Hat Tip to Ear Clips!


Have you ever seen a stray cat with one of its ears clipped? Well, don’t worry. It’s a GOOD THING! That clipped ear – known as “ear-tipping” – is a visual sign to let you know that this cat is the lucky beneficiary of a TNR (Trap/Neuter/Return) Program.

Ownerless cat groups – also known a “Community Cats” — have been living among humans for thousands of years. While these kitty groups, called “colonies,” are beneficial in keeping down rodent populations, they can spread diseases and become hazardous to human populations if left uncontrolled.

Because these cats are not socialized to humans they aren’t adoptable, even if they are caught. Left in the colony without intervention, these cats will continue to produce litters of even more unwanted cats. So, the TNR Program was designed as a humane way to control the health and population of these cat colonies while protecting the humans in the communities in which they live.

There is a beautiful member of the TNR Program living outside over here at The Humane Society of the Nature Coast. We’ve named her Miss Mae-Mae and, unlike most strays, Miss Mae-Mae is affectionate to those she gets to know and will not hesitate to let you know she’s ready to receive some attention.

Hernando County Animal Services (HCAS), in partnership with PetLuv Spay and Neuter Clinic and the Humane Society of the Nature Coast, announced in October 2018 the implementation of a Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Return (TNVR) program in Hernando County.


This catch and release program for feral and community cats complies with Florida Statute and has three primary objectives:

  1. Control the cat population through sterilization.
  2. Prevent the spread of rabies through vaccination.
  3. Minimize euthanasia.

When Community Cats are trapped, they are spayed or neutered and vaccinated for rabies by a veterinarian. The veterinarian then clips the cats left ear – a painless procedure performed while the cat is sedated – and the cat is returned to their colony. The ear-tipping gives observers an excellent way to identify and monitor the cats who have received the benefits of the TNR Program from a distance. To date, no other program has proven to be more successful in reducing the number of stray/community cats!

So, if you happen to notice a healthy-looking kitty with a cropped left ear, leave it alone and be happy. It’s part of a monitored, healthy colony and wants to go home to its family!

If you see a cat you think is a stray and the ear isn’t cropped, call PetLuv at (352) 799-9990.

Contributed by the Humane Society of the Nature Coast.