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Have you ever seen or had a cat that was tatted from head to toe? Maybe the previous owner was tough and wanted their cat to match their character. All jokes aside, If you ever find a female cat that has a tattoo, don’t worry. This is common among vet’s to signify that the cat has been spayed.
Do all vets tattoo spayed kittens? The answer to this question is no. Not all vets will tattoo a cat or kitten after spaying. There are however, other indicators or methods a vet may use signify a cat has been spayed.
If you haven’t guessed yet, a tattoo is a sign that a cat has been spayed. This mostly applies to female cats. As the correct term for a male is neutered. So why the favoritism you ask? Well you see, when a male cat is neutered, it is easy to visually see that they are missing the family jewels. This doesn’t mean that they can’t have tattoos as well, but you will mostly see it on a spayed cat.
With a female cat, you just can’t tell if they have had their reproductive organs removed. A physical marking like a tattoo is permanent and can easily be seen by people and vets alike.
One of the worst nightmares for a vet is attempting to spay an animal for a second time. The vet opens up the cat’s abdomen to search and find the uterus and ovaries. After frustration and extensive searching, they then deem that the cat has already been spayed.
This process wastes a lot of valuable time as other cat’s that actually need to be spayed are still waiting. Not only is it time-consuming, but it also puts the cat in a lot of stress and paint for no reason at all.
This is where it all started. After countless nightmare surgeries for the vets and cats, it was decided to start marking or tattooing cats that have already been spayed in order to stop these unneeded surgeries.
Not All Vets Will Tattoo
First you should know that not all vets will tattoo a cat after spaying. If this is a domestic house cat then there is no real need if the cat will be staying in one home. A tattoo is mostly given to stray or wild cats that have been rescued.
Not all vets will tattoo a cat, but what about the ones that do? The ones that leave a mark on a cat’s incision will use several different methods. The ink will vary in color, size, shape, and form. The ink is usually black or blue. The color of the ink usually depends on the color of the cat.
According to MyPetsDoctor, the most standard type of tattoo is a solid line, or a thin S-shaped line near the incision to mark to let future caregivers know that this cat has already been spayed.
A tattoo isn’t always the best indicator. Sometimes that tattoo can get covered up under the cat’s fur, and the only way to see it is by shaving the cat.
Why Mark a Spayed Cat?
So why even mark a cat in the first place? Having an incision mark from surgery in the abdominal area isn’t a true sign that a cat has been spayed. An incision scar can interpret other surgeries like a c-section, bladder surgery, or even just a simple injury.
The number one reason cats are marked is to help with the overpopulation of cats. Alley Cat Allies is an organization that is dedicated to helping stray and feral cats. They actually advocate clipping off the tip of the cat’s left ear to signify this. This helps the community efforts to address the cat overpopulation problems.
Feral and stray cats, if not sterilized, will mass produce at an alarming rate. This further increases the overpopulation growth in cats. To help stop the excessive reproduction of cats, these feral cats are being captured, sterilized, and then marked.
Clipping the ear, or ear-tipping, is a universal practice among vets that tells rescuers that a cat has already been spayed. Vets that ear-tip do not tattoo.
Other Signs That May Show a Cat Is Spayed
Aside from tattooing a cat, there are a few other indicators that have been used through the years to indicate a spayed cat.
- Ear Tipping – This is the idea of cutting or slitting the cat’s ear tissue. A small piece of tissue is cut off of a cat’s ear, or a small diagonal slit is used to indicated the the cat has been sterilized.
- Micro Chip – Micro-chipping is another example of a different technique used to mark spayed cats. The one problem with micro-chipping is that the cat must be captured and scanned to see if they even have a micro-chip inserted.
- Collars or Ear Tags – Collars and tags are another method to mark a spayed cat. This method is more unlikely due to the simple fact that a collar or tag can easily be removed.
Do Male Cats Get Tattoos After Being Neutered?
Male cats are typically not tattoo’d or marked because it is fairly easy to tell if the testicles have been removed. If you find a male cat that has a tattoo, then they might have been mistaken as a female.
Neutering and spaying kittens is a common procedure which means the males reproductive organs are less developed, and harder to recognize. It’s harder to tell if a cat is male or female when they are kittens which can sometimes lead to an accidental marking.
With the overpopulation of cats increasing, spaying and marking stray cats is a must to keep it under control. Marking a cat is a tell tale sign for the community to know if a cat has already been spayed.
Tattooing and ear-tipping are the two most common methods used to mark a stray cat. A vet that does ear-tipping will not use a tattoo as this is mostly personal preference.