The Down and Dirty on Ear Tipping in Cats

September 5, 2016

A man in a red and black flannel shirt holding a brown and white tabby cat asleep in his hands

You may be familiar with the image of that stray cat that mills around your neighborhood with part of his or her ear missing. Before you spend too much time thinking up fantastical stories about how that ear tip may have been lost, keep reading to learn about ear tipping in cats. You might be surprised to learn your resident feral cat may not have met up with a rogue gang of dogs after all.

Feral Cat Protocol

Ear tipping in cats is a universally accepted way to identify a cat has been spayed or neutered. While this may not be as important for your regular housecat, it can be extremely effective for free roaming cats where population control efforts are being utilized.

When we ear tip a cat, we sterilely remove about 1 cm off the tip of the left or right ear while the cat is under anesthesia. This makes it easy to tell from a distance whether the cat has been spayed or neutered.

Why Ear Tipping in Cats Wins

While ear tipping in cats is effective, safe, and relatively painless, it may seem like a dramatic solution to the problem of identifying altered cats in the community. There are several reasons, though, why ear tipping wins out over other methods:

  • It’s permanent. Methods like ear tags and collars can fall off and be unsafe.
  • It’s visible from a distance. Tattoos and microchips cannot be detected prior to trapping a cat that is not able to be safely handled.
  • It’s simple. No extra training or special equipment is required.

Ear tipping may seem like a dramatic solution, but it is necessary to know which free roaming cats have already been spayed or neutered (and, typically, vaccinated). This helps us to use the resources that are allocated to feral cat programs more effectively. It also helps to prevent repeatedly trapping the same cat, causing the poor kitty undue stress.

Pets in Stitches spays and neuters stray cats through a comprehensive trap-neuter-vaccinate-return program. We are happy to offer this service to help manage the free-roaming cat population.

Please contact us if you would like more information regarding this service or need advice about the cat population in your area. Pet overpopulation is a real problem, and by spaying and neutering feral cats, we can make a difference in helping make each and every animal’s life a better one.

Come. Stay. Heal.

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