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In Star Trek: TNG S03E05, "The Bonding," Jeremy Aster expresses affection for his cat, Patches:

He knows me. It's him. It's real. It's all real.

But Patches was a calico, which is almost always female.

Was referring to Patches as a male cat a blooper?

This is much more subtle than the inter-episode sex-change of Spot.

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    Calicos can be male. Note that there's potentially another 300+ years of selective breeding going on in Star Trek, so it might not be nearly as rare by then, or they may use some sort of selective breeding to ensure that only male fetuses are born, technology that exists today; treehugger.com/….
    – Valorum
    Commented Jun 22 at 20:17

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In-universe

Jeremy refers to the cat as "he" in front of both of his parents in the video footage of his dead mother.

JEREMY: Patches. Captain Patches is coming in for a landing on the sofa! Oh, no, he's going to crash.

Neither of his parents correct him, so the obvious answer is that the cat is indeed male, as Calico cats can (admittedly rarely) be.

Out of Universe

As to whether this is a blooper, we know from the workprint that was released that the line was ADR redubbed with the word "he" retained. The word "he" is also found in the original screenplay. Certainly we're left with the impression that Jeremy's cat was always intended to be male.

Probably the very short and rather boring answer is that the cat that was hired for the show was almost certainly female, as calico cats usually are, but the script was written several months before it was filmed, and likely well before the animal wrangler had decided which cat to use. Most people are unaware that certain cats are more likely to be female, so it's not a big deal. Bellisario's Maxim applies; The story is being told by a small production team that (due to the limitations of the medium) has to work quickly, with limited budget and tight deadlines all while trying to turn out the best product it can. Don't examine this too closely.

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  • Another out of universe excuse is that the differences between calico cats are harder to spot, unlike obvious black/white markings like face/chest spots or socks. So a series of calico cats could perform in the one role, without looking immediately wrong.
    – Criggie
    Commented Jun 23 at 19:01

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