It went something like this:
Visitor: She's a pretty cat!You could practically hear her thinking, "Cuckoo!" I can't blame her. You put a baby pink collar on a cat, and people are gonna think it's a girl.
Me: It's a "he". That's Nelson.
Visitor: *looks at Nelson*
Visitor: I just thought ... with the pink collar ...
Me: Oh yeah, that's his favorite color.
And cats having favorite colors? Do cats even see in color?
Of course, Nelson is no ordinary cat. He can open drawers and cabinets and even the occasional closed door. He knows how to start a scuffle between his brothers and then run to us wide-eyed (always wide-eyed!) to get credit for being "the good one". He knows to pull keys off of Daddy's laptop and never ever touch Mommy's MacBook. He's basically a cat genius.
And he has a favorite color: pink.
When he lived at the mini-shelter in the Castleton PetSmart, the staff knew that he would only play with the pink toy, never any of the others. They even sent it home with him since he had such a strong preference.
Nothing has changed. He still loves his original pink rope, and his second favorite toy is a fluffy pink flamingo. He turns his nose up at non-pink options as if they are unworthy of him.
The cat loves pink.
I caved to social pressure and made him wear a turquoise collar for years. I might buy him pink toys, but I wasn't ready to deal with issues of feline gender confusion. Would a pink collar make him a transvestite? This was not a question I was ready to contemplate.
Kurt helped change my mind when Nelson's turquoise collar broke. "He should have what he likes," Kurt said. "Who cares?"
And he was right. I've gotta let Nelson be Nelson. Pink collar and all.
Am I a crazy cat lady? Quite possibly. Anthropomorphizing beyond all good sense? Almost assuredly.
But he's my Nelson.
And he loves pink.
And I'm ok with that.