Sexing a kitten can get tricky for the cat owners. Kitten genitals are not as prominent as adult cats. So, cat owners often rely on their veterinarians to determine the sex of their kittens.
Even professionals find it troublesome to differentiate males from females. However, some visual clues can help in determining the sex of the kitten, and one can name their small feline friend correctly.
A kitten requires care and affection. But it helps in determining the time when one needs to take the cat for spaying or neutering.
One needs to be particular while determining a kitten’s gender. If you handle the kitten too much, the mother can abandon it, and it can lead to malnourishment.
So, one should wait for at least two weeks before sexing the kitten. We have provided everything one needs to know about sexing cats or kittens.
How to tell if a kitten is a male or female?
The following cues can help cat owners to determine the sex of the kitten or cat.
- Identifying the genital shapes
- Examining the distance between anus and genitals
- Feeling scrotal sac
- Fur color
- Kitten Behavior
The best way of determining the sex of a kitten is by identifying the shape of genitals. Often experts compare the appearance of female genitalia with an inverted exclamation mark or ‘i’ and male genitalia with a colon.
To examine the shape of kitten genitalia, one needs to pick a time when they are calm and gently lift the tail to look at the rear end of the kitten.
Cats are often at peace after their meals. The opening just below the tail is the anus. For female kittens, the vaginal slit rests just below the anus with a very little spacing in between.
Male kittens have their penis below the anus with enough spacing to accommodate testicles, and it looks like a dot below the anus.
So, the presence of a vertical slit denotes that the kitten is female, and a dot indicates that the kitten is male. But often, this distinction can be very hard, and one cannot be sure of the sex. So, one should determine the shape of the genitals again after 5-6 weeks.
Another very distinguishing difference between male and female kitten genitals is the relative distance from the anus. For male kittens, the separation between the anus and penile opening is about half-inch, and it can go up to one inch depending on the size of an adult cat.
For female kittens, there is almost no gap between the anus and vaginal slit. For adult females, the relative distance can be as far as half an inch.
This procedure works even on neutered kittens, as the relative distance between anus and genitals remains the same.
For male adult cats, the penis is not visible and can be very hard to feel. It is even harder to determine the penile opening for kittens. In that case, bulging of the scrotal sac can be a determining factor.
Scrotal sac or scrotum is a bulged skin containing the testicles of male cats. The location of the scrotum is between the anus and penile opening.
For kittens of age less than 3 weeks, it is not very apparent. So, one should slowly raise the tail and gently place a finger in the scrotum area.
If one finds the two hard, oval-shaped objects under the skin, the kitten is male. However, as the kitten ages, its testicles start to enlarge, and scrotal sac bulges outwards.
As a result, it is easier to determine the sex of a kitten when it is older than 10 weeks. The absence of a scrotal sac denotes that the kitten is female.
Another simple method of determining the sex of the kitten is by looking at the color of the cat. This type of classification between male and female cats is not reliable, but science backs it.
If a cat has Tortoiseshell (usually orange and black) and calico (usually orange, white, and black) fur, it is almost always a female. Female cats have two X chromosomes, which are responsible for these colors.
Sometimes due to some anomaly, male cats can have two X chromosomes along with a Y chromosome, which can allow male cats to have Tortoiseshell or calico fur.
But this phenomenon is rare, and generally, these two colors are always associated with female cats. However, ginger-colored tabby cats are mostly male.
This relation is not as assuring as the connection between the tri-colored trait and female cats. In general, only three-quarters of ginger cats are male.
Cats have very unique personalities, and they can vary as much as human personalities. Sexing the kitten just by judging their traits or personalities may not be the most dependable path you can take.
But one can associate personality traits with gender. Kittens, of age more than 10 weeks, develop certain personality traits. Male cats are always more restive and hostile.
As they grow up, they tend to dominate the house and mark their places. They become territorial if they share the house with other kittens.
Some cat owners even say that male cats are friendlier and more outgoing. Whereas, female cats are more vocal around the house.
They also develop attention-seeking behavior when they are as young as four months. These behavioral traits are entirely avoidable if they are spayed or neutered. Cats should be spayed or neutered by six-to-eight weeks.
At what age can you tell a kitten’s gender?
At birth, the kitten’s gender can be determined by feeling for the testicles of the cat. The testicles of male kittens descend into the scrotal sac a few weeks before the birth.
One can bring two fingers together in a pincer action and gently slide fingers below the scrotum area. If one can sense two smooth, ovoid, small testicles located side by side in the scrotal sac.
Often experts can feel only one testicle at a time, and it is tricky to feel the presence. So, it is possible to detect the testicles if one does the process carefully. The absence of a testicle automatically denotes that the kitten is a female.
How to tell if a newborn kitten is male or female?
There are two possibilities of ways of determining whether a newborn kitten is male or female. The first method is by feeling the presence of testicles in the scrotum.
This technique is dependable, and experts recommend this method to determine gender. But one needs to handle the kittens very carefully, and it is always troublesome to find a kitten calm enough to perform this method.
Also, the kitten should not be kept away from their mother for more than 5-10 minutes. Due to this, mothers can abandon the kittens, and kittens can be malnourished without the nutrients present in mother’s milk.
One can also guess the gender of the kitten by looking at the color of the kitten. In general, one can identify female cats by the tortoiseshell and calico fur.
The chromosomal effects on their fur are responsible for the specific type of pattern. For male cats, this process is not always dependable as only three-quarters of the ginger cats are male.
How to tell if a 3-week old kitten is male or female?
The genitals become prominent when they are three weeks old, and one can use the previous techniques to determine the gender of the cat.
Kittens do not develop specific personality traits at this stage. So, one should not make a decision by judging the personality of the cats.
The shape and position of the genitals and the presence of testicles should be enough to determine the gender. However, if one is still not sure, wait for a few weeks to try again.
Knowing the gender of the kitten is very crucial for the better fostering of the cat. One should be aware of the gender-specific health or behavioral problems that may occur to cats.
For example, urinary tract problems are much common for male cats, and they are at higher risk of having a blockage in their urinary tract than female cats.
One can always take the kitten to the veterinarians to take a look if there are any doubts regarding gender. No matter what, cats will always be a tender and loving companions.
Reference & Citations:
1 ) https://www.vetmed.wsu.edu/outreach/Pet-Health-Topics/categories/procedures/cats/determining-gender-(sex)-of-a-kitten#:~:text=Lift%20the%20kitten’s%20tail.,the%20male%20than%20the%20female.
Hi There, AJ Oren here. I am the founder of this amazing pet blog & a passionate writer who loves helping pet owners to learn more about their pets through my articles. I am also the content manager of this blog. I have experience in pet training and behavior, sheltering, and currently working for a veterinary clinic.