A few months ago I blogged about the variety we find in cats’ eyes, and I’ve been looking round the Sanctuary at the similar variety found in feline ears.
The primary differential is whether the basic shape is rounded or more pointed. There are a lot of rounded ears to be seen, and the proportion of ear to skull shape can make that more or less obvious.
Other ears are more pointed, and in many cases, the point is emphasized by a little tuft of hair at the apex – a lynx-tip. Sometimes the tuft is the same colour as the cat, which enhances the point;
in others, the lynx-tip provides colour-contrast.
Ears are a part of body-language; we all recognize the flattened airplane-ears of a fearful or angry cat.
Though in some cases flattened ears are just the way that cat is made.
When doing TNR (Trap-Neuter-Release) it is common to notch or snip the ear of a neutered cat so that it is clear that it doesn’t need to be trapped again when the colony is checked. Most of our cats have unmarked ears because they come to us from having been spayed/neutered. Little Marilee is one of the exceptions; when she was first TNR’d she was returned to her colony with the common clipped ear; it was only when her tail became injured and had to be amputated that it was decided that she needed to remain with us rather than return to her colony.
Haematoma ear is seen in a number of cats. An infection or a bruise can cause painful swelling between the skin and cartilage of the ear. Untreated, it fills with blood and then easily bursts, causing the ear to crumple. If it can be caught early enough, it is possible to minimize the damage.
Little Orange’s ear swelling was discovered early enough that just the top of the ear flap was affected. He was not the most cooperative of patients!
Bossanova came to us as a feral with his ear already well crumpled. Left to itself the haematoma will heal, but unevenly, leaving the feline equivalent of a “cauliflower ear”
Long-time volunteers will remember double-haematoma cat Cara, who had both ears affected – it never seemed to bother her!
Especially among the formerly unneutered male cats (many of them inhabitants of the New Aids pen) we see evidence of a life that involved fighting for their lives – and battered ears are definitely a common casualty.
It is interesting that ear-hair, something that is SO aesthetically displeasing in humans, can be so pretty in cats.
Here are some of our feather-iest ears!
Ari Lioznyansky, Michele Wright