Several years ago, my cell phone rang, on the other end, a friend with a serious question, “Do you want a kitten?”
“Uhhhh… that is a question for my fiancé.” I knew better than to make such life changing decisions without first consulting my better half. I handed her the phone.
“Yes!” was the first word out of her mouth, I could not hear the other side of the conversation. She followed that word with another, emphatic, “Yes!”
I soon discovered she had been asked two questions, “Do you want a kitten?” and, “Do you want two?” I also learned she was more than willing to make life changing decisions without consulting me.
So, we went to pick up our kittens. My future wife was handed the calico to be her cat, and I gladly took the tabby. A boy for me and a girl for her. My first words to my kitten, “You are a little jerk!” I assure you it was filled with love. I immediately bonded with him.
Then it came time to name them. My wife’s kitten was named Dot, because she has a dot on her nose, and she is the cutest one, just like the Animaniac. We just couldn’t think of a name for my little guy no matter how hard we tried.
After about two weeks, a name hit me right between the eyes. I was directing a play called, “Wiley and the Hairy Man”, and the name Wiley seemed to match the kitten beautifully.
Wiley was a crafty kitten. An escape artist. Also, he always had a concerned look on his face.
Two months went by, and then we noticed something pretty serious. His testicles were not dropping. Then we looked closer, and found his vagina. Really. We never looked between his legs.
Our little guy was a girl. Suddenly his concerned look made sense. Actually, after further observation, HIS concerned look was really HER perfectly almond shaped eyes.
We were panicked, my wife and I. All this time we had been treating her like a guy. Treating her a little rough because that is how boys like to play. Lovingly calling her, “Jerk”, “Dummy”, “Jerk Ass Jerk Face” and, whatnot. What had we done?
And now it was time to consider new names for the little tabby. The Voldermort of kittens, because she must not be named… it seemed. Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!
Weeks went by where we would apologize to that teeny-tiny, little-bitty, baby, tabby kitten every time we saw her. The look on her face never changed. Occasionally she would snap a, “Meow!” right at the two of us, but I could tell it was mostly directed at me.
What had we done?!?
We were terrible people. We had abused our tenny-tiny, ickle-ibby girl. We had treated her like a guy. Both of us, but mostly me.
Now, to be fair, every Vet we have taken her to, has assumed she is a male. Cats don’t exactly have external genitalia unless they keep their nuts. At least 90% of all tabby cats are male.
Eventually, we decided Wiley was her name so it would remain her name. It describes her personality perfectly. Besides, I cast a woman to play Wiley in the play I was directing, so there was precedent.
My reason for writing this is simple. I know the identity crisis my wife and I had when we discovered Wiley was female, so I have amazing, first hand empathy for my friends who are shocked to learn I am transitioning. I only had a male cat for a month, and it took me about another month to come to terms with how I had been treating her. That boys are treated treated differently by me than girls… even kittens.
I guess she really is my cat… a trans cat for a trans woman.