tie a loose bow to fix the collar into place Just like a collar, it is recommended that at least a two-finger gap is left to make it comfortable for your pet.

How Long Should the Collar Stay On?

Buster Collars should remain on until all stitches have dissolved or been removed by a vet. During this period your cat should remain indoors to avoid unnecessary activity that lengthens the recovery period or re-opens the wound.

If you are unsure if the time is right to take off your pet’s buster collar, contact your local Goddard Veterinary Practice to get the advice of a veterinarian.