They say that the test of literary power is whether a man can write an inscription, I say, "Can he name a kitten?" Ė Samuel Butler
Every rescuer has a weakness. Itís a fact that we are all aware of, one that we all accept. My weakness happens to be gender interpretation of cats.
Itís the second time now that Iíve taken a cat into the veterinarianís office to be neutered, only to have it come out spayed.
Itís the second time now that Iíve contacted said vet to check a catís condition. "No problems with a distended uterus?" I ask, summoning up all of my supposed authority and expertise to demonstrate what a wonderful rescuer I am.
"Considering that sheís a he, no Ė no problem with the uterus." The vet replies dryly.
This weakness is not something that Iím proud of by any means. In my defense, however, that "area" is not one that I spend a lot of time around. And even the best rescuers have to admit, it can be difficult to determine the differences, particularly in a very young kitten."
This can lead to a multitude of problems that tend to get more and more complex as the animal progresses into adulthood. Of course, to begin with, I name the animal based on what I think its sex is. For example, Una, Maíat, Baby. The list goes on. This is the name that they answer too, understand, and bond with. Therefore, itís very unlikely that their name will be changed once I find out for sure what the sex is, and this of course, can lead to problems later on in life.
When I first noticed this particular weakness of mine, I didnít think it would matter all that much. After all, I was fairly confident that the kittens werenít really aware of the gender that was commonly associated with their name. Now Iím not so sure. Since animals get picked on just like any others, itís got to be hard on them to have a female name if they are males. Iíve seen the drastic effects more recently in my own household.
If youíre a male cat and you have a female name, the results can be bad. When a supposedly female cat begin spraying, itís difficult to determine the cause. Now, that is not to say that female cats are incapable of spraying, just that they tend to do it a lot more if they are really male cats. Their fights are a little more intense, and once we finally establish their true gender, they seem to have to defend themselves a lot more. Of course, there is the other option as wellÖ
Some of them move into "alternative" modes of handling the situation. For example, Baby Ė although he is a male cat Ė remains a female in his own eyes. He loves to be brushed, he hops like a rabbit, and he runs away from the other bigger, stronger, scarier cats. He would rather live by the creed, "he who fights and runs away, can run away again one day". Basically, heís a female cat trapped in a maleís body.
But, I have to hold onto the hope that they will overcome their little "name challenges" and grow into the fine cats that I know they can become! Even the Bard himself states, ĎWhatís in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet", and that is the truth to the matter. Because when it comes right down to it, itís not what you name a cat, itís how you treat a cat, and that is all a part of "conquering the food chain."