Monday, May 19, 2008

Heidi's brother. Er. Sister?

I hand-raised Heidi and Manny together from the day they were born, and even at the start, Heidi was clearly female and Manny male. At 2 weeks, 4 weeks, 2 months, 4 months, Heidi was a girl and Manny was a boy and everything was relatively normal, except for thew fact that I had bottlefed 11 kittens at once, from 3 different litters. Heidi, Manny, and their gentically unrelated brother, Toby (my CH kitty), all developed at much slower rates than normal, healthy cats. Toby has challenges (see link), but Heidi and Manny were healthy, if quite small. At 7 months old, both Manny and Toby have finally reached the size of an average 5 month old cat.

Time to think about neutering. About a month ago, I inspected Manny to see if his testicles had descended so I could get him in to get neutered. His external genitalia had become ambiguous. I've had this happen with a much younger kitten once before, and that kitten ultimately died (he had many other issues as well) with his biological sex still incredibly ambiguous. In spite of my previous experience with an intersexed kitten, I somehow put Manny's issue out of mind mind quite effectively. I told myself I'd check again later, that the light was bad, that his butt was too furry. And then I forgot all about it until tonight.

I made appointments today to get both Manny and Toby neutered tomorrow morning. Tonight I checked them both out again, and Toby is clearly ready to go. But Manny is now presenting as nearly 100% female, with the only indication of his previous maleness being a slightly larger greater than usual spacing between anus and furry vulva.

Um. Okay. So Manny is a girl. What an unfortunate name.

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