About 7 1/2 years ago, a large white cat showed up at my house. We had 3 dogs at the time, and I did not want any more pets. My wife has always been a BIG animal lover, as am I, and so she began feeding it. It stayed, and when the weather began getting cold I agreed to let it to come inside on occasion.
We never named it - we just called it "Cat". Now, I grew up with cats, but none of them were ever neutered or spayed. So, I had always gone by specific genitalia in order to determine sex. This cat didn't have a specific item nor could I see any other protusions that would suggest the cat was a male. Therefore, we just accepted that it was a female.
Since that time, we acquired a fourth dog (the one that ate my John Deere lawn-tractor) and another cat (a spayed female). During this time "Cat" had become a more permanent member of our household, even going to the vet for shots, etc. We renamed it "Big Cat" to differentiate between the two felines.
On Thursday, we took Big Cat to the vet for standard shots and check-up. The vet asked me "Did you say this cat is a female?" I replied in the affirmative. My vet began prodding "down there", which looked to particularly uncomfortable for the cat. Then he pushed out a VERY SMALL pink item and declared it to be a penis!
My wife, my son, and I were all bewildered. They had to change Big Cat's sex in their computer system, and we had to adjust to calling Big Cat words like "he", "him", and "boy". And that's how my cat had a sex change.
I had a similar experience--although we didn't remain in the dark quite that long.
About ten and a half years ago, five kittens were born behind the garage. I found them and eventually they all became pets. One particular kitten was a blue classic tabby. Where there would be white markings on most tabby cats--chest, face, belly--the markings on this kitten were a cream color. This kitten had a habit of firmly clamping its tail to its belly when picked up, so it was hard to get a look at the relevant parts. But blue and cream is a form of calico and there was something feminine-looking about this kitten. Even the vet went along with the assumption. I named it Queen Amidala (Star Wars Episode One was recently out, then.)
Imagine my surprise when I took the kittens in to be fixed at about five months old. I told them there were four females and one male. When I picked the kittens up, two kittens didn't have shaved bellies--the silver classic tabby (Peso), who we knew was male, and Queen Amidala. So I called and asked about that. Only to be informed that Queen Amidala was male. Poor thing needed a name change--fast. He became Buttons and later "Bad Boo the Screen Slayer" for his habit of putting holes in window screens so he could escape. As Buttons grew, it was clear that he wasn't a blue cream after all. In a purebred (which he certainly was not) his color would have been called a blue classic tabby with patina.
Both Peso and Boo are gone, now, along with their sister Libby, who was a beautiful smoke and white. For being born feral, there sure were some beautiful cats in that litter.
That's not a great indicator with cats. Dogs, yes. But the one of my cats that is a problem sprayer is a spayed female, Furby. Both male and female cats mark their territory--and not just when the female is in heat.
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