The fashionable fiction of ‘transgender’ pets

I have always hated that rather trite animal-lovers’ motto: “Pets are people too!” No they aren’t. Yet many people these days really do believe their pampered pooches and coddled cats are furry human beings in disguise … even to the extent that some so-called “pet parents” are now claiming that even domestic canines and felines, can somehow be transgender.

In 2021, Northern Irish comedian, television presenter and stalwart anti-woke campaigner Andrew Doyle, in the guise of his satirical fake social justice warrior alter ego Titania McGrath, put out the following joke tweet: “DOG OWNERS! Stop saying “good boy” and “good girl” to your pets. This kind of gendered language is normalising the myth of canine sexual dimorphism and delegitimises the lived experience of transdogs.” 

It went viral, with many people apparently believing it was real, not satire. Sadly, this is because, what seemed outlandish back in 2021 is now considered quite plausible by some.

Bi-curiosity killed the cat

There is an increasing body of “scientific” and “academic” research out there in our queer-captured age trying to suggest, in rather disingenuous fashion, that animals can be transgender because, for example, male seahorses can get pregnant, or some smaller male cuttlefish imitate female cuttlefish in order to steal mates from their larger male peers by using the same basic logic as a man opportunistically dressing up as a woman to sneak into a sultan’s harem.

Such examples are all true, but these are simply evolutionary survival strategies, not expressions of “gender identity confusion” by oppressed sea-creatures, as is sometimes deceitfully implied by both scientists and activists alike – I have written about the whole unhappy phenomenon myself previously here.

Yet now the delusion is spreading outwards from laboratories and universities and into the domestic sphere, with ordinary household pet-owners now making ludicrous claims about their own pets being genderqueer too. Is the following “Trans Pets“ Facebook Group real or satire, for example?   

Some of the posts on it seem to be made in earnest, others merely as jokes. And what about this rather self-righteous discussion thread on   

Is this a parody, too? Or not? I just don’t know any more … Perhaps Titania McGrath is right!

Or maybe not. The following is a genuine passage from an exceedingly elaborate online essay about the growing perils of misgendering not only real pets, but hypothetical future extra-terrestrial ones:

“Botanists frequently classify plants as male and female [simultaneously]. Here is a thought-experiment that may drive the point home. Imagine we come across, in the depths of the ocean, a giant alien blob. Its biology is so different from anything we know, its origin mysterious, and yet it is without a doubt a living organism. It possesses a very simple phenotype, it is literally just a big spherical blob without much internal structure, with one exception: it is sexually dimorphic, in a very human way: half of its individuals possess reproductive organs that look eerily like human penises, and similarly for the other half with vaginas. In a future dystopian society which, somehow, came to adopt en masse these alien blobs as pets, would it make sense to refer to them as he’s and she’s? Would it be incorrect to refer to a penis-possessing blob as a she and a vagina-possessing blob as a he? The jury is very much out, but I am seriously inclined toward a positive answer to both questions.”

Titania McGrath, eat your heart out!

Grooming your pets

Disturbingly, this message of Daisy Duck being trapped in Donald Duck’s body is also being spread not simply by individual pet-owners, but by actual online vets and other such supposed authorities. One pet pampering service based in Australia, perhaps accurately named “Uncanny Animals”, actually goes so far as to provide the following grovelling 2023 online notice, apologising to the owners of any dogs or cats they may accidentally misgender:

Particularly guilty in this respect are the good folk at which, appropriately enough, is an online pet-grooming service. In their extensive 2022 guide, “Transgender Dogs & Cats?”, the company, surprisingly based in India, where I thought they were all still sane, ask “Can a dog or cat be transgender? The answer is yes, just like people, animals can have a gender identity that doesn’t match their physical sex,” a spectacle which is supposedly “actually not all that uncommon”.



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Pet theories

Best of all is the same website’s “How do you know if your dog or cat is transgender?” Q&A section. Well, first of all, you have to “consider how your pet presents themselves”. For example, a male dog who prefers acting like a female by – this is honestly their real suggestion – “playing with dolls or preferring to wear ribbons in their hair” may be transgender, it is said. But surely if your dog or cat has ribbons in its hair, their owner must have put them there him or herself, obviously! Felines and canines don’t even have opposable thumbs to be able to knot the damn things properly. That’s why you never see a bulldog wearing a tie.

But it gets even dafter: “Another way to tell if your pet is transgender is by looking at their genitals.” Um, no thanks. But if I did go all voyeuristic for a moment, what would I even be looking for in the first place? Amazingly, it appears that, without their owners even knowing, certain particularly desperate gender-querying pets could have somehow booked themselves in for invasive and costly sessions of wholly unannounced gender-reassignment surgery with the Dr Moreau-like trans-vet of their choice:

“If your dog or cat has undergone surgery to change their sex organs (such as getting spayed or neutered), this may be an indicator that they identify as a different gender than what they were assigned at birth. Additionally, if your pet has begun hormone therapy to transition to the opposite gender, this is also a strong sign that they are transgender.”

Just imagine their owner’s surprise when the bill for such a procedure lands on their doormat one fine morning. Is the above bizarre phrasing simply a result of inept English translation from the original Hindi upon the website’s behalf? I’d hope so, but you just can’t be sure anymore. Still, perhaps we shouldn’t laugh. To do so could be dangerous, as PetMyPets’ extensive section on the horrors of “animal transphobia” makes horribly clear:

“Unfortunately, transgender dogs and cats may face discrimination from humans who do not understand or accept their gender identity. This can lead to social isolation and stress, which can have negative impacts on their physical and mental health.”

Who knows? Laughing at your big gay dog wanting to wear a ribbon in its hair might even cause zir to hang zirself with zir own lead one night before walkies.

Dogged by delusions

"Having" a transgender cat is like "having" a transgender toddler: the owner or parent is just abusing their infant or kitten in order to project their own ideological feelings onto it, thereby treating the poor helpless mite as a living political fashion accessory.

But, of course, the other side to this whole solipsistic coin is the idea that prejudiced pets might well prove to be transphobic towards their transgender owners. Have a look at this blog, from a male-to-female transsexual named “Anna B”, who found that, when she/he came out as trans to her/his cisgender pet cats (i.e., by skipping into their room wearing a dress and make-up), they immediately accepted Anna’s new identity and “treated me as a trans woman” from day one. This led Anna to conclude happily that “Cats are not transphobic from my experience.”

Dogs, however, are quite literally a different breed, tending to eye Anna “with caution and concern,” as would I, to be quite honest. “Every time I get dressed up ultra-feminine my dog gets that look in its eyes,” Anna complained: “I assume it has something to do with wolf-pack behaviour” resurfacing atavistically from within the animal’s toxically masculine lupine genetic past. After 14 months the pet got used to the fact its owner had become mentally ill, however, and so now “All is cool with me and my dog.”

Where and when will this mad rubbish all end? Still, we should not stigmatise the poor animals themselves too much in these matters, I suppose. As so often when a pet misbehaves, I blame the stupid owners. 

Steven Tucker is a UK-based writer with over ten books to his name. His next, Hitler’s & Stalin’s Misuse of Science, comparing the woke pseudoscience of today to the totalitarian pseudoscience of the past, will be published in summer 2023.

Image credit: Bigstock


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