The pet play lifestyle is full of so many voices that make it unique and vibrant. To showcase this, every month we will be shining the spotlight on a particular human animal or Handler in our community. Let's hear what makes every pet player special! This month, we chatted with a kitten all the way in Richmond, Virginia, who we had the pleasure of meeting at DomCon LA during the Animal International competition. She was the runner-up, and we knew her story needed to be shared! Introducing...
Please introduce yourself and how you identify in pet play
Hai! My name is Ava Antilles and I use She/Her pronouns. I identify as a street cat turned pampered princess. I still have my rebellious side and will fight and defend my pack if I need to.
How did you find your pet identity, and what does it mean to you?
I’m not really certain there was a specific “aha” moment for me. I went to college to pursue a degree in theatre and in one of my acting classes we did an animal role play exercise (I was a tiger I believe). It certainly didn’t titalate me in the same way that pet play and animal role play do now, but I really felt like the animal and was able to immerse myself into that body. After that though I didn’t touch animal role-play for several years, I brushed it off as an acting exercise.
Several years later, I realized that something that had always been inside me really wanted to come out and live in the real world. I realized that all that playing dress up as a kid meant something to me. I realized I was Trans. It wasn’t easy at first and the process of becoming my true self took about a year or so. This is when I started revisiting Pet Play. My current partner (then a brand new partner) acted out a spontaneous pet grooming scene with me, at my request, and I was in love with the concept. We didn’t act out any scenes for awhile after that, but she soon purchased me my first collar and I got goosebumps. I’ve been hooked and only dived deeper into it as time has gone on.
What are your favorite activities as a pet?
I absolutely LOVE to snuggle at my handler’s feet while she’s working on her computer or on her art. I purr when she scratches my head. I’m also now hooked on obedience training (complete with punishment and reward); up until this last spring 2022 DomCon, I didn’t realize how much I needed that in my life.
What, if any, special gear/outfit especially connects you to your pet self?
I have several outfits that I feel comfortable wearing in public as a kitty, but I have a particular curated outfit that makes me feel most at home. I wear my white ears, put on gold and pink eyeshadow, complete with cat eye eyeliner, a crushed velvet crop tank, a bright pink pleated skirt, a thong of some kind with a plug tail hanging down, white thigh highs (if I’m at home they’re my white thigh highs with toe beans attached to the bottom of them), my doc Martin heels, and of course my pale pink collar, wrist restraints, and leash, complete with rose gold hardware.
How, if at all, do your intersections of identity influence your pet play?
I feel like I wasn’t able to explore pet play fully (or really at all) until I actually started to accept myself for the woman I am. I believe that my kitty persona is an extension of myself that is intrinsic to the way I view myself as that woman. I’m able to feel fully confident in doing what makes ME feel good. Being so bold and existing in public as my kitty persona helps me feel bold and confident enough in just being who I am in the rest of my life. It truly reminds me to do what makes me happy.
What advice do you have for pet players struggling to express themselves in areas without a large pet play community?
I would absolutely say take your time to discover yourself, first and foremost, pet/animal play isn’t a race (and shouldn’t be). Once you find what makes you tick, dive deeper in your personal spaces, but also remember, that thing can change and morph, AND THAT’S OK. Also.. remember to trust your closest friends.
Lastly, keep yourself safe; something that really helped me feeling comfortable in being publicly trans and a kitty was learning to how defend myself, and that it’s ok to defend yourself. Not everyone has to be, or desires to be public though and the internet is fantastic for expressing yourself while still existing in your personal space.
What do you love most about pet play?
Honestly? I think I love how freaking cute it makes me look. We agree! :)
To keep up with this feline cutie, follow her on Instagram @ms_ava_antilles