Felines love to lick. They are not too discriminative about what they lick either, whether it's themselves, another cat or the floor. They seem to always want to taste what is around them. This can be a problem when it is a wound that they want to lick. While a little licking doesn't usually pose a concern, doing it too much can actually cause further infection and irritation. A cat can even remove sutures if she licks too much. Therefore, if your kitty has a wound, it is important to keep her from bothering it and while it may be difficult, it can be done.
Apply a bandage over the wound, if your veterinarian advises. Some wounds should not be covered as it can make healing take longer. However, if your veterinarian gives you the go ahead, cover the wound with bandage material and porous tape. For some cats, not having access to the wound is enough to keep them from bothering it. However, some cats detest the bandage and this drives them to remove it even more. If this is the case, try putting an infant's T-shirt on the cat. If the wound is on the top half of the body that is closest to the head, put the T-shirt on the cat as it normally goes. If the wound is on the lower half, place the shirt on backwards so that the cat's tail is coming out of the opening for the head.
Spray a bitter-tasting spray around the area of the wound. Your veterinarian may sell the products Yuck or Chew Guard, which are designed to deter licking. You may even try lemon juice or Tabasco sauce. Avoid placing the product into the wound however, as you may cause further irritation.
Place an Elizabethan or neck collar on your cat. Elizabethan collars resemble lampshades and cover the outside of the cat's head. This keeps them from being able to reach certain areas of their body, although most cats tend to hate wearing these devices. The collars can limit their vision; therefore, many cats will walk into walls and furniture while getting accustomed to wearing them. Neck collars simply prevent the cat from turning her head so much that she cannot reach the wound. However, neck collars typically cannot prevent cats from bothering wounds that are on the front legs. Both collars are quite effective and may be your best chances at keeping your cat from licking her wound.