The Zombies Ate My Brains

Rescuing what might remain of the grey matter.

Ugly Puss

Jimmy D through the kitchen window.

Jimmy D through the kitchen window.

We’ve had a couple of feral tom cats hanging around our yard for the last three years. Between neighbour South’s and our household, the cat population totals six. A container of cat food sits next to the back door in case anyone should wander by. By “in case anyone should wander by” I mean morning, noon, and night, all six cats enjoy meals at our place.

Jimmy D was first to arrive on the scene. He’s a very dark orange tabby, five to ten years old. He’s had a hard life and is quite timid and not at all aggressive.

Mr Black Cat

Mr Black Cat

Mr. Black Cat arrived a year later. He’s between two and five years old, almost twice the size of Jimmy D. He doesn’t mind pushing his weight around. The two have had some very serious brawls, all the more violent since both of them are fully equipped toms.

Even Oscar tangled with the black boy, much to his (and my) dismay. He attacked first, and I expect he instantly regretted the move. I had to break it up. It was winter and tufts of orange/white and black fur mangled the white expanse of snow.

Reiner is completely devoted to the strays, and has managed to tame them. During the winter months, he sets up heat lamps over their beds. They stay warm and dry and quite comfy on an old sofa. Now we can approach both cats and they enjoy having their ears and chins scratched. Mr. Black Cat allows Reiner to pick him up and he has even fallen asleep on Reiner’s lap.

Earlier this year, I decided that it was time to have the big talk. You know, the sex talk. About [whisper] snip-snip.

Reiner demurred. He refused to listen to reason for fear that the animals would hate him. “Sweetheart,” I said, “It’s the right thing to do!”

It’s better for the cats and it’s certainly better for us if an un-spayed female should come by. Besides, there is no way that I will have Mr. Black Cat in the house if he’s not fixed.  I know that besides fighting with Oscar, Black Cat will spray and mark the house. Not happening!

Summer came and went and the cold autumn nights had arrived. One day South came over to chat. “Hey,” he said. “If you don’t see Black Cat around, it’s because he likes to hang out in our kitchen.”

That night, Reiner turned to me and said, “You know? I think it’s time to get Mr. Black Cat fixed.”

Next day, I called the vet nearest home, just a five-minute drive away.  The technician told me that they would need to see the cat twice. Once for his inoculations and then later for the surgery. There was a possibility a third trip might be required.

“You can’t do everything in one visit?” I pleaded.

“No, sorry,” and she gave me some explanation that I cannot remember because I had stopped paying attention. The procedure would cost the better part of $500.00. That is if we could convince the cat to get back into the cage the second time. I explained my dilemma.

The technician was kind enough to refer me to Haven’s Hope, about twenty minutes drive away. They have a trap and release program.

Perfect.

I called and set up the appointment. For $75.00 they neuter the cat, give him a thorough check-up, his shots, and attend to any other issues. All in one visit. Perfect? Purrfect!

When we dropped the cat off at Haven’s Hope on Monday, the technician re-explained the process. She mentioned that they would notch his ear.  As I signed the release papers, we joked that he might not need the notch as he already has a couple of good gashes from his battles with Jimmy D.

I retrieved the cat the next day, right on schedule. Before she brought him to the front, the vet warned me that Black Cat’s ears are apparently unusually thick, and the ear notch is uglier than I would expect.

To say that I am conflicted is an understatement.

I should have made inquiries instead of jokes.

I should have made inquiries instead of jokes.

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Categories: In Other News

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78 replies

  1. I’ll tell you what, I wouldn’t recommend them to anyone who wants their ears pierced. But they’re handsome cats all the same.

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  2. He’s still a good lookin’ Tom and you certainly did the right thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well, I learned something new today by googling “notched cat ears.” I understand the “why” now, but Holy Overkill! In any case, you done good, Maggie, very good indeed.

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  4. Oh my!

    But, ya know, I bet he is rockin’ that distinctive ear like the Bad Boy he is, boasting to the other cats “Don’t f#%k with me ‘cuz they came for my balls, and you should see the other guy”. Or something like that.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Poor guy — he’ll never know.

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  6. So, is this a Canadian notch? I think it means something different here.
    Have you got a tale of derring-do ready for the “what happened to his ear?” questions?

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    • This is totally new to me. I don’t know how widespread the practice is, Heather – North America wide, I suspect. A Facebook friend from the UK was appalled, however, and suggested that if a vet tipped a cat’s ears over there, they’d lose their right to practice for mutilating the animal. I have to confess that mutilate is the word that crossed my mind.

      You make a very good point. What to tell South?

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      • Actually it’s quite common, and although it’s hard to accept in a cat that you’ve grown fond of there’s a good reason for making the “notch” so radical. I have a friend who has been the local “feral cat lady” for the past 25 years or more. She and the volunteers who support her have rescued literally thousands, both through catch-and-release programs and by rehoming the kittens and whichever others can be socialized. A few years ago she was the driving force behind starting a low cost spay/neuter clinic for our community. All the cats get the same care Maggie describes, and I think they charge around $40 per cat. The ear tip saves a LOT of time; it can be seen easily, so they don’t waste time trying to trap a shy cat that’s already been done. I think it’s a bit harsh to refer to it as “mutilation”, frankly. It may not be pretty, but it sure looks better than a sick, badly mauled, half-starved feral – which is what we will have in abundance without the dedicated work of rescue volunteers.

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        • Thanks for your explanation. I appreciate hearing from someone who is familiar with service.

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          • Thanks, Maggie. It’s somewhat of a sensitive issue for me, because I spent five-plus years running a dog rescue before I suffered severe burnout. The primary cause of the burnout was the relentless criticism and complaining from people who weren’t interested in being part of the solution, and didn’t take the time to understand the problem. So ja, I also hate the way cats look with a chunk lopped off their ears, and it’s great when people are willing to take one in and make it a family member and spend the money on a regular vet. But most ferals stay feral, which means they are a problem MOST people don’t want to deal with. I figure that if rescuers, who are pouring their lives and hearts into these creatures, need to cut off a piece of ear to make their work easier, then it’s not for me to complain about the fact that kitty looks a tad lopsided.

            Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh that look he is giving you!!!! Too much!

    You did the right thing though…really you did.

    Sherry

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  8. I wouldn’t call that a notch. He was semi-de-eared! Here they do a small V in the side near the tip. Easy peasy and visible. This poor guy needs a prosthesis! Of course it’s better than a hook paw or a patch over the eye for the cat pirates.

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  9. OH MY WORD! They did not notch his ear! They tipped his ear! Ugh!
    Well I sure am glad Mr Black Cat is otherwise cared for!

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  10. You guys are so wonderful to take care of these cats. We now have a wild cat, but he seems to be taming down. Doubt he’ll tame down enough to pet, but he’s looking lots better than when he first came to us. We think it’s a he because we thought we saw jingles jangle.

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  11. Bloody hell!!! If this is “notching” his ear, you should be thanking the Great Almighty that they didn’t accidentally “snip” off his hind legs along with his balls!

    In case he asks, tell him I said he’s as gorgeous as ever.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. I’m still rather traumatized by the notch in that poor little guy’s ear … but that didn’t stop me from laughing heartily at some of the comments. Bwahahahahaha!!!!

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    • Oh me too, traumatized! Isn’t it awful? I’ve had cats all of my life and all have been barn cats or cast offs or strays and all have been adequately vetted. Never have I encountered this ear-tipping thing, then again, I’ve never taken part in a trap and release program. That was my error, I think. It was/is our intention to adopt Mr. B. That is, if he’s so inclined. Urgh. Lesson learned.

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      • I have a friend who is involved with the Guelph Humane Society. She is the one who fostered Theo (his mother was a feral cat). I’m going to share your story with her to get her reaction (I’m pretty sure I already know!!)
        Thankfully Theo was microchipped – not notched!

        I think I would be inclined to love Mr Black Cat even more for his grace under a botched experience with “cosmetic surgery”. ❤

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  13. This warmed my heart, Maggie. We did this with Grey Ghost. But we’ve never seen him again so I think we did his owner a favor….or disfavor, if he even had an owner. I think Jimmy D and Mr Black are now un-feraled, thanks to the heat lamp and sofa. What little sweethearts–the cats and you and Reiner! Yeah, about that notch…. 😦

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  14. Thanks for this post. And thanks for taking care of the our feline neighbors. I’ve trapped and neutered feral cats in past years. But we didn’t get the ear pruned at the sames time as the lower parts. Do they charge extra for this? How hard could it have been to NOTCH the ear. Gak!

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  15. I would not regard that as a notch. Did they use a chain saw? If I was Black Cat I would want my money back (amongst other things).

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Such a good thing you’ve done for the strays … but that notch does seem a “little” excessive, doesn’t it?!

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  17. No kitty is ugly, aw – they just look abused and abandoned. Very happy to see someone else cares.

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  18. Wow, I’ve never seen a notch like that one. Poor fella, but I guess better that than babies.

    Give him some chin scratches for me 🙂

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  19. He looks in pretty good spirits considering he’s missing his balls and half an ear! Good boy!

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  20. What gorgeous cats! I’m so happy Mr. Black Cat can stay inside to his hearts’s content and snuggle with you and Reiner all winter. So sorry about the notch – but who would have known?! He will never know.

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  21. A well earned pity kitty pose from a rough one night stand at the Crotch-n-Notch (Botch?) Hotel. Priceless, even if you didn’t use Mastercard. Gives a whole new meaning to “ear-marked” and a another reason why humans shouldn’t run with scissors. Don’t beat yourself up, though, you meant the best and Poster Boy apparently still loves you. Notch-o is Grande.

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  22. I guess he can’t even fake it with that ear job.

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  23. Thanks so much for taking care of these cats. Brava. But wtf on the ear. That looks painful and unnecessary. The vet had to have slipped.

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  24. I got to that picture of his ear getting hacked off and thought, “Oh, KITTY! 😦 😦 :(” At least he doesn’t look too pissed off about it ❤ You're a kind person.

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  25. And I said “Oh no! Poor Mr Black Cat” but I guess he had his mind on other missing bits anyhow. I’m glad he isn’t holding a grudge. We haven’t had strays here for ages. ❤

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  26. 75 bucks??? To put the romance out of him? A good kick in the stones doesn’t cost a penny. 🙂

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  27. Still a handsome boy and it seems that he has the best home ever.

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Trackbacks

  1. The Cats Move to Cobalt – The Zombies Ate My Brains
  2. Share Your World – February 20, 2017 – The Zombies Ate My Brains

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