We have three animals that we acquired within a month of my return from life in Mexico. First was a much neglected Yorkie that had been a “breeder” in his former life. Apparently, teeth problems are common in “breeders.” I could not find an answer as to why, but Joshie was typical – his mouth was filled with infections and abscesses. The vet techs said it was not uncommon for breeders to be completely toothless. You could not tell by looking at him that he was suffering, but after we got it taken care of, he turned from an old dog into a puppy. Since no one knew his age, we had assumed that we had become the owners of a dog in the last part of his life cycle. Now, he’s definitely got a few more good years, though we still have no clue how many.
About three weeks after Joshie came to live with us, two black kittens who had been spawned in a chicken house joined our household. They were purported to be a brother and a sister. They were both black. She was completely black and well acclimated to humans since the farm kids had fed and handled her repeatedly. He, on the other hand, while also black had a white patch on his chest. He was 1/3 the size of his sister and had eyes that bugged because he was literally starving. Personality-wise, he was the antithesis of his sister – if you even went near him, he spit at you.
She was named after the old TV show “Punky Brewster” because she was so assertive and unafraid. He was named Spitzer after his favorite pastime. Eventually, Spitzer was extended to “Elliott Spitzer” so they both had a first and last name. Joshie coped with all this by looking the other way when they were in the same room with him. His policy was that if he couldn’t see them, they weren’t there.
After a week and a half, Elliott decided we weren’t too bad after all, and began to acting like he might like to stay. He got very attached to Joshie, who continued to ignore them both. Elliott would wrap himself around Joshie’s back leg causing Josh to walk with a distinctly odd gait as he continued to pretend there were NO cats in the house, much less attached to his person.
When Punky Brewster appeared to be about 10 weeks old, I made appointments for all of them with the vet. I asked that they be neutered, given all shots and wormed. I reported that I was bringing a male dog of indeterminate age, a female kitten and her brother who were about 10 weeks old. I did warn them that there was a large discrepancy between the sizes of the kittens.
I went to pick them up at 4 pm on the appointed day. All had gone well, although Elliott had not received his rabies shot because he was too young. “Oh,” they said, “By the way, Elliott is a girl and Punky is a boy! Do you want to change their names?”
“No,” I replied. “Henceforth, the name “Elliott” will be unisex, and ‘Punky’ is officially designated a ‘female impersonator.'”
And that is why I have a female cat named Elliott, a male cat named Punky, and why I no longer trust farm people to determine the gender of an animal.