Cat Crisis

Trans folks are asking: Do pets care if their owners are trans?

Forget how the people in your life might react — will coming out as trans to your pets change their opinion of you?

That’s the question on the mind of a concerned trans woman on Reddit about to start hormone replacement therapy. “WILL MY CATS RECOGNIZE ME?!” she asked. “This has been absolutely terrifying me, my cats are my life and are like my kids. When I start HRT will my scent change and will they forget me? Will they think my pre-transition self died and some girl has taken over his life?!?”

Her concern might seem strange, but HRT does, in fact, change your natural body odor. For animals like cats and dogs that rely heavily on smell, does changing your scent mean they’ll think you’re a different person?

Not to worry — other trans folks in the comments were quick to relieve her fears, sharing stories of their own pets.

“You’ll be fine,” reads the post’s top reply. “It’s not like a switch flips and you change, it’ll be a gradual change, and your cats will have time to acclimatize to those changes. They’ll definitely still know that you’re ‘you,’ because they will continue to be around you.”

One user even said transitioning made their cats more affectionate: “Sorry to disappoint but your cats likely will like you more,” they wrote.

“I can confirm,” agreed another. “My two cats are even more clingy than they were before. They cuddle more, they want more attention, and my boy even started to bury his head in my armpits when cuddling.”

“My cat could not care less about the changes to my appearance or attire,” shared a third. “She only cares that I keep the treats coming and let her lie in my bed.”

All that logic applies for dog owners, too. “The first couple of times I wore a wig, my dog was initially like ‘Who? The f*ck?! Are you?’ before a quick sniff confirmed I was still the same person,” shared a commenter. “Other than that, he’s been super chill. If anything, he’s getting more affectionate and cuddly.”

One pointed out that despite some people claiming trans folks are “unnatural,” animals care far less than humans do about transitioning. 

“Remarkably, despite how many people say I’m violating the laws of nature, my cats and dogs just don’t seem to care. I live on a small farm and have chickens and goats. They also just don’t seem bothered by it at all. Neither have birds swooped down from the sky to show their offense at my flaunting of the natural order of things. All is good,” they wrote. “I do understand your concern. Dogs and cats know us through scent. I also wondered if they’d act differently. They haven’t. It’s just not important to them.”

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