Cat owner ear tipped their domestic cat’s left ear to make him acceptable under the law

In America, local laws concerning cat ownership, feral cats, TNR and outside cats vary which can cause confusion and it can force cat owners to do some peculiar things.

Pirate Cat
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Pirate Cat. He isn’t bothered about the law but he lost the tip of one ear because of it.

There is a cat living in Marion County, Indiana whose name is Pirate Cat. He is quite famous and he likes to roam outside. He is a domestic cat but prefers to be outside. In Marion County, which is adjacent to Carmel, it seems that cats are not allowed to wander around outside unless he is deemed to be a community cat. Community cats (feral cats) are identified in Marion County by having a small portion of their left ear cut off (“ear tipping”). This means that the cat is spayed or neutered and vaccinated and is a bona fide feral cat in a manage colony. But Pirate Cat is definitely not a feral cat and neither is he a community cat. He just looks like that to the authorities (until the story broke!). He was ear tipped by his owner I believe. I am not sure. If he was it was done without anesthetic which would have been painful. Otherwise a vet would have done it. But that would have been wrong because Pirate Cat is not a community cat. He is an ‘owned cat’.

Another problem is that as he is a free-roamer he wanders into an adjacent jurisdiction, Carmel. In Carmel the law governing feral cats is different to that in Marion County. In Carmel they are considered to be a public nuisance and if a domestic cat roams outside the owner could be fined $100

So what happens when Pirate Cat wanders into Carmel? When he did this and his owners are hoping that he will be pardoned by the mayor of Carmel. Apparently, he was picked up by an Indiana State Police trooper. He was eventually returned to his owner and there was no fine. Perhaps his fame saved his skin.

Useful links
Anxiety - reduce it
FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages
Children and cats - important

I suppose this little story highlights the difficulties that can be encountered by wandering cats because they don’t think about boundaries and borders like humans do and neither do they have any concept of human law! But I found it a bit disturbing that he had to lose a bit of one of his ears in order to be legal when he was outside.

Pirate Cat belongs to Amanda Cancilla and her boyfriend Matt Gufreda. The source is cs4indy.

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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3 Responses

  1. Kit says:

    Owned cats often have eartips. I don’t know about CA but in TX and elsewhere cats done at the free clinics have mandatory eartips. Some owners can also request it if their cats will be outdoors and they want to be sure that it won’t be picked up.

    • Michael Broad says:

      Thanks for that Kit. It seems to be used therefore in a misleading way because it is saying the cat is a community cat (to avoid breaking the law or to be picked up) and not an owned cat. Isn’t this a lie? Ear tipping of domestic cats is never done in the UK.

  2. Albert Schepis says:

    Not cool doing that without anesthetic! A vet would say that’s practicing veterinary medical care without a license too. I don’t get why at least some of these ear-tips don’t result in aural hematoma either… an expensive and lengthy injury to correct without amputation. Glad P.C. wasn’t arrested and fined.

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