E: Ear Tipping

A2Z-BADGE [2016]


When you start seeing wild Tom Cats in the neighborhood sporting nipped ears, they’re not necessarily the result of fighting on their wild nights on the town.

According to Neighborhood Cats: The Feral Cat Experts:

Eartipping is the universal sign of a neutered feral cat. The procedure involves removing approximately a quarter-inch off the tip of the cat’s left ear in a straight line cut. This is done while the cat is anesthetized for spay/neutering and healing is rapid. As a guide to veterinarians, a detailed description of the procedure is provided at the end of this page.

Gaining in popularity among the Trap-Neuter-Release programs, this easily signals that the cat has already been spayed/neutered, saving the cat the stress of an unwarranted trap and vet visit. Especially useful in colonies where interbreeding has resulted in many common appearances, this is also a safer procedure than metal ear tags which can easily get caught in foliage and twigs, either tearing the cat’s ear or falling off.

Alley Cat Allies agrees. They state: “No other method of identification has proven to be as safe or as effective as eartipping.”

What are your thoughts about ear tipping fixed, feral cats?

ear tipping


11 thoughts on “E: Ear Tipping

    1. I believe both city and rural environments. A friend that’s in a city not far from me (well, medium sized north Texas city, not like NYC or LA) had been feeding a feral cat. He’d disappeared for a few days and then showed up with his ear tipped. Evidently one of her neighbors caught the cat and had him fixed. You’re right about coyotes. They keep the cat population maintained in some areas.


  1. I was a care manager in a cat-only animal shelter. I handled and helped adopt out hundreds of the kiddos, and helped with a local TNR program. Tipped ears are wonderful, because they can head off unnecessary surgeries. If a female cat has a tipped ear, no one will try to spay her (again) after trapping. It saves the cat trauma, and the program an expensive redundancy.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Great post. It amazes me how many people don’t know what ear tipping is. My most recent addition, had his right ear tipped because he had a hematoma on the left . He also had wounds so they wanted to euthanize unless he could be kept inside for 6 moths. There is no way, I would release him after that so he is my new cat.

    Liked by 1 person

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