Ever seen feral cats with a distinct cut on the tip of their ears?
This isn’t from their tough life on the streets or from fighting, but rather a way to identify that they have been sterilised and released.
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These cats have been ‘ear-tipped’ or ‘notched’. This is a surgical alteration showing that a free-living, feral cat has been spayed or neutered and returned to the streets. It’s part of ‘Trap, Neuter and Return’ (TNR).
“These feral cats should never be re-trapped or brought to a shelter, unless sick or wounded. Instead, they should be left in their neighborhood to provide both cat and rodent population control,” advised the Cats of Durban organisation.
Studies have shown by just being there, these cats prevent others from moving into the area and keep the numbers of rodents drawn to the littered alleyways low. Most importantly, because these ferals have been fixed, they won’t contribute to the many litters of kittens that born every month, therefore controlling the population of stray cats.
Even if cats aren’t your thing, these TNR ear-tipped cats have an important role to play in keeping the neighbourhood a pleasant place to live in.