I took these kittens in, to save them from growing past the point of taming and then being caught and killed. I took the responsibility to have them spayed and to find them a good loving home. Which turned out to be the same home I live in. Strange. They're still feral, unless the human in question is me, and then they're tame as... kittens. Wait. I mean, they're so loving and sweet and cuddly, but only with me. They even come when I call (this has NOTHING to do with treats, I SWEAR). Actually, CommonLaw bought some very special treats to make friends with them, but they still think I'm the next best thing to ol' Mommydad Clarence. I digress with my cat pleasin' ego.
Now that Maggie is on probation and not fully grounded, both kittens are really learning to handle the wide world. Which means it's time to get them spayed, and vaccinated, so as not to perpetuate the cycle. There are organizations, like Project Purr, which will do these neccessary medical procedures for minimal fees, and some, like Adobe, don't even take the cats overnight, or expect you to keep a feral, caged, pissed off cat in your home while it recuperates. Not that that would be a problem in my case. My coworker, however, took in some of the ferals behind our office and then had to house them for a while. These were not loving and cuddly like mine, they were wild adults.
Anyway, here's the problem. I can take Maggie and Sebastian to Adobe, and for a measly 25 dollars each they will get spayed AND shots. It would be 400 dollars each if I took them to a regular vet. But Adobe, and Project Purr, mark the cats that they've treated, to prevent recapture and unecessary handling. By cutting off the tip of one ear.
It's noticeable, it has to be. Now, I know that after the initial trauma and pain, Maggie and Sebastian will recover just fine. They won't suffer ostracism by their perfectly-formed-ear peers. And I am a die hard believer in inner beauty... but... that doesn't mean I have anything against external beauty. It brings tears to my eyes imagining them disfigured for life. I could afford to have them spayed, 40 dollars each at the vet, for starters. But it could take up to a year to afford all their shots, during which time they would be vulnerable to awful things like lukemia and rabies and who knows what else. I have a little time, because they need to be 4 pounds, and while Sebastian, the little porker, might be that weight, I think poor Maggie was stunted or something by her two outdoor adventures. She's all tiny and delicate, but still, it's not something I can put off. I just don't want them marred like that. :*( What would you do?