The Transgender Cat: A Story of Survival and Hope for Cats in Need

The following is a guest story submission by Carol – If you’d like to submit a story for publication please contact us via

I’d like to tell you about my cat Mao and how he became a “transgender” cat, and maybe save the lives of a few cats out there by relating his story.

I put the term in quotes because he’s not really like a transgender human, but it’s the closest term to explain his situation.  You see, for medical reasons he had to have all his male bits cut off and his plumbing reworked so that he pees like a girl.  But the surgery saved his life and he has had many good years since then.

Back when Mao was still a stray cat who had adopted me, when he was only allowed inside my house on supervised visits, but he’d already been neutered, he started peeing on the floor.  Lots of little pees, like a teaspoon or tablespoon at a time.  I was an inexperienced cat servant and didn’t recognize this for the plea for help that it was and scolded him instead of taking him to the vet.

Then he disappeared for 5 days and I was heartbroken and guilt-tripping.  But on Easter Sunday, he heard my voice and crawled out from his hiding place in my yard, weak and disheveled, and collapsed in a puddle of water. I quickly asked my neighbor where the emergency vet was. Mao still had enough energy to fight being placed in the carrier, so I laid him on a towel on the passenger seat.

The vet said he was dehydrated and his kidneys had shut down, and it was all due to crystals blocking his urethra.  I was floored to learn cats can get the equivalent of kidney stones.  And it’s more common in male cats who have been neutered, because the last couple of inches of the urinary tract are quite narrow.  But they said they can usually get the kidneys working again.

After financial authorization, they inserted a stent to drain the urine and crystals and started IV fluids.  When I got home, I got a call from the vet saying his prognosis wasn’t good.  His bloodwork showed his creatinine level, which should be under 2, was 24, the highest she’d ever seen.  But he was young, and survived.  (I visited him in hospital every day after work.)

2 weeks after coming home, however, he started blocking up again, on a Saturday when my normal vet had no appointments.  So, back to the emergency vet once again, for another very expensive stay.  This time the vet said that after blocking up twice, he should have “the surgery” which would just mean he would pee like a girl.  (Except that it’s a bit more than that.)

Luckily the semi-retired vet at my regular practice was one of 3 vets in San Antonio, Texas, who was able to perform this surgery, and it went well.

But when he came home, he looked a fright.  Both front legs had been shaved for IVs recently, his flank had been shaved to apply a pain patch, and his whole backside had been shaved and now had a bunch of Frankenstein-like stitches.

But, thanks to the pain patch, he was finally pain-free for probably the first time in a couple months, so he immediately wanted to run and jump.  “Dude!  You’ll tear your stitches!… Can I still call you ‘dude’?”  But he still considers himself male, since over the years he has romanced/tried to romance a number of female cats.

This exciting chapter of Mao’s adventures happened in 2008, when he was at least 3 years old.  He’s had many adventures since then, but I hope sharing this story may save the lives of other cats by informing their humans that a cat urgently needs to go to the vet if he starts peeing small amounts in the wrong places — it’s either a bad infection or crystals.

And yes, Mao is still alive and enjoying life as a senior cat. The photo on the blue chair cushion is recent.


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