7 Frequently Asked Questions on Ear-Notching

If you are familiar with AnimalCare’s Neutering Aid policy, you might already be aware that ear-notching is compulsory.


What Does This Mean?

If you see any cats (and even dogs) with snipped or notched ear, it means that they should never be re-trapped or brought to a shelter. Instead, they should be left in their neighborhood to provide cat population control. Studies have shown by just being there, they prevent other cats from moving into the area. And, because they have been fixed, they will never have litters of kittens.

It means, even if you don’t like cats, you MUST UNDERSTAND this:

CNRM ear-tipped cats have an important job to keep your neighborhood a nice place to live.

Frequently Asked Questions About Ear-Notching

1. Does ear-tipping/notching hurt the cat?

It is extremely safe and is performed while the cat is already anesthetized for spay or neuter surgery. There is little or no bleeding involved, and it is not painful to the cat.

2. Does ear notching affect a cat’s hearing?

No, ear notching should not affect a cat’s hearing in any way. The notch is made in the outer edge of the ear and does not penetrate the ear canal or affect the inner ear.

3. Can ear notching be done on pet cats?

While ear notching is typically done as part of CNRM programs for feral and stray cats, it can also be done on pet cats for identification purposes. In Singapore, for example, way back as far as 2009, cat parents were already bringing their neutered pet cats back for notching if it had not been done earlier. This is the level of awareness in Singapore at that time. The reason is simply this: Even pets can run out of the house. And what if for some reason, the pet is later rehomed to a family that allows the cat to roam freely?

There is no disadvantage in the notching for the cat. The constant problem we encounter is the objection of the parent/owner for cosmetic reasons or due to ignorance that it would be “painful”. An ear notch or snip is definitely much milder than the neutering/spaying procedure.

4. Why are cats ear notched in CNRM programs?

CNRM programs are designed to help manage populations of feral and stray cats in a humane way. Ear notching is used as a way to identify cats that have already been trapped, neutered, and returned to the community. This allows CNRM workers to avoid trapping and sterilizing the same cat multiple times, which can be stressful, absolutely unnecessary and a risk.

5. How long does ear notching last?

Ear notching is a permanent identification method that should last for the lifetime of the cat. The notch should remain visible even as the ear grows and changes over time.

6. How can I tell if a cat has been ear notched?

If a cat has been ear notched, you should be able to see a small V-shaped notch in the outer edge of one ear. The notch is typically made in the left ear, but in some cases, it may be made in both ears.

7. Is ear notching the same as ear tipping?

Ear notching and ear tipping are similar procedures, but they involve different techniques. Ear notching involves making a V-shaped notch in the ear, while ear tipping involves removing a small portion of the ear tip.

This is a flat snip (also called an ear tip) on the left ear. Kiko is one of my rescues. She looks quite pissed off in the pic because I woke her up to take this photo. Sorry Kiko, but thank you for your service.


This is a V-Notch. This is Rosie, she was also a CNRM-cat in Kah Yein’s neighbourhood. Rosie passed away a few years ago.

In AnimalCare, our primary mission has always been and will always be to get people to neuter animals.
Over the years, we have assisted in 11,112 neutering cases of cats and dogs, as of March 2023.

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