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Pros & Cons of Using Cat Diapers: Is It Right for Your Cat?

There are a few different reasons that a cat can wind up needing to wear a diaper, from having incontinence to spraying or recovering post-surgery. It’s a good idea to think carefully about whether a cat diaper is the right solution for your cat.

There are a few different types of cat diapers on the market, and the type of health issue that your cat is suffering from will play a part in helping you decide which sort of diaper will suit your cat best. Cats with long-term incontinence or mobility issues may be best with a cost-effective, reusable diaper. Others who are recovering from surgery might find disposable diapers more suitable.

Before starting to use cat diapers for your feline friend, we recommend checking with your veterinarian.

We’ve collected the pros and cons of cat diapers to help you figure out if wearing one might be the right solution for your cat.

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Pros of using cat diapers

Cat diapers can be a saving grace for some cats, and there are plenty of pros to using them.

Pros
  • They keep your cat more comfortable.
  • Diapers protect your cat from friction burns.
  • They help keep your cat clean.
  • They can protect your cat after surgery.
  • They can help keep your house clean.

If your cat has incontinence problems, using a diaper can help keep them more comfortable. Your cat will soon learn that they can urinate comfortably wherever they are, rather than trying to quickly find somewhere to do their business or simply making a mess all over the house that you then have to clean up!

cat wearing a diaper in a travel bag
Image Credit: sofirinaja, Shutterstock

Cats with mobility problems, such as weak rear legs, will often scoot along on their bottoms. Over time, this can lead to uncomfortable friction burns, which can then become infected.

No matter how much we clean our floors, there will always be bacteria around! If your cat does move around on their bottom, there’s the risk that bacteria can enter their urinary tract and cause infections. Urinary tract infections are uncomfortable for cats and need urgent veterinary attention. Using a diaper helps keep your cat’s rear end clean, reducing the risk of these infections.

If your cat has had surgery, then they may have a wound that needs to be kept clean, but they might also be less mobile than usual. Depending on the site of your cat’s wound, diapers can be used to keep the wound clean while it’s healing. Your cat may spend a few days resting and getting back to full mobility, and during this time, you don’t want them getting up unnecessarily. Using a diaper can keep your cat comfortable and able to do their business without having to stumble to their litter tray.

Besides helping to keep your cat clean, diapers can be used in certain situations to keep your house clean. If you have problems with a male cat spraying urine everywhere, a diaper can be used to stop their spray from covering your house! The same is true for a female cat in heat, who may be bleeding. Using a diaper for a few days can reduce the amount of cleaning up that you’ll need to do.

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Cons of using cat diapers

cat wearing diaper
Image Credit: Yaroslau Mikheyeu, Shutterstock

It might sound like cat diapers are the perfect solution, but of course, there are always exceptions! Cat diapers won’t always work for every cat, and there are a few cons to consider before you decide that using them is the right thing for your cat.

Cons
  • They can be difficult to put on.
  • Some cats will wiggle out of them.
  • Some cats find them uncomfortable.
  • You will need to change them regularly.
  • Reusable diapers can become smelly over time.

Have you ever tried to persuade your cat to do something they don’t want to? It’s not easy! So, trying to put a diaper on your cat for the first few times can be a bit of a challenge — and that’s putting it mildly. But with patience and perseverance, most cats will get used to the process. Offering your cat treats as you put their diaper on can make the experience a bit easier for you both.

Some cats can wriggle out of anything, including diapers! Many cats will become accustomed to wearing diapers and will eventually stop trying to pull or scratch them off. If your cat manages to remove their diaper on a regular basis, then you can consider placing a baby onesie over the top. This stops your cat from being able to remove the diaper, although of course, it’s another sensation that your cat will have to get used to.

Wearing a diaper can feel strange for cats, and some may find it uncomfortable at first. If your cat seems irritated or annoyed when wearing a diaper, consider trying a different type. If you’ve been using disposable diapers, try using cloth ones and see if they prefer them. Different brands will also have different comfort levels, so experiment until you find something that your cat seems to tolerate.

Cat diapers can be great, but you will need to change them regularly. They’re not something that you can leave your cat in all day while you go to work. We recommend making sure someone is home at all times when your cat needs to wear a diaper. Leaving your cat in their diaper for too long can increase the risk of them suffering from urine burns or rashes.

We all know that cat urine is a pervasive smell. So, even with a disposable liner, reusable cat diapers can start to stink after a while. Most fabric diapers can be washed on a hot cycle in a washing machine, but you may decide to replace them when you notice that they smell less fresh than they used to!

 

Different types of cat diapers

diaper in the carrier
Image Credit: shamek, Shutterstock

There are three main types of cat diapers:

  • These are similar to disposable baby diapers and include moisture-retaining crystals to collect and hold your cat’s urine. They’re easy to adjust and usually stay in place well. They’re also easy to dispose of and can be placed straight in the trash. The cost of using these diapers all the time will add up, though, and they create a large amount of trash over time.
  • Washable cloth diapers are a more environmentally friendly and cost-effective alternative to disposable diapers. They’re also soft and comfortable against your cat’s body. They can be harder to attach than disposable diapers, though, and they will need regular washing to make sure they’re kept as clean as possible.
  • These are only designed to collect your cat’s urine. They’re less restrictive, so some cats can find them more comfortable than cloth or disposable diapers. If your cat has bowel issues, not just incontinence, then these won’t be a good solution for them.

How to change your cat’s diaper

If you’ve decided that cat diapers might just be the perfect solution, great! But how on earth do you get a diaper on your cat? This is the method we prefer:

  • Find the tail hole in the diaper, and slide your cat’s tail through. Some cats will tolerate being cradled while you do this; others will prefer to be standing up.
  • Find the wider side of the diaper, and twist the diaper around so this is at the bottom.
  • Bring this side between your cat’s hind legs and pull it up around their hips.
  • Smooth the top section of the diaper over your cat’s back, and secure it in place to the bottom side using the tabs.

You may find it easier to break this method into a few more steps and complete only one or two stages at a time as your cat gets used to wearing their diaper. Plenty of treats and praise will help your cat realize that wearing a diaper isn’t anything to worry about!

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Did we miss any pros or cons on this list? If you use cat diapers for your cat, let us know your experiences in the comments!


Featured Image: Linn Currie, Shutterstock