I knew my mother wanted a female cat and when I entered the shop, one kitten ran up to me. I realised, in a moment of mutual recognition, that this was the one. The owner assured me this was a female. My mother named the kitten Rosemary and it was only after a year, when we sent the cat to be neutered, that the plain facts were revealed. I broke the news to my mother, “Pussy is a boy.” Immediately she responded,“That’s why he is so bossy!” with characteristic insight. This was when he first acquired the name Mr Pussy, indicative of his early gender confusion. He was never Rosemary again, except very occasionally when we chose to tease him and Mr Pussy responded with filthy looks that could make Silvio Berlusconi look clean.