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.
Originally Posted by trixie23
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?