While browsing the internet I noticed this photograph by Nancy Simmons of an ear-tipped cat. I’ll guess and say that you thought the same as me: too much of the ear was amputated.
At least it is the left ear. I see ear tipping of the right ear as well as the left. As I understand it, and based on the advice provided by Alley Cat Allies, the left ear should be ear-tipped to a near fixed length.
Their full advice is as follows:
“Eartipping is a surgical procedure performed under anesthesia by a veterinarian – that removes of the distal one-quarter of a cat’s left ear, which is approximately 3/8 inch, or 1 cm, in an adult and proportionally smaller in a kitten.” – Alley Cat Allies. “Distal” means the extremity.
For clarity: 1 cm is .39 inch and 3/8th of inch is about 0.37 inch. Another site (neighborhoodcats.org) says that a 1/4 inch should be amputated. This is 0.25 inch. Some confusion.
The best guideline, I believe, is that 1/4 (0.25 or 25%) of the left ear should be amputated. This allows people to see the ear-tipping at a distance while keeping to a minimum the aesthetic disturbance of the operation which is carried out under anaesthetic by the surgeon who does the spay or neuter operation. This guideline also accommodates various ear sizes and feline ear size does vary considerably. It also accommodates young cats with smaller ears.
For those who are unaware (not many) ear-tipping is carried out by volunteers engaged in TNR programs on feral cats. It tells people that the cat has been sterilised under a TNR program. This is good for that. It protects the cat in fact. Sometimes these programs are government sponsored or approved.
In do not wish to criticise the good people involved in TNR; the opposite in fact. I simply think there might be a need for improved guidelines concerning feral cat ear-tipping and better training.
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