That's probably precisely why they changed it. The stuff in the Gord books was one of the few things he got to keep the rights too after being kicked out of TSR. We have quite a bit of evidence that Lorraine was rather vindictive about Gary's legacy bits and wanted to remove them. On the plus side, it wasn't a retcon, they said that the previous cat lord was male, but he got killed. So they're essentially giving you freedom to give the animal lords completely different stats and personalities each time one is killed and a new one is chosen.They made the cat lord a woman?
That's odd, because unlike the other animal lords, the cat lord was an established figure in D&D. The original appeared in the MM2, showed up fairly frequently as the patron to the eponymous character in Gygax's Gord the Rogue stories, and was even featured in at least one short story in Dragon. And all of them were roguish men. I'm surprised they went with the even more stereotypical catgirl.