He/It for Pets Can I say "he" about my cat? In Russian you need to say he or she about a lot of things which in English have uncertain gender. So when I say "it scratches me" it sounds to me like I'm distancing from him. But may be it's weird in English to say he or she? Like only that strange people that dress their pets in clothes do this?
Feb 3, 2016 9:17 PM
Answers · 3
In English, when talking about our pets, we often use "he" or "she" depending on whether the pet is a boy or a girl. For example, when I talk about my cats, I say: "I love my cat. His fur is soft and he is very playful." Notice the use of "his" and "he". You are correct, I feel like referring to a pet as "it" does distance yourself from them. I think that pets are family therefore why distance yourself from them?
February 3, 2016
If it is a pet you have a family relationship with, normally you would refer to it as "he" or "she." But if it is a goldfish, for example, where the sex is rather indistinct, most people would use "it."
February 3, 2016
It's not weird at all, Anna. In English, cats, dogs, rabbits and so on are usually called 'he' or 'she' if they're pets. When you go to the vet's, the vet will always use a gendered pronoun. If you know the gender of the pet, you'll always say 'he' or 'she'. If you get into conversation with a stranger walking their dog in the park, you'll wait for a clue from the owner that tells you whether their pet is male or female, and that will tell you which pronoun to use. The owner would be quite insulted if you referred to their darling doggy as 'it'.
February 3, 2016
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Language Skills
English, Portuguese, Russian
Learning Language
English, Portuguese