And I'm bored.
katwylder said: I'm a beginning German learner (native English-speaker), and I'm a bit confused about pronouns for non-humans. I noticed that animal characters in books are referred to with a pronoun that matches the gender of the noun. "Der Fisch" gets a masculine pronoun, and "die Maus" gets a feminine pronoun. But what should I do if I want to talk about a female dog or a male cat? Would something such as, "Ich mag deine Katze. Er ist nett." or "Ich sehe einen Hund. Sie spielt." be acceptable?
No. Let’s take your example:
Ich sehe einen Hund. *Sie spielt.
The pronoun in the second sentence has to refer back to the noun in the previous sentence (here the direct object: einen Hund). They need to match. So this is the correct wording: “Ich sehe einen Hund. Er spielt.”
For many animal names there is a male and female version in German. If you don’t know a dog’s sex, you would simply stick to “der Hund”. But if you know that the dog is female and if you want to stress that for some reason, you can use the female form: “die Hündin”.
(I’ll post a short list with some examples of animals that have male and female titles later.)
It’s the same for people, btw. You might already know that the noun for “girl” in German is neuter: das Mädchen.
Ich sehe ein Mädchen. Es spielt.
If you refer to an animal by using its name (as in Lassie, Flipper, Fury), you would match the pronouns with it’s sex:
Lea bellt sehr laut. Wahrscheinlich hat sie wieder eine Katze gesehen.
= Lea is barking very loudly. She has probably seen a cat again.