Home Cat How-Tos How to tell if a cat is male or female

How to tell if a cat is male or female

Determining the sex of a cat can be difficult, especially if there is no other cat or kitten to compare with. It is even more difficult to sex a kitten or a neutered male. However, there are signs and behaviours that can make it easier to determine a cat’s sex.

HOW DO I TELL IF A CAT IS MALE OR FEMALE?

If you are able to gain the cat’s attention, gently lift it’s tail. If the cat isn’t responding well, you may ask for assistance of a friend. If the cat still isn’t lifting its tail, try scratching it where the lower back meets its tail, most cats lift their tail if you do this to them.

Once the tail is up, you will be able to tell if your cat is a male or female by the appearance of the genital area and the distance between the anus and genitals. Male cat has a much greater distance between the genitals and anus than the females.

SEXING KITTENS

Newborn and tiny kittens are so immature that is nearly impossible to tell if they are male or female. Ideally, kittens need to be at least six weeks old in order to be able to sex them correctly. Once they are six to eight weeks old, their genitalia becomes more visually obvious and can be able to tell if the cat is a male or female.

Bear in mind that lack of penis and testicles are not indications that the kitten is a female as they are not yet visible as of that age. The main feature to check is the distance between the anus and the genitals

To do this, gently raise the kitten’s tail by petting it gently or scratching the lower back. In female cats, you will see the anus and underneath will be a long slit which is the vaginal area. The two are about half an inch apart and will appear as a dot and a line like an upside-down exclamation mark.

In male cats, there is a larger separation between the anus and the penis, with the testicles in the middle. Both this opening look more like dots or a colon.

DETERMINING THE SEX OF GROWN CATS

The same method as is used for the kittens is applied here as well. However, if a cat is not spayed or neutered, determining their sex-based both on appearance and on behaviour. Once a cat is spayed or neutered, there’s no obvious behavioural difference between the genders.

Male cats that have not been neutered have prominent testicle and broader jowl. They have unique behaviours that begin as they reach maturity. Unneutered cats tend to be more aggressive and marks their territory through urine spraying. An unspayed female cat will go into heat every two weeks and may become more vocal.

In neutered male cats, vestigial remnants of a testicle sac might be faintly showing.

COAT COLOUR

Though not reliable, research has shown that it is extremely rare for a male to have tri-coloured calico or orange and black tortoiseshell fur. For cats with a calico or tortie fur, chances are very good that the cat is a female. This is because these colours require two X chromosomes to be present and females have two chromosomes.

Also, ginger colouration is a less reliable indicator of sex in cats but generally, ginger male’s are more likely to occur than ginger females. Identifying the sex of a cat is not as easy as it first seems but looking at the distance between the anus and the genitals, you should be able to tell if a cat is a male or a female.

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