Woman Adopts 8-Year-Old Rescue Cat, Discovers He Has a Tattoo: ‘Help’

A woman who adopted a cat with an unusual difference has shared her discovery on social media.

Sarah, who lives in Saudi Arabia, recently adopted 8-year-old Caramelo from a local shelter, but while petting him she noticed something strange: a tattoo on his ear.

“I noticed the tattoo after I had it done a week when I was cleaning his ear,” Sarah shared Newsweek.

She shared the discovery with her followers on TikTok in a clip that now has more than 4.7 million views. In the caption, Sarah asked: “Help, what the hell is this?”

Cat with ear tattoo
From left: Caramelo’s ear; and the tattoo that left its owner stunned. In the video caption, owner Sarah asked, “Help, what the hell is this?”


The video has sparked a series of theories about the tattoo’s origins and purpose, ranging from a way to identify the cat to a sign that it was involved in animal testing.

In Denmark, ear tattooing remains a traditional identification method for cats; the process involves anesthetizing the cat before tattooing its inner ear to signify its ownership, much like the microchip used elsewhere.

However, because she has little knowledge of Caramelo’s life before she adopted him, Sarah doesn’t know where the tattoo came from, or why it is there.

In thousands of comments on TikTok, people shared their theories and thoughts.

Apple user369349 wrote: “They do it when they fix the cat so other people and vets know they are sterilized.”

KittykillL offered a perspective from Britain, where tipping the ears, or removing a small portion of the tip, is a common practice to signify castration. “In Britain they just cut off the tip of the ear to show castration. Maybe it’s something like that,” they wrote.

Sophia said it was probably the same situation as the tattoos used in Denmark: “It’s like getting your pet chipped, but instead it’s a tattoo.”

Some viewers even posted that this could mean that Caramelo has been involved in animal testing in the past.

Others were more interested in the content of the tattoo. To everyone’s confusion, the tattoo on Caramelo’s inner ear appears to read “paw,” causing much laughter.

One TikTok user wrote: “Does that say ‘paw’ or am I crazy? I’ve never seen an ear tattoo actually spell out a word.”

“So close!! That’s an ear!!” noted another viewer, while a curious TikTok user posted: “At this point, check to see if the paw has an ‘EAR’ tattoo.”

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