Monday, June 22, 2020

About her ear

**a post by the mom

As most of you know, Goldfish came here as a foster and failed to leave. In her case it was a behavioral thing as she was (and kind of still is) very skittish and it would have been a hard sell to find her a family when most people look for the super social cat to adopt.

She was spayed and ear tipped as a kitten as at that point we weren’t sure about her final destination. I hadn’t made the decision yet to keep her and if she needed to move to a barn she needed the ear tip.

Over the last year or so I have heard several people make negative comments about ear tipping, generally that is changes the way they appear. I try my best to explain why it is done. Many years ago it started as a universal signal that a feral or community cat has been spayed or neutered. The alternative before that was to take the cat back to vet, which would include transport, sedation and potential unnecessary surgery if a spay scar could not be found. With ear tipping, if you see a cat with it, all you have to do is open the trap and release them. It is easier on the cat and easier on the trapper.

One woman got a little snippy and I honestly told her that I view it as a badge of honor. The ear tipped cats living in homes or at our adoption center looking for homes survived the outdoors and proved to be friendly enough to be adoptable.

I also have Allie who is truly feral. I call her my garage panther. She is ear tipped and in fact has been caught and released at least twice since she was originally spayed.

I had one woman tell me that no cat should be tipped and be kept inside. I had to bite my tongue to keep from asking how big her house is if she plans to house all those feral cats.

I believe they deserve the best life they can have without the stress of fighting and breeding. Spay/neuter solves both of those problems. 


  1. A former feral girl? Obviously the spaying didn't take...

  2. Definitely a badge of honour! I'm starting to feel that people who haven't worked in rescue, haven't fed/worried over colonies in the dead of winter cold or height of summer heat, haven't had to watch, helplessly, as that little orphan crossed the rainbow bridge, don't get to have an opinion about how the rest of us do the work!!

  3. Oh I think that is all so true. The ear tip is very important when you have lots of feral cats. I have a bunch and my neighbor down the road does too. Most places here who have feral cats and kittens will fix the Mom and foster out the kittens until they find homes. I have a feral mom right now in my bathroom and she has five kittens and so I can tame them by going in about three times a day and pick them and get them used to humans. Four of the kittens are eating and one is not so far. But it is all worth while to help these kittens and the Mom so there are not so many kittens.

  4. You're absolutely correct - ear tipping is the safest way to know if a feral or stray cat has been spayed. It avoids an unnecessary trip to the vet after the cat has been trapped, and perhaps unnecessary anesthesia and surgery. Not to mention, it avoids the emotional trauma of a vet visit for the cat and you!

  5. One of my rescues was already spayed when she was rescued after spending 3 days up in a tree during blizzard conditions in January 2013. The vet did find her spay scar, but did not have to tip her ear because half of her left one froze off while she was up the tree. Even after such an injury tipping, it doesn't seem to bother her at all. The slight tipping of a TNR cat's ear is probably of even less consequence to the cat. Better to worry about declawing than ear tipping !

  6. There are any number of people who think that ‘someone should do something about’ some problem or another. It’s never them, though. With cats, they have allergies (my favourite), they already have one (one!), their boyfriend/girlfriend doesn’t like cats, they can’t afford it, their landlord says ‘no’… Some excuses are valid, some are not. But unless you can think of a better solution, it’s best not to demand that ‘someone’ do something.

    And as for ear-tipping, a little pain for the cat means a life-time of greater health and less stress, and, as you wrote, no pointless trapping, trips to the hospital, veterinary expenses, etc. The alternative is tattooing, which isn’t as good. Tattoos wear off, become covered with hair, are sometimes difficult to see from the start, can only be seen up close, etc.

  7. Our insiders are not ear tipped but the last two TNR kitties were. They were trapped and it was thought they could be socialized but... sadly no and they went back out to live in our back yard being fed nightly. YAY Ear Tipping and any who say nay let them live outside for a year


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