Feral Cat Coalition Clinic Procedures
Effective Ear-Tipping 101
To mark each sterilized feral cat as "fixed", the Feral Cat Coalition requires that every cat spayed or neutered by us has its right ear tipped, straight across 1/4 inch. This allows the cat, if trapped again, to be released without having to undergo anesthesia and surgery again. We use a straight line, as opposed to a notch, to ensure that fight injuries will not be mistaken for ear-tipping.
- Turn anesthetized cat on its left side, back facing you. The right ear is then sitting up with the back facing you.
- For right-handed people - take measured tip of ear between your left thumb and forefinger (or forefinger and middle finger if that feels more comfortable) in as straight a line as possible. (For left-handed people hold with the right hand.) You will be able to eyeball the amount to cut after you have done it this way a few times. (Cut 1/4 inch for most cats with normal sized ears - 1/6 inch for kittens or very small-eared cats.)
- Holding a sharp scissors (not a scalpel) in the right hand, cut the right ear at the line created by the fingers holding the ear. Try to do this with one clean, straight cut, if possible to minimize bleeding. (For left-handed people, hold scissors in left hand and cut right ear as described.)
- Moisten some styptic powder with a little water to make paste. Apply the paste to the ear to prevent bleeding.
- Watch cat for bleeding. If bleeding does occur, apply a hemostat for a short while. In most cases, this will not be necessary.
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[Page updated November 2009]