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Very Weird Finding Due to Overgrooming...

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
As those of you that have read my other thread know, my cat Toby has been licking a lot of his hair off due to a possible allergy.

That said, tonight, when I was checking his hairless spots, which were more severe on his belly, I noticed some black marks on his stomach...

After looking more closely, to my amazement, the marks weren't skin coloration, they were actual writing. A series of numbers and a male symbol with a line through it (neutered maybe?)...

So my question for you guys is do any shelters write on their animals when altering them and could such writing stick around for almost a year?

My two theories are either the one above, or that maybe toby is a former "lab cat" and the writing is actually a tatoo...if that's the case, it's no wonder he has all the health problems he does.

I'd be glad to hear if anyone else has had any similar experiences, because, quite frankly, this weirds me out.

post #2 of 9
Sounds like a tattoo to me. I know tattoos are sometimes used to ID animals (especially before microchips were around), but I don't know much else about them. I hope your kitty's allergies get under control - I used to have dogs who had horrible allergies, and so I know how horribly uncomfortable it can be for them.
post #3 of 9
That's really weird. I've never seen or heard about that. You might ask your vet if the tattoo was a lab marking practice.

I can't imagine that a lab would allow one of its animals to get adopted or go to a shelter though. I imagine when they are finished, so is the cat.
post #4 of 9
Both my undergrad and grad Universities did/do have cats for veterinary research, neither place identified by tattoo, however, lots of these cats are later adopted out, so I guess it is possible...normally a male symbol with a line through it either means deceased or sterile so it makes sense..
post #5 of 9
Tattoos are sometimes done as ID for cats if lost, or on cats in feral colonies.
post #6 of 9
I've heard that some clinics do a belly tattoo so if a cat is taken in to be fixed by a trapper of ferals or a new owner, another vet will not open them up again needlessly. I think it's a great idea.
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your replies.

I don't think he could've been a feral...he's not skittish enough... But, I don't have a lot of experience, so not sure on that...

Could've been a former owner tattoo maybe, but it is BIG, numbers are about 3/4" tall...If I was getting my cat tattooed, I'd want the mark to be somewhat smaller...It takes up almost all of the space between his back legs. It's looking like T(or 5) 514 neuter symbol.

Thanks for your help!
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Not that I should be happy that he's groomed more hair off of his belly, but, now we know that it is I 514.

Any ideas about where I could find a tattoo directory, etc?

I'm going to the vet on Tuesday with one of the kittens (stubborn ear infection) so I'll tell her then and see what they say.

post #9 of 9
My SO's cousin works in an animal research lab at a university and they use cats. His own cat used to be a lab cat, so they do adopt them out sometimes.

No idea about the practice of tattooing, though I have heard of it being used for ferals. (on the ears though, instead of ear clipping).
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