Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ask Scarlett and Melly: Spay Tattoos

I was going to put the answers to all of the questions in one post, but it got to be about a mile long, so I'm splitting them up.

There have been a few follow-up questions on the spay tattoo post. To better show what I'm talking about, here is an old picture of Melly in which her belly is still shaved, thus allowing an excellent view of her tattoo (it's the dark dash on the lower portion of her stomach).


I did a bit of reading yesterday on the subject of spay tattoos, and it turns out that many, but not all, veterinarians that spay and neuter cats use tattoos to show that a cat has been "fixed." It's more common with organizations like animal shelters and rescues than with private veterinarians. Apparently the practice started with feral cats: vets would notch or clip an ear tip so that neutered cats were readily identifiable and would not be put through the trauma of being re-trapped. Some vets actually clip the ear of non-feral cats too (ack!), but tattooing the belly, the inside of an ear, or both is more common. Since not all spay/neuter operations result in visible scars, the idea is that a vet about to perform a surgery will see the tattoo and stop before opening the cat up.

12 comments:

Rene said...

How interesting. I've never heard of a spay tattoo, but it makes sense. Thanks for modeling that, Melly!

Karen said...

And I really wish more vets would do it. When we adopted Kasey (male) from our local shelter, he was in with the female's and her name was Rosie, they thought he was a girl. We had to wait a week for her to be spayed before we could bring her home. When I picked her up, they told me that she must have been spayed already as when they opened her up, there was nothing in there to do!

Over the next few months I noticed a particular behaviour where Rosie would grab Roxie by the scruff of the neck and sit on her. I thought this looked like very typical male behavior so I took Rosie to our vet and low and behold..it's a boy! Already neutered boy..so we changed his name to Kasey.

If the vet that had neutered Kasey had used a tattoo they would have known he was already spayed..he may still have been named Rosie by the shelter but at least they wouldn't have done surgery on him. I feel so bad for him, being opened up for no reason.

The funny thing, since we found out he is a boy, he doesn't grab Roxie by the neck anymore..I think he was trying to tell us "I'm not a girl, stop calling me Rosie"!

Simba said...

Sure does make sense!

Mr. Guilt said...

Ah ha! You hit upon something I was interested in! We just adopted two kittens from a rescue. we first met them, it was right after they were fixed, and the little girl had a green line on her belly. I had assumed it was somehow related to sutures. Now I know.

Cat said...

Wow, I've seen the notched ears before but I had never heard about the tattooing!!!!

Anonymous said...

Teeny MellyBelly : )

Sparkle said...

I never heard of a spay tattoo before, but I think they are a really good idea!

BeadedTail said...

We didn't get a spay tattoo from our shelter but it sounds like a great idea to prevent unnecessary operations to discover it's already been done!

Mark's Mews said...

That esplains it. We thought the "tattoo" was the operation scar itself! I dont actually have a tattoo, then, but I seem ta have enough lumps in the scar tissue so anny vet would know Ive been spayed (if I ever got lost).

Ayla

meowmeowmans said...

That makes a lot of sense! Nice tattoo, Melly! :)

ABBY said...

The spay tattoo you mentioned was the first time we had heard about it, but it is really a good idea. None of us have one though. But our spay/neuters were all done by a private vet.
purrs
>^,,^<
♥Abby♥Boo♥Ping♥Jinx♥Grace♥

sue said...

To elaborate a bit on the purpose for the spay tattoo, at our shelter we do not allow animals to be adopted without being neutered. If the animal needs to wait a few days for surgery, it can delay a possible adoption resulting in unecessary use of kennel space that could be used by another incoming animal. Critters are shaved to look for a spay scar as soon as their stray wait has expired. Best to know right away if the critter is ready for adoption!