How to Determine a Cat’s Sex – Explained

You just got a cat, but you aren't sure if your fluffy friend is a male cat or a female cat? Read on to see how you can determine the cat's sex in just a few seconds.

It isn’t always easy to separate a male cat from a female cat, and it’s even more challenging to sex a kitten or a neutered male.

Luckily, some certain signs and behaviors can make it easier to determine a cat’s sex.

When it comes to spaying or neutering your cat, it’s important to do it in professional surroundings, allowing your veterinarian to perform the act – this is the only way to know for sure that your cat will be fine.

Sexing Kittens and Grown Cats

Adopting a kitten is such a wonderful experience. After all, when saving a kitten, you are helping a living being to live.

When you adopt a kitten, the chances are the new pet is only a few weeks old, unless you are adopting an adult or senior cat.

As a general rule, newborns and kittens are so immature that it’s not possible to tell their sex. However, once they turn six or eight weeks old, their genitalia becomes more visually obvious.

The penis, however, is not normally visible in male cats, and it’s unlikely that the owner will be able to feel or see the scrotum.

With this in mind, the lack of a penis or even testes is not an indication that a kitten is female.

So, how breeders can identify the sex of younger sex? Experienced breeders use “punctuation marks” to identify the sex of younger cats or neutered cats.

To do this, raise the pet’s tail gently; start by petting gently and try scratching the cat’s lower back as he or she may raise the tail automatically as purring begins.

  • Female cats and female kittens: The cat is a female if the anus and the vaginal opening are relatively close together (less than 1⁄2 inch apart). In kittens, the anus and vagina may both look like dots, and they may be even closer together. So, the kitten is a female if the anus and the vaginal opening are close together—almost adjacent to each other. The vaginal opening looks more like a slit than a round hole.
  • Male cats and male kittens: The cat is a neutered male if the spacing between the anus and the penis is relatively wide (more than one inch apart). The male cat will always have a larger separation between the anus and the penis, with the testicles in the middle. Both of these openings is more of a circle than lines. The kitten is a male if the spacing between the anus and the penis is relatively wide (about 1⁄2 inch apart). The penis is usually hidden, and again the area around it will look more like a hole
    than a slit.

Sex-Based Differences in Appearance

Many would say that all cats look the same, both males and females. This may be the case if you are comparing them to humans, but in the cat world, color and physical attributes play a major role.

Certain colors and physical indications are unique to a particular gender. For example, it’s extremely rare for a male cat to have tri-colored calico or orange-and-black tortoiseshell fur.

For those with calico or tortie cat, chances are very good that the pet is a female. Also, it’s rare for a female cat to have full-orange or anyhow ginger-colored fur.

So, if you see a ginger cat, you can be sure that’s a male. A cat that has given birth, is more likely to have visually obvious nipples. Don’t forget that both males and females have nipples.

There is also one crucial difference between female and male cats, and it’s highly linked to the heat cycle.

When in heat, females may have vaginal discharge and a pregnant cat will have a low-hanging, distended belly.

Differences Between Male and Female Cats

Now that you know the biological differences between female and male cats and know how to separate them as kittens, you are probably wondering if there is any difference in temperament.

For sure, there are certain contrasts between males and females that may help you choose a cat that fits your lifestyle better.

Behavioral differences between females and males are most obvious in cats that are not spayed or neutered because their difference is related to the cat’s sex drive.

For example, male cats may be more aggressive, spray urine, and try to escape home when they are in their sexually mature stage.

When in heat, female cats tend to be more cuddling, loving, and they even love to rub either against you or anything else.

On top of that, they become more vocal than usual. Some female cats spray while in heat, while some male cats have been known to be more affectionate.

Cats should be spayed or neutered – we know, kittens are cute, but unless you have a sure howe for kittens and serious family to care about them, you should act as a responsible cat owner and never add to existing high numbers of stray cats or to cats in the shelter.

According to a study of over 1,000 cat owners by the University of California Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, the color, and the breed can be a great indicator of personality.

For example, cats with tortoiseshell coats are known to be energetic and feisty.

Yet, veterans and other animal experts strongly believe that choosing a cat based on sex or color won’t guarantee you will get neither a cuddly quietly or an independent cat.

Of course, cats’ nature plays a big role in personality development, but the environment plays a huge role in creating an independent cat.

So, both genetics and surrounding can equally influence the cat’s behavior.

Some claim that the environment can influence a cat’s behavior more than genetics.

What About Appearance?

Cat breeds are harder to distinguish than dog breeds. Your cat may have a mix of traits, an original color, unusual markings, and a long or short coat.

Cats are mammals, and like most mammals, male cats than to be a little larger in size compared to female cats.

Overall, both male and female cats tend to weigh between 6 to 12 pounds and stand about 8 to 10 inches high. Many factors will affect how your cat looks, including feeding style, the amount of exercise, and overall health.

So, choosing a cat merely on her appearance isn’t ideal. If you are looking to bring a feline into your home, visit an animal shelter, and check search and rescue, where you can find a wide variety of cat ages, breeds, and personalities.

Many centers even offer all cat-related information online, where you can see photos and get all the needed information on the cat’s health.

When meeting any cat for the first time, be calm, sit near the cat and wait for her to come to you. Once she comes to you, you can pet her.

Should I Get a Male or Female Cat?

When it comes to the perfect cat match for you, the sex of the cat doesn’t make a big difference.

The truth is that there are some behavioral differences between male and female cats, especially as they grow from kittens to adults, but a cat’s genetics and environment play a big role in how you and your feline will get along.

So, always take some time to meet a few cats first and then choose your perfect match.

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