The clipped left ear is a sign that the cat has already been Trapped, Neutered, Vaccinated, and Returned. Most feral cats are very skittish, and it is difficult to get close enough to see if a male has been neutered or look for a tattoo or spay scar on a female. This way, our colony caregivers can immediately tell who has already been TNVRed based on the NBCCC clipped left ear.
The males and female feral cats are much easier to identify as fixed because of the identifying clipped left ear. Often, a small notch is used in other TNVR programs. However, a notch can be difficult to see, especially at night when trapping. Therefore, New Braunfels Community Cat Coalition has chosen a 1/3 ear clip on the left side for our community cats.
There may be some soreness following surgery, but the ear clipping procedure is completed under anesthesia during the spay or neuter. The thin flesh of the ear tip heals very quickly, and a special non-painful cauterizing solution is used to stop any bleeding. With this procedure in place, the ear stops bleeding very quickly.
It is also more humane to clip the left ear for easy recognition instead of re-trapping, sedating, checking for spay/neuter, and then returning the feral cat back to its location. All of this stress can be detrimental for the cat, and we want to minimize this process as much as possible! Less stress means happier kitties!