post image

How can I stop my cat from licking his surgical wounds?

Our question this week was:

Dr. Debra – My cat was declawed a week ago. We were never informed that “excessive licking” was a very bad thing. After he broke open his wounds we put an e-collar and bandages on him. THIS only made it much much worse. He continued to open them. I took him back to the vet and we put stiches in his paws & boarded him for the next 3 days. I tried the “Bitter Apple,” which he seems to like instead of hate. I also tried vanilla extract, which he also seems to like. I am at a point of no return and have no more information to try from my vet. My question is What can I put on his paws that is not dangerous, but will stop him from licking? We are so scared that he may open the wounds and damage our house more than the claws did.

Kathleen Shaw


Hi – thanks for your email. I’m very sorry to hear about your cat’s problems. Excessive licking at any surgical wound is bad and should be prevented. I’d recommend having him rechecked with your vet if you have any questions about infection or healing. There is NOTHING that consistently works to stop a cat from licking other than preventing access with either bandages or an e-collar.

There are different types of e-collars- hard and soft kinds. Many cats tolerate the soft type better. It is often made of a fabric or softer material that is better tolerated.

An article that might be helpful to you is Elizabethan Collars for Cats (E-Collars).

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

To read most recent questions Click here!

Click here to see the full list of Ask Dr. Debra Questions and Answers!