Gender identity in children is a hot topic these days. How much leeway should parents give their son who wants a Barbie, or their daughter who prefers suits to dresses? While the debate on that matter is ongoing, one place where you might not expect gender confusion is in your pet.
But that's the situation one Canadian family found itself in when it took in a stray cat named Mittens. A trip to the vet confirmed something that the animal's new owner was unprepared to hear: Mittens was born with both male and female genitalia.
"Did I just hear you right?" was the response that Colleen Clarke-Murphy gave the veterinarian when informed of her pet's unique anatomy. Once it was determined that the best bet was for Mittens to transform fully to a male, he was scheduled to be spayed, neutered and undergo reconstructive surgery so that his current urinary and bowel issues can be addressed. As it turns out, having two sets of genitals made it difficult for the feline to properly go to the bathroom.
It can typically cost tens of thousands or dollars for a human to undergo gender reassessment surgery, but Mittens' procedure seems a steal at just $1,500. Clarke-Murphy says the price is well worth ensuring that Mittens is in good health.
"She was part of my family when she came home with my daughter," Clarke-Murphy told CBC News, noting that her daughter is the one who initially found the stray feline.