Are some people who care for feral cat colonies clipping the ears of cats to give the impression that the cat is neutered (although they are not), which helps to protect the cat from being trapped and euthanised? I have no idea. Neutered (male) and spayed (female) cats do not present a problem to a community of people as they are part of a controlled feral cat colony. For that reason, they should be treated as community cats and left alone.
The allegation comes from Woodsman in a comment that I will not publish. I know we should give little credence to what he says. He is a heartless bastard and cat killer but it could just be true and I would like to see if I can receive some sort of feedback on the comment. Note to Woodsman: don’t bother to comment unless you keep it polite and provide some hard facts and proof.
If it is being done by some misguided but big-hearted feral cat carers, it is wrong. It will damage the long term prospects of TNR programmes. It is imperative that TNR is shown to work. The way to do that is to carry it out properly, thoroughly and for a long time, with the backing of local authorities, ideally.
Clipping the left ear of a feral cat is a sign that the cat has been neutered (male) or spayed (female). Sometimes the right ear is clipped. The procedure is carried out by the vet at the time the cat is sterilised. It should only be carried out by a vet for obvious reasons. There is a procedure that minimises pain and bleeding.
The top quarter inch of the left ear is cut in a straight line using sharp surgical scissors. It has been found to be the best way to identify sterilised feral cats as you can identify the cat from a distance. Taking photos of the cats, or ear tattoos and ear tags are all less effective, we are told.
Eartipping is a form of mutilation but a necessary compromise in managing feral cat colonies.