Animal Life
7:00 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Animal Life: The Benefits Of Ear-Tipped Feral Cats

Ear-tipped cats have been sterilized and released to help stabilize wild cat populations.
Ear-tipped cats have been sterilized and released to help stabilize wild cat populations.
Credit Robert Lowe / Flickr
Porchy the neighborhood cat.
Porchy the neighborhood cat.
Credit Kate Richardson

When I step out my front door, the first thing I usually see is a feral cat soaking up the sun. Some may view community cats as a nuisance, but these unique felines actually play an important role in the city.

A feral cat with a tipped ear signals that it's been sterilized and is no longer able to reproduce. The ear tip also signals that the cat has been vaccinated, and it's being cared for by an individual. Ear-tipped cats stabilize feral colonies by keeping unsterilized cats from moving in and repopulating an area. They also help reduce the number of unwanted mice, rats and snakes in the neighborhood.

Community cats may seem like the wild cousins of spoiled house cats. But not all of them are as untamed as you might think. 

The Louisiana SPCA provides information about feral cats and how you can become involved in the trap/neuter/release program

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