The sunday cat theorizes feline gender

Have  you ever noticed how many people refer to a cat as female even when they’ve been told it is male?   It can be perplexing:  Given our culture is just a bit fixed on gender identity, why do cats fall outside that practice?  Perhaps, though, these people understand the plasticity of gender. 

Could some such reflections help us with the question of whether there are four or eight cats in the videos below:

These are labeled as girls:

And  here are the boys:


4 or 8?  I’m afraid the answer is very boring.  See what you think.

16 thoughts on “The sunday cat theorizes feline gender

  1. I always took this phenomena to be a symptom of how entrenched our culture is in gender identity. Cats are associated with women, thus their default gender is female. (Dogs are associated more with men, so their default gender is male.) So, when people forget which gender a cat is, they guess female more often than not.

    I see this happen also when I play videogames online and people talk about killing a dragon and constantly refer to it as a “him” although it’s clearly stated everywhere in the game that it’s a her.
    Once I was fighting an extra badass monster who was a female lich, and people in my group kept saying “him” even though *her* name was Lady Deathwhisper.

    It bugs me when people do this, because I know they’re inferring something’s gender based on characteristics and personality traits (big + badass = male).

  2. Not Logo, but I think the answer to that is to be found in the semi-erotic relationship between some men and their means of transportation. If it’s a lover, it’s a she…

    Beck to the cat’s disscation, an anecdote: in the city where I go school, they have a different “slang” then in the rest of the country. In the rest of the country (using proper language as well as slang) we have 2 different words: one for female cat one for mail cat (this is true for most Nouns in the language). In that city’s slang, there is no word for mail cats! All cats are female (with emphasis on the second syllable instead of on the last) even if biologically they’re mail!

    I’m not sure what that means, but I’m inclined to agree with Logo.

  3. Thought of something: aren’t Chickens always female, no matter their sex, as well?

  4. @J: I sencerely hope this is not the case, but I’ve always asumed boats, cars, etc. (and countries, too!) were referenced as female because they are often owned and controlled by men.

  5. Chickens generally are female because all the male chicks are gassed/minced not long after birth because they have no use in the industry (they do not lay).
    That could be the explanation for that one.

  6. Are they kittens? I can’t tell from the pictures. If so, I would imagine that there are 8 in total, four in each picture. Why that answer? Well, I think I just counted each body in each picture and added them up. Now, if you are asking how I know that 4 + 4 = 8, then that’s an entirely different sort of discussion I think.

  7. Jewels, you don’t think there’s any chance the bodies in one picture are the same cats as those in the other?

  8. LOL. Not something I considered. But, how many lives do they say cats have? Perhaps I am not the same person today as I was ten years ago? LOL.

  9. jewels, I was being so unsubtle. I first thought there were four and that there was a problem with the labels. But then I realized there could be eight. Now I’d like to know what others think.

  10. Interestingly enough my ex-girlfriend consistently refers to all cats she likes as “he” no matter what supposed biological sex.

    (She also thinks female cats are “boring”. Not sure how to bring that into a gender discussion, but I guess the supposedly more lively identity we assign to “boys” is more appealing in a cat, if you associate feminity with restraint.)

  11. Birdseed, an interesting variation. Given they sleep about 18 hours a day, they don’t seem to me to be very active overall. Could it be that on a moment-to-moment basis, all cats are generally boring?

    Hmmm. Given you’ve broken up, I’m going to stop thinking about this. :)

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