How I Gender Socialize My Pets

26 May

How I Gender Socialize My Pets

Let’s face it, gender socializing is endemic in this culture. It seeps into everything. And it’s wrong.

I have two male dogs, two female young cats (still really kittens at ten months), and a foster mother cat with three female foster kittens who are now about six weeks old.

Everybody gets gender socialized the same way. 

If you are a cat or dog under my care, you don’t get hit. Ever. I will growl when necessary. It’s rarely necessary.

Extreme chastisement is reserved for extreme occasions, such as when I had to extricate Charlotte from the house where the foster mother and her kittens are, because Charlotte is an aggressive cat and pushed her way in. As I dealt with Maisy, the mother cat, hysterically clawing at me, I went after Charlotte and finally caught her on the stairs, grabbed her by the scruff of her (rather large) neck, and dragged her outdoors.

No one was harmed in this exercise other than me. Charlotte didn’t even get near the kittens. And all my gouges have healed up nicely, thank you for asking.

 I did, however, later, speak quite sternly to both of the (female) cats in question. I pointed out to Maisy that this whole altercation was not my idea, and later on, after everyone had calmed down some, went over and apologized for not doing my job properly as to keeping her quarters safe from invaders. I spent some time sitting on the floor talking to her, until she let it go and walked over to be petted, to re-acknowledge our social bond.

And Charlotte got dragged out by the scruff of her neck. We’re fine now, though. In fact, we were fine about ten minutes later.

I don’t gender socialize any of my pets as “female.” I also don’t gender socialize any of them as “male.” 

I socialize my dogs to not be aggressive towards other humans who don’t scare me, or other dogs either. They can tell when I’m scared.

 I also socialize them to not fear me. When Falcor is being a little stubborn about coming inside, I take some more time with it, or just let it go for awhile. When Casey insists on jumping on me, or other humans, even though he knows very well I don’t approve, I speak sternly towards him and push him down.

 And even that time back in 2007, when we’d just met, and he bashed his way halfway through a window when there was thunder in the distance, and then he ran around half mad and bleeding, in a state of shock, I only wondered what the hell happened to this dog that this is so frightening for him. I didn’t hit him. I was really scared, because my new adopted dog had gone nuts. 

Six years later, he’s doing better. But I’ll still never know why he had to be a dog person who was so terrorized about noise. He has issues still with train whistles. 

Dogs are dogs and cats are cats, but when we keep pets, we socialize them one way or another. They have their own stuff going on that’s innate to their species, but not so much to their sex. Some housecats can be snuggle kitties, others can be more standoffish. And with dogs, especially; they can so easily be worked with to be loving, trusting, or not trusting.

Or they can be seen as accessories. My guess about Casey is that he got tied up outdoors and a thunderstorm hit. We get a lot of that here. Hail.

I adopted him in August of 2006. Monsoon season. 

Casey has always loved at kids ever since I’ve been his human. He also tends to orient towards men more than women. 

I never saw him as being beaten. He doesn’t have the cower reflex.

He never really did, ever.

I think he just got left tied up outdoors during a huge thunderstorm around here, and chewed his way out. When I adopted him, he had a broken canine.

And then he ran, and ran and ran. He was about a year old when I adopted him.

I’ve often wondered where he came from. He was covered with ticks when I adopted him.

I’ll likely never know, any more than I’ll know where Falcor or Charlotte or Jess or Maisy, or Gretchen or Isobel or Tasmin came from. And that’s sad. That’s not right.

But here we are, we are who we are, our sex bits notwithstanding. And that’s good.


2 Responses to “How I Gender Socialize My Pets”

  1. bullydawg 2016/08/18 at 10:30 am #

    So. This is a ‘thing’ now? What does it mean, to ‘gender’ an animal? Does this mean that, if we’ve been gendering them, we didn’t let them play with certain toys (…no, Petunia, that’s a ‘ball,’ that’s only for boy dogs) or what? Because anthropomorphizing animals is bloody fucking stupid and I honestly do not know anyone who ever ‘gendered’ them to start with…

    This is some ‘special snowflake’ shit, isn’t it?


    • Miep 2016/08/18 at 12:22 pm #

      This is an old post, but yes, there are people out there who think they have transgender pets.

      Takes all kinds to make a world, though perhaps not quite as many kinds as we’ve got.

      Liked by 2 people

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