Turns out the rescued Baby Kitty Lilly is a Lenny. He’s a boy. It’s not a sex change, it was a mistake, one that is pretty common. It’s very difficult to determine the correct sex of a young kitten. And there’s a lot online that attests to that fact.
The biggest part of Lilly being a boy is finding an appropriate name. As Lenny’s new mom, I wanted to find a name that stuck with the same alliteration as Lilly. I’ve heard kitties respond better to names that end in ee…. Needless to say none of my other cats have names ending in ee, but I find myself calling Lionus – Liunee, and Clyde – Clydee.
But let’s stick with Lenny’s story here.
Kimberly, Lilly’s surrogate mom, took great pains in naming Lilly, finding a name that fit her (his) determination to overcome obstacles, and she took great pains to find an appropriate name for a kitty that only days old scurried up to a high, safe place in a wood pile. His three siblings, who stayed below, all perished in the water that had seeped into the wood pile. Mom and dad, both ferals, which were slated for Trap, neuter, return, were nowhere to be seen during the rescue.
This youngster was safe, and Kimberly took her home to join her two cats, three dogs, grandchildren and two other adults.
Kimberly named Lilly soon after her rescue. In a May 28 email, she writes:
- “Lilly, who was found in a small valley…. Lilly of the valley means : “LILY OF THE VALLEY: Return of happiness, purity of heart, sweetness, tears of the Virgin Mary, you’ve made my life complete, humility, happiness, love’s good fortune.
- The legend of the lily of the valley is that it sprang from Eve’s tears when she was kicked out of the Garden of Eden. It is also believed that this flower protects gardens from evil spirits. Also known as the flower of May.” (http://marriage.about.com/od/flowers/a/flowermean_2.htm) As you know she was born in May….
- And another lists it as “survival of the fittest” (http://dictionary.reverso.net/english-cobuild/lily%20of%20the%20valley)… Maybe this is why when I looked at her the name fit. I found this AFTER she was named. She just looked like a Lilly to me. 🙂 She is now three-weeks-old.”
People with this name tend to be a powerful force to all whose lives they touch. They are capable, charismatic leaders who often undertake large endeavors with great success. They value truth, justice, and discipline, and may be quick-tempered with those who do not. If they fail to develop their potential, they may become impractical and rigid.
I have no problem with the baby kitty being a boy (I have three) because he’s neutered, and no longer has the annoying habits, yowling, spraying, etc., of male cats. But the name adjustment was wrenching. Lily could become a Billy, but I didn’t like the name. What about Willie, and then a co-worker suggested Lenny. It resonated. Lenny It means The meaning of the name Lenny is ‘Brave lion’, very fitting for a little one that survived against all odds.
The fact the Lilly was a boy was not discovered until he was taken in to be spayed (neutered). Turns out he didn’t weight the needed two-pounds, but that’s another story.
Sexing kittens, especially young ones tend to be a challenge. According to
petplace.com, even the most experienced breeders and veterinarians can have difficulty determining the sex of very young kittens from a few days to a few weeks old.
The internet lists several sources and links to the issue, which is testimony to how difficult it can be.
A basic anatomy lesson is appropriate to know what to look for. According to petplace.com, kittens are born with two anatomical openings just below the tail. One is the anus and the other one is the genital area. The primary way to tell a female kitten from a male kitten is by comparing the distance between the anal opening and the genital opening.
For male kittens, the space between the anus and the tip of the penis is longer than the space between the anus and the vagina. This extra space allows for the testicles to descend out of the body cavity and into the scrotal sacs later in life. After about four to six weeks of age, one can start to feel the testicles, although they won’t be all that visible. They should feel like small peas in the space between the anus and penis.
That may sound pretty complex. Let’s try to simplify this. The spot on the male should look like a dot. The spot on the female should look like a longer slit. For graphic demonstration go to www.petplace.com or http://www.vetmed.wsu.edu/cliented/kittengender.aspx.
Next post: Lenny’s story.
Have you ever made a mistake sexing your kitten? Have you ever had to go through the difficulty of finding a name that fits once you’ve settled on one? Do you think we should rename a kitten after determining it’s not the boy or girl you thought it was? Should Lilly have remained Lilly or become Mr. Lilly? Please share your opinions.