My sister cat came from the SPCA. They give all the cats there a temporary name to tell them apart. Her kennel name was Wade. Wade is generally a boy’s name, but she is a girl cat.
The Humans were discussing her name, and the oldest of the Tiny Humans said,
“How come everyone assumes all cats are cis-gender?”
And I gave a mighty meow of agreement because I have been waiting a long time to talk about gender. Some people assume that all cats are girls and call us all she. Some people assume all cats are boys and call us all he. No one asks us what we want to be called. The language barrier is a problem sometimes.
Maybe it would be easier if everyone didn’t used gendered language. You could say,
“That’s a cute cat! How old are they?” instead of, “how old is he?”
It is really no one’s business what is under my fur. And it is no one’s business what is under your fur, either. (And please don’t say I am an “it” because I am fixed. I am NOT an it!)
Here are some things that is more important than if a cat is a girl or a boy:
- If the cat bites. (Anna Conda, I’m looking at you!)
- If the cat likes mouse toys. (And shares them with their cat siblings!)
- How many treats the cat needs right this minute.
- Also, more treats.
- Tuna, anyone?
- Whether the cat prefers to have their head petted or underneath their chin.
- Never touch the belly fur without permission.
Please do not tell me I look like a girl just because I am fluffy. For some reason, people think fluffy cats must all be girls. I am a boy.
Some people ask for other people’s pronouns right away. This sounds like a good idea, but some of us are a little shy. Some of us don’t feel safe talking about pronouns right away. You can also introduce yourself with your own pronouns like this, “I’m Grunion, and my pronouns are he/his.” Then new people will know that you are a safe person. But some cats feel awkward around pronouns. You can always just ask new cats their name, and call them that.
Sometimes, people or cats change their pronouns. If you want to change your pronouns, you can say something like,
“I know you’ve always called me he, but I’ve realized they fits me better.”
And if someone you know asked you to call them by a different pronoun and you aren’t sure what to say, a good repsonse is,
“OK, that’s cool.”
Sometimes we mess up people’s pronouns. If that happens, say,
“Oh, I’m sorry I just used the wrong pronouns. I’ll do better next time.”
It doesn’t have to be a big deal. We all make mistakes doing all sorts of things. What matters is that we try our best and when we mess up, we just keep trying.