Approximately one month ago, my mom called with the glorious news that a kitten had hopped a ride from town in my sister’s car. Before I ever met the kitty, I fell in love with her determination. After all, it takes a tremendous amount of intelligence and grit to navigate your way to a safe place under the hood of a car and hang on for a 20-plus minute trek.
Indeed, the kitten, an all-black beauty, must have considered the car a place of safety because she had to be coaxed from her hiding place. She eventually came out, though, and my sister eventually decided to keep her, installing the kitten in an out building.
My sister considered several names, finally deciding on Gypsie Rose due to the kitten’s traveling spirit. Gypsie also displayed a fighting spirit in a melee with my sister’s dog. A melee, I might add, that Gypsie won.
Gypsie’s addition to the family brought the number of members of our collective cat army – mine, my siblings’, and my nieces’ – to 10. What can I say? We’re a cat-centric family.
Anyway, Gypsie’s a ball of energy who slides across the floors when she comes to the house for a visit. She plays with her toy mice and darts around the room, hopping from lap to lap. This past weekend, she took a power nap in my arms, purring the entire time. In the words of my great-niece, Gypsie’s really cute.
But on a recent visit, I learned a secret about my lively new feline niece – she’s actually my nephew.
Or at least that’s what they tell me. As I am not a pervert or an ob/gyn, I don’t go around sneaking peeks at cats’ private parts.
Looking back, though, I should have deduced that Gypsie was a boy when she didn’t immediately take to the litter box. If living amongst a cat army has taught me anything, it’s that male cats are harder to house train that are females. Trust me on that.
Regardless, Gypsie’s shifting gender created a pronoun problem. We said to ourselves, “Selves, do we continue to use ‘she’ and ‘her’ when referring to the kitten? And what about that name? Gypsie Rose doesn’t exactly ooze masculinity.”
In the end, my sister decided to stick with the name Gypsie and we decided to continue using “she” and “her.” Sure, this could lead to gender confusion, but if living amongst a cat army has taught me anything, it’s that all cats are confused about something. For Gypsie, it might as well be that she’s a he.
This post originally appeared in the Appalachian News-Express.