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Ear Tipping TNR!

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
I have a feral kitten that was part of the TNR system (which I am all for)! My question is why is the ear tipping necessary? I understand that it is an identification mark if she was ever returned to the humane society they would know she had been spayed! Can't they tell some other way? My kitten has quite the bit of her ear missing from the tipping method, you would think that would hurt and it almost seems cruel! Yet many people say it is not? Don't get me wrong i am all for TNR to stop the overpopulation of ferals!
post #2 of 24
I know what you mean - when I see them I always wonder if it hurts I know they do it when they are doing the other work, so I suppose its just part of the whole process.
I cant think of any other method of ID that would be as obvious really
post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 
I know and that is unfortunate! It looks like it hurts and it looks like they have been mutated in a sense! It is a noticeable stamp (more or less) at least on my Nollee... she's cute the same!
post #4 of 24
The ear-clipping is so that the cats that are TNR'd could be recognized. If they didn't do it, and they re-trapped the same cat at a later date, they wouldn't know if it had been fixed until it got into surgery. There really isn't another way- especially if they are true ferals. Ear-clipping is permanent.

It might be a little bit cruel, but it's done when they are "out", it's not as if they actually feel it happening or anything...
post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 
I know why it is done no need to explain that! I was wondering if there was any other way to tell besides tipping? I rather know than not know... just think its strange is all! I didn't know anything about it until I got my kitten and the lady I adopted her from (an agency) pointed it out and explained it to me! She is against the tipping herself but really there is no other way! i guess it just makes her unique looking!
post #6 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by trixie23 View Post
I know why it is done no need to explain that! I was wondering if there was any other way to tell besides tipping? I rather know than not know... just think its strange is all! I didn't know anything about it until I got my kitten and the lady I adopted her from (an agency) pointed it out and explained it to me! She is against the tipping herself but really there is no other way! i guess it just makes her unique looking!
It would have to be some other physical alteration, unfortunately. Ferals are masterminds at getting out of tags, cuffs, etc. We actually tip and microchip...but then, doing JUST the microchip would cause the cat the stress and trauma of going through the trapping process, not to mention that any human trapping ferals is putting themselves at risk.
post #7 of 24
Thread Starter 
My cat is Microchipped! Actually both of my cats are with AVID! Too bad when you scan the chip it only registers a code vs the cats history! Maybe one day technology will advance to that and kitties can keep their ears
post #8 of 24
With true ferals, though, you can't spend the time scanning them and such- you have to know from sight if they are fixed or not.
post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 
True fact! I am wondering this: My kitten was feral and rescued by an adoption agency... The adoption agency had her spayed and vaccinated at the humane society! Since she was planned to be an adopted pet was the ear tipping still necessary if she wasn't going to be re-released to the wild? Is this standard for all ferals whether they go back to the wild or are going to be re-homed as indoor pets? Does the humane society do this in case the cat remains feral, does not adjust to domestic, and has to be re-released?
post #10 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tricias_petz View Post
With true ferals, though, you can't spend the time scanning them and such- you have to know from sight if they are fixed or not.


All I need to remind me about ferals is to look at the scar on my left wrist, given to me the night I adopted my Ferris.

I personally can't see any other method that makes sense.
post #11 of 24
Thread Starter 
I agree was just curious! Someone said shaving the belly to look for scar markings can provide whether or not the cat has been fixed! My kitty doesnt have scars and i dont think that is an accurate method... Otherwise Im sure that is what they would do!
post #12 of 24
I expect that's right, Trixie. Or maybe that vet didn't know this cat was set for adoption, and just did it out of routine.
post #13 of 24
Thread Starter 
Could be! That's what had me so confused! Oh well I love her the same ears or no ears!
post #14 of 24
Hi Trixie, and All,

Well, you're making the assumption that a lot of people probably make: that a rescue organization KNOWS for sure what the outcome will be for each individual cat or kitten that they take in. This would maybe be great, but, in real life, it is not always the case. In fact, I think it is more the exception than the rule.

Most TNR organizations (mine included) will presume that a cat that is trapped, will be returned to its colony. This is something that, in most cases, we can guarantee will be possible. Most foster/adopt organizations may assume that every cat they take in will be placed in an adoptive home; and I can't tell you how much any given agency can guarantee that. For my organization, IF a cat finds someone who is set on socializing and adopting him or her, GREAT!!!! But, if we took all of the cats that we trapped in for socialization and fostering, we've found that we would very very quickly need to take over the local football stadiums to have space to house them all safely. Not to mention, their daily care would be a monumental volunteer activity. A lot of people who come to ask about adoptions of us, are more casually interested than serious about adding a pet to their household. So we would have a lot of cats for a long time, and if some of them need the extra time and attention of socializing, that is a huge endeavor. I'll be THRILLED if in my lifetime, we can say we've TNR'd the majority of this one county's feral population, and THEN, we can convert our program into more of a TNR COMBINED with foster/adopt sort of design!

Another thing I think you should know, is that not all vets really know how to do a good eartip. (Sorry!) Our program's vets do a beautiful one - subtle, but significant enough that the caretakers can all tell. However, another area veterinarian was doing what I would personally consider "ear docking" (this vet might have been more experienced with docking dogs' ears and tails than working with feral cats). There was one case where this vet really upset one of the area rescue organizations by the degree of apparent intent to disfigure the cats. It may just be me, but I've never felt that the eartips that our program cats end up with, would make a bit of difference to me in adopting. The point is not to be able to tell an ear tipped cat from 100 yards away, as much as it is to be able to tell if you find that cat in one of your traps. Or, if one arrives in a cooperating, progressive Animal Control facility. If Animal Control is doing their job, they'll work to contact the area TNR organizations to rehome that cat to its true home - the managed colony it was born into.

Does this help? Good eartipping is a lot handier than microchipping; my group piloted using microchips, but they're a much better owner locator option than colony cat identification choice.



Quote:
Originally Posted by trixie23 View Post
True fact! I am wondering this: My kitten was feral and rescued by an adoption agency... The adoption agency had her spayed and vaccinated at the humane society! Since she was planned to be an adopted pet was the ear tipping still necessary if she wasn't going to be re-released to the wild? Is this standard for all ferals whether they go back to the wild or are going to be re-homed as indoor pets? Does the humane society do this in case the cat remains feral, does not adjust to domestic, and has to be re-released?
post #15 of 24
Thread Starter 
Yes it was helpful! I understand why it is done, it's just something I had never encountered until I got my Nollee! There is no way I would ever release her back into the wild, but some adoptee's don't have the patience I have had with her (she's a good girl but very timid-not so much now that she has warmed up to me... took her a little over a month) so I understand why this process is done in general... There are no gaurentee's of a permanent residence for these furballs (at least not in all cases)! The lady I adopted from said people don't understand the patience and work needed with some ferals and that they have actually returned their kittens back to her! For this reason she is very leary who she let's adopt (won't let you declaw which I think is excellent... both my cats have claws), you literally have to sit down and chit chat with her for about 2 hours! It's a good thing what you and others like yourself are doing! Even though my munchkins ear is a little short she still is adorable and I love her a great deal! Thank you!!!!


post #16 of 24
The agency probably wasnt 100% sure where the cat would be going after the spay so that's probably why they ear tipped her. There really is no other way visually to be able to tell that a feral cat is fixed, well aside from the big sack of ballz on males

Personally I have no problem with ear tipping. Snowflake & Patches are both tipped since I had them trapped and spayed. I dont think it hurts any worse than their spay incision when they wake up.

Now Zoey apparently has a tattoo on her belly? That's what her paperwork said when I adopted her, even though she had been with a family from 2 - 11 months old before that. Strange stuff.
post #17 of 24
Thread Starter 
Wow what a trendy cat (tattoo... just kidding)! It doesn't seem to bother Nollee so i guess it doesnt bother me!
post #18 of 24
She must have known she'd end up with a mom that has tats also
post #19 of 24
Thread Starter 
So thats why my kitten is "mutulated" cuz mommy is too (piercings and tat's)! A match made in heaven!
post #20 of 24
The only reason to have had Nollee ear-tipped was if the rescuing organization was unsure of her future status. If she had been socialized in a foster home before her spay surgery, it wouldn't have made sense to get her ear-tipped. I don't know of any organizations (in my area at least) that would release a kitten back to the outdoors once she'd been socialized.

There is an option to ear-tipping: the ear notch. It's far less mutilating since the basic shape of the ear remains. The ear keeps that nice pointy shape. The notch (about 1/4") is done about halfway down the the outside edge of the right ear. It's great because it's far less disfiguring but still serves as an ID that the cat has been TNR'd.
post #21 of 24
i suppose the only other way would be a tattoo in their ear, but that might not be as obvious on certain colour cats - looking at my pure blacks ear, god knows how you could tell.
post #22 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by trixie23 View Post
True fact! I am wondering this: My kitten was feral and rescued by an adoption agency... The adoption agency had her spayed and vaccinated at the humane society! Since she was planned to be an adopted pet was the ear tipping still necessary if she wasn't going to be re-released to the wild? Is this standard for all ferals whether they go back to the wild or are going to be re-homed as indoor pets? Does the humane society do this in case the cat remains feral, does not adjust to domestic, and has to be re-released?
It is normal practice to ear tip only those that are intended to be released back into their environment. I don't know of any TNR groups in my area that will ear tip when they know that the cat is intended to be adopted into a home. Perhaps they didn't know where your kitten would wind up and just did it as a precautionary measure?

Having gone out to TNR feral colonies, I can tell you that an ear tip is the most obvious way to identify when a cat has been fixed at a distance. You don't always get close to these cats and you want to be able to see if they are already altered at the spot. If they are, you simply open up the trap and release them. You don't want to stress the cat out by having to bring it to a vet only to find out it was already done. A notch in the ear isn't as obvious, as cats that fight can have their ears scratched and a notch could easily be confused with a fight wound.
post #23 of 24
Where I live, the fees for spaying and neutering feral cats are greatly reduced (probably to encourage and support TNR,) compared to those for "tame strays" or household pets.

So if the cat is processed as a feral their ear is notched. And if they are processed as a housecat or stray, they charge more (but no notch).

And the adoption agencies mostly don't have much money, so that could be why the agency processed your kitty that way, just a guess on my part .
post #24 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momofmany View Post
Having gone out to TNR feral colonies, I can tell you that an ear tip is the most obvious way to identify when a cat has been fixed at a distance. You don't always get close to these cats and you want to be able to see if they are already altered at the spot. If they are, you simply open up the trap and release them. You don't want to stress the cat out by having to bring it to a vet only to find out it was already done. A notch in the ear isn't as obvious, as cats that fight can have their ears scratched and a notch could easily be confused with a fight wound.
As linda_of_pgff has stated, "the point is not to be able to tell an eartipped cat from 100 yards away, as much as it is to be able to tell if you find that cat in one of your traps". I, too, can't see the advantage in being able to tell from a distance whether or not a cat's been eartipped. If the cat is trapped, you can easily see if the ear has been tipped or notched.

The ear notch won't be confused with a notch or tear that could occur from a fight. It has a definite, squared-off shape. It's an improvement on the ear-tip because more of the ear remains intact and there is less bleeding and healing time. As some members have pointed out, there are vets who unfortunately, are overzealous and do more than remove the "tip", sometimes taking almost 1/2 the ear. That's unnecessary.
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