Yoshi The Cat’s Ear Tattoo

In truth, this was done by a vet for ID purposes, but Yoshi is very proud of it and thinks it makes him look tough. All the other cats are scared of him now because he told them he got it in the pound, and they think he’s probably on catnip again.


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About Shannon Larratt

Shannon Larratt is the founder of BME (1994) and its former editor and publisher. After a four year hiatus between 2008 and 2012, Shannon is back adding his commentary to ModBlog. It should be noted that any comments in these entries are the opinion of Shannon Larratt and may or may not be shared by BMEzine.com LLC or the other staff or members of BME. Entry text Copyright © Shannon Larratt. Reproduced under license by BMEzine.com LLC. Pictures may be copyright to their respective owners. You can also find Shannon at Zentastic or on Facebook.

106 thoughts on “Yoshi The Cat’s Ear Tattoo

  1. My first cat got ugly numbers tattoed in her ear by the vet, I don’t think she ever forgave me ! (I believe she wanted a little 9mm Glock tatt instead, she was tough like that).

  2. satahokahei – You know what, owning a cat is also “stupid and cruel” if we’re going to play this game. Owning a cat means that you keep one animal a prisoner for your own enjoyment, and then have many other animals killed in order to feed it. To me that seems a lot sicker if we’re going to start pointing fingers, so how about we just accept that we all live in massive hypocrisy when it comes to animals and leave it at that?

  3. Satahokahel, did you miss the bit about it being done by a vet for ID or are you just an idiot? Pet ID tattoos are more common than people think and arguably less hassle for the animal that being put under general anaesthetic to have a microchip implanted under their skin.

    “All the other cats are scared of him now because he told them he got it in the pound, and they think he’s probably on catnip again.”

    I LOL’d. :D

  4. >>Owning a cat means that you keep one animal a prisoner for your own enjoyment, and then have many other animals killed in order to feed it.

    Are you sure ?

    My cat seems to return to his “prison” each day for love and affection and lives happily off the scraps of meat, water and vegetables left over from my meals.

    Hardly Guantanamo is it ?

  5. Who’s domesticating whom here? My cat knows she owns me, not the other way around.

    Animals are, well, animals: all they want is love, food, exercise, and a life of ease. For that matter, not too different from most humans.

  6. 16# How would you know that ? You are just assuming that just becous it doesn’t ask for a xbox 360 it doesn’t want one.

  7. Shannon i disagree with the owning the cat thing as cruel, well i guess if you bought the cat it is, but all my pets, dogs and cats, just come to my house and want leave, I’m their prisoner, if i dont feed them they want leave me alone, i didnt ask for them. I’d have to agree with satahokahei, there are better ways of ID. But I did enjoy the story that went with the picture very funny.

  8. Their not under any anesthesia for either tattooing or mircorchipping? My cat has neither done, but she’s a mean ass cat, I don’t know if she could take out Yoshi here mind you, but the vet has to put her under to give her shots sometimes. I would actually fear for the vet if they tried to give her a tattoo with her still awake.

  9. hmmm….i seem to remember a large group of people that were forcefully tattooed a little over half a century ago for ID purposes…

  10. Shannon, cats aren’t prisoners. Humans are prisoners of cats. If you ever lived with a cat you would understand the dynamic.

    Also, if cats weren’t domesticated, I believe that they would still run free all over the place. They are survivors, and haven’t lost the majority of their natural instincts.

    Cats and humans have always had a mutual benefit relationship. Cats kept rats away which helped reduce things like the plauge, it was only natural for humans to gain an affinity for them.

    Now they are ‘pets’ but really humans are the pets of cats. I don’t care what Peta says. They are wrong in this account. The same cannot be said 100% for dogs, but cats are a totally different story.

    Yes, I do get your point, but I really dislike that concept.

  11. Shiza – It’s not as if they really have a choice in the matter — I don’t think “my pets could leave if they wanted to” can be taken all that seriously… and of course, it’s not as if the animals that you feed to your cat have a choice in the matter either.

  12. #23 – You can’t seriously be comparing tattooing a pet to the Holocaust?!

    Also, all my cats are microchipped and it’s really a VERY small chip- inserted with a needle while they’re awake. I watched one of them get done. I didn’t much care for the idea, but being that the little guys can’t talk and tell someone where home is, and we lived way out in the country, I thought it was best for them. Collars can slip off or even strangle the animal. Microchips and tattoos make way more sense.

    And I’m staying out of the “keeping pets is cruel” argument. It could go on for days.

  13. Me/24 – I do live with a cat actually. But I think it’s completely disingenuous to suggest that humans are not the controlling party in the relationship. Yes, it’s a nice thought, and cute to think about, but it’s simply not true.

  14. Can we please stop talking about animal rights and just laugh at the funny story that goes along with the picture? The animal rights issue has been debated about long enough in previous posts.

  15. not everyone, mostly just Giles

    Lots of cats get tattooed or their ears clipped to show that they have been spayed. With female cats you can’t tell if they have been spayed without cutting them open… so I’d say the tattoo is a fairly harmless thing to do.

  16. I think it only seems like fighting, because a friendly debate online, can seem angry because you really cant see the facial expressions behind them. For instance i was just debating a different point, i wasn’t angry or even considering it fighting. I think most of it is just friends giving friends a hard time.

  17. And to be clear as well, I’m not saying that animal ownership is cruel here — I’m saying that it’s hypocritical to attack someone over an ID tattoo when the fundamental truths of animal ownership are far darker.

  18. All these people who are claiming that their cats own them and that they come home at the end of the day are missing the big picture.

    While what you are saying may be true right now it has only occured because humans have created the situation. Cats have been tamed and breed to behave in a certain way. The house cat was created by humans.

    My family has a cat and I like her and have to share a room with her 4 months of the year so I am not against owning cats I am just trying to point out that people are thinking only of the type of cat that they know now.

  19. this is funny. a guy say that this tattoo is for ID purposes. omg, i don’t understand some people. this is normal procedure. and i think that is legal in “all” countrys in the world… this is not animal cruelty.
    i think you know what is animal cruelty, we don’t have to write here about this subject…

    i still think, that this is one tough cut! ;)

    free ur mind!

  20. This cat seems perfectly healthy and happy. At least he’s well fed and doesn’t look like he’s suffering from abuse of some kind. Not all cats are this lucky.

  21. My dog happened to be under general anesthesia when she was chipped, because I asked the vet to do it while she was already under for her spay. I don’t think the microchipping needle is that big a deal but I thought it would be nice to save her the extra stress. (I had her nails clipped while she was under, too.)

    For all we know that could have been the case with Yoshi.

  22. Aww the cat’s adorable.

    This is funny because the other day some friends and I were joking about how hardcore my dog is. She’s tattooed, has aesthetic amputation (some dickbag cut off her tail when she was a puppy to make her look ‘mean’), she’s been surgically sterilized, and she has an implant and some pretty badass scars. :)

    (I know there was talk above about animal cruelty and consent, so I guess I’ll point out that I’m just joking. She has all of the above, but she came from the pound that way, and I know they weren’t her choice. Everyone needs to lighten up and enjoy the picture. There’s nothing cruel about giving an animal a way to get home should they get lost.)

  23. The UK has a countrywide ‘Passport’ system for all pets coming in and leaving the country, we also have compulsory microchipping with a complete countrywide database that enables vets to trace animals to their owners across the entire country if lost. It certainly isn’t totally fail-safe but removing a chip is A LOT harder for potential criminals to do than simply covering over a tattoo making the prospect of animal theft less enticing.

    Tattooing animals is imperfect as it requires those finding a stray to firstly be aware what the tattoo is, where it is registered and requires the owners to remain in one place to correspond with the registries. If the tattoo is done on a kitten there is a chance it can grow obsolete, this doesn’t happen with a microchip (75 yr lifespan). The implant is completely tamper-proof and in no way adds to the appearance of the cat in any way.

    Sadly the US appears to not have a nationwide registry system for cats which is quite backward for a developed country. When it eventually does I think the consensus will be that chipping is the only real workable system.

  24. My cat is tattooed, has a subdermal implant, and is a eunuch. He’s BME4LYF, yo. And yes, it was all done under a local anaesthetic – I know because I was there at the time. :P

  25. Something is fucked up with modblog when I find myself agreeing with Shannon on consecutive posts. <3

    FWIW I have two cats and I’m a meat-eater, but the point is that unless you live in a cave and dine on moss for breakfast, lunch and dinner, you are in no position to criticise.

  26. >>you are in no position to criticise.

    You do when tattooing cats is clearly less effective than having them microchipped with a national database.

  27. Having said that, though:

    “have many other animals killed in order to feed it”

    To be fair, owned or liberated, cats can chalk up their own share of animal deaths for food.

  28. “You do when tattooing cats is clearly less effective than having them microchipped with a national database.”

    Are you deliberately ignoring the point? I was not referring to the relative merits of tattooing versus chipping. I was referring to the hypocrisy of the “OMG THIS IS SO CREUL” set.

    Also, how would you feel if this were a female cat? Would you take exception to the manocentric maleocracy forcing its female subjects into subservience via slave-like brandings?

  29. We have been modiying animals for years. From docking tails and ears, to breeders tattoo’s, to cattle brands. Hell it goes on and on and on. I think it looks good on this cat. I thought the story was funny, not too mention all the shit it stirred up. But hell I pierce goldfish, what do I know.

  30. As far as I’ve been told, in Australia, the animal is tattooed to indicate the presence of a microchip (and desexing, in the case of female animals, where it is not always obvious to the casual observer whether or not the animal is desexed). Microchips do NOT always respond to the scan, and they can shift under the skin and end up rather far away from the back of the neck, which can also make them harder to scan for. The tattoo is done with a plier-like clamp and takes literally a second to apply, I really don’t get what the big deal is. I object a lot more to people tattooing Hello Kitty on their dog’s stomach for purely cosmetic reasons than to a standardised mark indicating responsible pet ownership.

  31. Giles-
    My animal is both tattooed and chipped. In her case, the tattoo is a symbol of where she came from (the ASCPA), and a sign that she was micro-chipped by them, so that should she be lost, her rescuer should look in the ASPCA’s database for her information. And yes, I do agree a national system would be best, but this system has its merits.

  32. 52 – you’re right, over here, one ear tattoo signifies that the animal has been desexed, the other signifies that it has been chipped. They will chip without anaestesia, but they will not tattoo without anaesthesia. As the vet staff pointed out to me, an external reminder that the pet is chipped tells the rescuer to keep looking, as the chips can migrate quite far.

  33. Erin, also, if they get the left ear tattooed it means they’re gay, but if they get the right ear tattooed it means they’re straight. It’s very embarrassing to cats when you get it backwards.

  34. I did my part to stop this practice of marking unwilling cats and dogs with lousy tattoos. When I worked at the animal hospital I stole thier tattoo gun. And of course put it to good (haha very bad) use on myself and several friends.

  35. gosh, so much fail in the comments. come on, it’s a cat. it is done for identification purposes.

    I bet they;re all from a bunch of peta loving vegan straightedgers who secretly kick animals who are commenting with the fail. I’ve observed that most animal terrorist prefer the illegal activities to the wellbeing of actual animals.

  36. Giles I worked in a cat/dog shelter for 3 years and microchips are just as faulty as tattoo’s. Both work sometimes and sometimes they dont work. The things your saying about tattoos is exactally the same for microchips- owners must keep up thier records and make sure the people who they’re reg’d under are kept updated. We had so many microchipped dogs/cats come in that we never were able to find thier owners and so they were put up for adoption or put down.

    Tattoos are better as they’re more visable – microchips can also migrate in the body of the “said” animal. One dog who was microchipped had it migrate right out and anothers migrated into its leg almost near its foot. Im a huge beliver in having your pets both tattoo’ed and microchipped. If you seen how many pets didnt get happy endings when they became lost then you might feel differently.

    also my vet puts dogs/cats under to tattoo them- they will not/do not, do it when the animal is awake. Microchips are inserted in a large 10(ish) gauge needle while your pet is awake on the exam table. You can choose to have the microchip done while under at your own cost or while your in for another surgery.

  37. I’m fairly convinced my parents’ cats all live on the property of their own free will. Even the cat who sleeps inside most nights spends his day going in and out of the house at his demand. If he ever wanted to leave he’d be free to wander off and live like the other cats who show up for a free meal from time to time. We’ve had cats who chose to do just that and while it’s a bit sad, it’s their choice. The only cat they ever had whose outdoor visits were monitored was totally deaf and blind in one eye, she had a rather low survivability rate considering the speed limit in front of my folks’ house is 70mph.

  38. besides all this hypocritical bullshit and slander. this post reminds me of another that shannon posted that also got attacked (much like this). I for one am glad to see this- I think its a nice relief to see this featured here after all this is a body modification site no one said anything about humans and I think its cool. its a nice change of pace from the guy who amputated his own hand (which if i recall got less posts then this?)
    id like to get something similar done to my cat if i could..

  39. Tattooing or notching of the ears or tattooing of the belly (at least in the States) is typically done on wild/stray cats to mark them as desexed. Many shelters also tattoo, though this is becoming less common as microchips are being used more often. This is done while the cat is anesthetized for the desexing surgery.

    Having a visible mark prevents the cat having to go through the stress of being brought back to the clinic and re-anesthetized if it’s trapped again later. This is especially helpful with females, as it’s not easy to tell if they’ve been desexed previously–at the least, you have to shave the belly and look for a scar.

    Microchipping is not often done in these situations, because most of these cats are being returned to a feral colony or “barn-cat” situation, in which the visibility of the tattoo is much more helpful. In order to scan the microchip, the cat has to be taken back to the shelter or vet clinic, or the person managing the colony has to buy a scanner.

    Also, tattoos are a lot less expensive, and if you’re managing a cat colony, money is always an issue.

    As a side note–animals are not routinely anesthetized just to put a microchip in. The microchip is installed with a needle (14 gauge, in most cases), and is a very quick procedure. The only animal that I have anesthetized just for a microchipping was a parrot, due to the size and difficulty of restraint and risk of injury to the bird if he struggled. We do often take advantage of anesthesia for another reason to do as many unpleasant or stressful procedures as possible (cleaning ears, trimming nails, emptying anal glands, giving vaccines, etc.) so many microchips are installed under anesthesia.

  40. I’m so thankful that Mum and I had our “Fran” microchipped, because after two years away – missing somewhere in the neighbourhood I presume – I had a call from the local animal hospital to tell me that she’d been brought in by someone who’d found her roaming the street! Two years later!
    If it wasn’t for her microchip, she probably would have been put down eventually, as the hopital would have had no way of matching her to her owners.
    Needless to say, she is back home now and she, and I, are very happy *staying indoors* :)

  41. The industry standard needle bore for pet microchips is 12 gauge; at least one company offers 13 gauge packaging.

    The only animals that may have the occasion to be tattooed unsedated by licensed professionals are food animals (i.e., Bangs tattoo) and newborn laboratory animals. Tattoo outfits (http://www.fmb.com.au/index1.html) are the standard; machines are usually reserved for companion animal practice.

  42. The industry standard needle bore for pet microchips is 12 gauge; at least one company offers 13 gauge packaging.

  43. I got my cat microchipped here, but I’m still annoyed that the USA (yes, I complain about Americans a lot) does not use ISO standard frequency chips so if I bring her back to my home country or to another civilized country it’s useless. If we happen to have to transit through Japan for instance, I’ll have to buy my *own* chip reader to bring along since the Jap Customs officials or whatever won’t be able to read an AVID chip.

  44. I think the biggest classic here is that the very people stirring the shit are the ones condemning it once it kicks off :D

    Anyway, as Lori said in Australia they will tattoo a cat’s ear to show that it has been desexed, and they do this (along with microchipping in all cats born after 1999) while they are still under the general anaesthetic.

    And #65, most vegan people I know (myself included) aren’t fans of the shitty way PETA go about things either, so don’t assume that we are all the same.

  45. Meh. Chips may serve better then tattoos, but tattoos still beat the piercings cows get over here (only?) for identification purposes…

    …lolz @ start post. This cat looked tuff before the tat already :)

  46. AW that kitty is adorable. I love it’s little nose and whiskers. Cats are carnivores btw, they have a digestive system designed to digest meat. They get sick or have funny poops if they eat veggies.

  47. Cats definitely need a lot of protein in their diet, but they do need a bit of vegetable matter in their diet to keep the poop moving. That’s why they like grass clippings so much (my uncle had an indoor cat who would come running if he said the word “grass”).

  48. >>agreed. people only read modblog to fight anymore.
    brandenlouis on February 22nd, 2008 at 1:16 pm


    >>Definitely does feel that way on some entries, but I think it’s getting better.
    Shannon on February 22nd, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    It’s not fighting, but rather “lively” conversation and debate. Besides, if Giles got off his Ivory Horse, and paleblue weren’t such a prick we could all have a group hug. (Although, admittedly paleblue has been agreeable lately. huh?)


    And yeah, as a non pet person, I have nothing meaningful to contribute to this entry. :p

  49. healing a tattoo that size is no more painful than a simple flesh wound
    assuming the cat was tattooed under anesthesia I see absolutely nothing cruel about it, in fact I’m sure it will benefit this cat in the long run, as it will be easily identified if it gets itself lost

  50. That is rather funny story. HOWEVER i don’t think this whole “animal tattoo=>animal owning”argue will lead to anything. there is an expression in rissian: there are as many opinions as there are people.so i’m just gonna write my point of view without pointing any fingers.

    You cant really state who owes who!It’s just a result of the relationship with your animals. I have 3 cats and 1 dog and i LOVE them all and don’t regret a single minute i spent for them. I came to realise several things. First of DON’t say : oh my pet will never leave me,it loves me way too much.” THE MAIN (but not the only one) reason your pet won’t leave you is because it became a domestic animal and won’t survive on a wild cause i doesn;t know how to hunt. Another thing is for example is when cats are going out to find some females. duting these times your lovely pet who you fed when it was just a kitten doesn’t give a f*** about you. =) My pets are perfect examples for the most common behaviours: my first cat is rather old but he never asks for anything. if i’m out of town he won’t scream for food and just would go hunt. he is always sleeping but EVERYTIME i’m sad or have problems he finds me and plays with my hair whicj is rather funny. I dont how he knows when i’m sad without even seeing me all day but he just does. my other cat is a LAZY ass. he always wants to play and always begs for food. He can’t do anything on his own but still he is just hilarious. And finally my dog. He alwasy runs away with other dogs but whenever iäm going somewhere he wants to come along and if i won’t take him he will spent all the time on front of the door.

    But despite all the opinions i know that my pets love me. i dont need any proove i just see it in their actions.

    P.S. sorry for this little novel Modblog. i know that’s not what this website is about but since we were got into this argue and i’m in a great mood i just felt like writing this. =)

  51. Oh shut the hell up! He said it was for ID purposes. It’s been done, nothing you can do so why not stick to the “if you can’t say anything nice then don’t say anything at all” rule?
    Moving on… It’s a hardcore cat!

  52. Pingback: ModBlog - Animal Tattoos - Body modification and ritual blog sponsored by BMEzine.com

  53. wow stop flogging the dead horse does anyone dogs and is it not the same thing ,or a bird, rat ,hamster,fish its all the same thing as long as your not negleting them i think they are perfectly happy …but that is my opion

  54. These tats on animals don’t really bother them- they’re done with pressure. My thoroughbred horse was tattooed on the inside of his upper lip with his registration number. I think Yoshi’s ear looks cool.

  55. Some animal rights organizations consider animal ownership as enslavement.

    I’d love to see who uses their cat to generate hyrdoelectric power. Seriously.

    Anyway, if my cat was still with me, I would have gotten a matching tattoo with her. :)
    I think she was smart enough to understand everything, she wanted to be just like her mommy.

    I’m just thankful that I’m not as fuzzy as her, that’s one less thing we had in common.

  56. I haven’t read all the comments but I just wanted to say that my dog has a tattoo in his ear too and I highly doubt he even knows it’s there. It was done by a vet to show that he’s desexed or microchipped or something and it would have been done under anasethesia (spelling?) because there’s no way he would have layed still long enough if he was awake.

  57. So when is Giles going to donate all his moneys to all the various animal shelters and pounds of the very large United States, hmm??? He could single-handedly cover microchipping or the entire country and forever be remembered as something besides a butt face.

  58. My first rabbit had numbers tattooed on the inside of her ear by the breeder. It’s obviously something I’d never do myself but the breeder gave me the idea that it was a common practice, something done while the animal is very young that they wouldn’t remember later, not unlike male circumcision… Still, it seems really unnecessary to me.

    Anyway, I love your blog! Keep posting!

  59. I think it’s like this: people should stay out of each others business. Don’t want your cat tattooed? Don’t get it tattooed. People are going to do what they want, and fighting about it is never about morals and shit, it’s about who’s right and who’s wrong, and since we can’t talk to animals, we’ll really know the answer to that. That cat may want more mods, it may not and it may hate the shit out of it’s owners, dunno. It is a really ute kitty though. =]

  60. It means the cat has been desexed here in Australia, and I am guessing it means the same overseas. When I first got my kitty cat, I had been saving up to get a tattoo and when I took her to the vet the price of having her desexed was the same as my tattoo. I was a little cranky at first missing out, but then when I took her home and noticed the tattoo I was happy. She got a tattoo before me!!! Under local anesthetic though of course.

  61. oh noes, we caused the cat a small amount of pain in the interests of protecting it.

    because i’m sure this is wayyyyy worse for the cat than betting neutered.

    whatever. cute cat, cute commentary…hell, cute tattoo.

    and 95 comments of dumb. good job, peeps!

  62. Haha Aww, pretty kitty. I did like the commentary, too. Haha,
    and xROBx, the Cattoo bit made me giggle. My 5 year old sister calls tattoos “cattoos”, so it’s way cute.

    I wish I could have a kitty!

  63. My rabbit,Tux, also has his name tattooed in his left ear, done by his breeder. He has also been chipped, as has my dog and 3 cats. Also, my one female cat has a dermal punched 2ga. hole in her ear. This was done when she was spayed, amd she wears her tunnel with pride!

  64. #3 To me thats the same as tattooing your 3 month old baby… It`s stupid and cruel.

    UM MY CATS HAVE ALL HAD TATTOOS INSIDE THEIR EARS IT’S SO THAT ITS CLEAR THEY’VE BEEN DESEXED AND EVERYTHING IT’S NOT FUCKING CRUEL. u obviously have no idea what you’re talking about, or didn’t read the caption. god.

  65. Uh, Shannon, you do realise that cats statistically live FAR, far longer in homes than they do outside? 100% pure, outdoor cats have far shorter lives. They have to deal with other feral animals, and then there’s whole, you know… car thing. Whereas indoor (or even mostly indoor) cats are healthier and happier. Left on their own outside, there’s so many terrible diseases cats (and other animals) can catch. Having a loving owner who takes care of their animals and make regular vet trips, keeping their animals happy is cruel how exactly? And the “kill other animals for cats” in order to feed them thing made me laugh – you do realise cats in nature, kill animals and eat them? Nature is NOT humane.

    I understand the point you were trying to make, but it was a bad one. It’s simply untrue that cats are in worse in the hands of loving owners than outside. To call it “stupid and cruel” and “sick” is just so insanely uniformed and makes you look like a blathering idiot.

    Shannon, please stick with what you now – Body Modification. Or at least, keep your mouth shut when you don’t know what you’re talking about. That last part also goes to everyone else bitching about the tattoo for ID purposes. If you took two seconds to even do any sort of research (seeing as searching google is apparently v. hard) would know that ID tattooing done correctly by a vet (professional) is NOT cruel in any way.


  66. #102-Amen to that!!! That’s the trouble with people. They STILL think that cats must run around outside to be happy. NOT true!! Not to mention diseases like FelV(feline leukemia), and feline AIDS, neither of which are preventable by vaccine or curable.

  67. This happens to other animals too, not just cats. Ferrets have two tattoos on their ears

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