Friday, August 11, 2017

What's in a Name

I took Addie Rose to the vet a  few weeks ago now and learned that our little girl kitty named after my grandmother is really a boy! I immediately questioned whether or not to change our kitty's name. I didn't want to cause identity issues for our kitty as he had just begun to respond to his name and yet neither did I want to create gender identity issues by giving him a girl's name while telling him what a good boy he is (as in A Boy Named Sue?!) We have had some laughs about all this, but clearly I have lots to learn about gender and personality traits!

What's in a name? I believe that Shakespeare answered this question in his famous play, Romeo and Juliet* . In Juliet's soliloquy she asks herself the same question after finding out that Romeo, the young boy she had just met and fallen in love with belonged to the family of her family's arch rival. And then she answers, "That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." And so it is with our "Addie Rose", now "Mr. Addie Roe". We had been taken with this kitty from the time we met him and just because he wasn't a girl, would that change our affection for him? 

Not ever! Nonetheless it was a shock to find out that our  pretty little kitty was not a girl kitty at all! He has very long hair which helped to hide his sex. I have since learned that when kitties are very young it is very hard to tell the difference and I hadn't bothered to double check since we got him through a vet's office and all the experts claimed he was a she?

Our pretty little "girl kitty"?  or NOT!
I had named our kitty after my grandmother, Rose Addie and simply reversed the order and at the time we first met her, we thought she had a perfect name for that pretty little face. It was an affectionate kitty, and very sweet, albeit a rather un-shy kitty who quickly adopted us. I am hoping that he wasn't figuring "there is a sucker born every minute" and had us pegged as he worked hard to charm us!! He did just that, though we were set on adopting a female and not a male kitten. We had heard that males spray and mark their territory and wanted to avoid that!

My partner in all that I do!

My grandmother,  Rose "Addie" Kiechel had been a Nebraska pioneer woman, named with the same initials as her older brother who died in early childhood.  He had been Robert Albert and so her initials, my great grandmother decided, needed to be R.A. as well.  My grandmother was never fond of her name, but I was, though at the time I named my children, I hadn't realized how much. "Addie" to me is a very strong name and I like strong names.

My grandmother was a strong person, though when I knew her, she was a quiet grandmother, who temporarily resided with her many children. She would come to stay with us for a couple of months at a time. She was a sweet grandmother who would sit quietly within our house and write in her diary every day. Unlike my diaries that are filled with all the things I wasn't allowed to say, her diaries became factual logs of all things good about her children and their families and were as sweet as she was.  She would note the good things of the day and many of them read like the infamous "Little House" books written by Laura Ingalls Wilder. She had nine children, one of which died in utero. She had her babies at home and most were assisted into the world by her mother, Alvina, who was called "Viney" by those closest to her. She was another strong pioneer woman.

We still confuse our pronouns where Addie is concerned, and I laughingly have spoken about our little girl kitty who turned into a boy, but my husband reminds me that this is only a reality in my brain, as our kitty has always been a boy and he is turning out to be an alpha male at that! I now talk about what a handsome kitty he is, though I had truly thought him beautiful before! I also am trying to reinforce his sexual identity by telling him that he is a good boy. We will have him neutered when he is old enough, just as we would have had a female kitty spayed.
What happened to this sweet baby with the big paws?!!

We were so insistent about having a female kitty but apparently  the facts are different than what we thought. The truth is that all cats, when threatened may mark their territory and hopefully neutering our cat will decrease any such tendencies. He is both athletic as well as affectionate and  is growing like a weed, and, knock on wood, so far has been a very easy kitty to teach and train. He has a special scratching box and has taken to it and so far has left my curtains and furniture alone, though I do note that he is getting more bold and masterful about leaping and jumping every day. He loves his ever-growing big paws and flexes his claws just to scare me and sometimes forgets that our legs are not trees, as he tries to climb them and he loves to "get wild" about his play and is quite the acrobat! He is a keeper, no matter that he isn't a she!
As a baby, Addie was fearless in facing off with our dog, Cassie!

Check the size difference! Oh my!!

Addie, come to find out, is also a boy's name and so no problem there and I announced this news to my husband by adding "Mr. Addie Rose" to his birthday card the same day as the vet appointment that deemed it so.

I am thinking that perhaps it should be "Mr. Addie Roe" instead of Rose.  Roe means deer and this kitty is truly "a dear" to me (play on words intended). I am still adjusting to our sweet little baby girl kitty being a bold a daring and very athletic male kitten, and from what we have read about his possible breed, he should grow much bigger than the female counterpart. Nebelung (Russian gray long-haired) male cats could become as big as sixteen pounds. I just met an eight week old Bernese Mountain pup whose big paws were smaller than Addie's and they were told that he would likely reach at least one hundred pounds! I do hope that Addie won't be that size, but as cats go, I think Addie may well be a very large full grown male kitty.
"Sooooo Big and my dog sister's,Cassie's bed is just right! "I can stretch out"!!

"What's in a name?... That which we call a Rose by any other name would smell as sweet." While I still think we have a sweet kitty, albeit, one that is more confident and bold than what I had thought. He isn't afraid to chase our 65 pound lab/coon-hound dog out of her bed when he wants a bigger bed to sleep in...and more than once I have stopped to ask myself who is getting trained?... Is our Addie "getting trained" or is he training us and in this case, dog sister as well?
The little bed on the right is mine? Really? Time for a bigger bed and to
trade my baby Kong with the dog's that is just my size!

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