From before I can remember until about the age of four, I thought of myself as a human-'animal' mix of some sort. For awhile I wasn't very clear which animal, except that I was some sort of animal. I crawled on all fours, barked, meowed, clawed, bit, roared, and also got along very well with any and all animals I came in contact with. I played with stuffed animals, but hated dolls--human dolls anyway. I usually pretended to be some odd animal that I'd heard about from someone else, ranging from an albino stag, to a kangaroo rat, to an eagle. I was just something, undefined and unhappily so.
Then we got my old cat, Pax, and suddenly I knew I was a cat. It just clicked from one day to the next. We had had my old cat, George before Pax, but I still hold to the belief that George was less of a cat and more of a human than anyone thought. There was just something behind those green eyes of his that was never quite 'cat' to me. Pax, however, was a cat. She was a stupid and retarded cat (and I mean this literally, as she suffered from mental disabilities throughout her life), but a cat none the less. This sparked something in me and kicked me onto the path I'm now on.
From that moment on, I was cat. I even remember thinking to myself how strange it was to be something undefined one day and purely and completely defined the next.
Whenever we played pretend or did anything where an animal could be involved, I was a cat. I'd even bargain my way into playhouse games so I could be the family pet (which they always wanted to be a dog, but I'd insist on a cat anyway). I would even comment in 'what animal are you like' games that it was boring because I was stuck as merely a cat and nothing else could do anymore.
Don't get me wrong, because I had 'always been cat' on some level or another, it was just the introduction to another, real cat, that settled it more consciously in my mind.
It wasn't until the later grades of Elementary School that I grew to be unhappy with merely knowing I was 'cat' and began researching various ways in which a human could be 'part cat', which obviously didn't come to anything until I stumbled across a thread about "the horrors of otherkin--people who are crazy and think themselves to be dragon" on gaiaonline. This was where I was horrified and argued with many otherkin that they were bloody well insane--that is, until I realized that I was being the biggest bloody hypocrite ever.
Some soul-searching and a lot of restless nights later, I became part of an otherkin community online and the rest is a story for another post.
x-posted: the werelist