How to tell the difference between a male and female cat?
Hmmm…that should be obvious, right? Well, with kittens it can be difficult to determine between the genitals of males and females, especially when they are babies. Even breeders and veterinarians have made mistakes when trying to sex very young kittens.
OK, here we go…All kittens are born with two openings just below the tail (and if they are not, something is terribly wrong. A birth defect of not having an anal opening is life-threatening and the kitten needs to see a veterinarian asap.) One opening is the anus and the other is the genital area. The best way to tell a female kitten from a male kitten is to compare the distance between the anal opening and the genital opening.
For males: the space between the anus and the penis opening is a longer distance than the space between the anus and the vaginal opening on females. The extra space is where the testicles will descend from the body when the male is about 4 to 6 weeks of age. They will feel like small peas.
For females: there will be (or are) no testicles and so the space between the anus and vagina is a shorter distance. Also, the shape of the vaginal opening is a vertical slit. For the males, you’ll see a small circular opening for the penis.
If there are any calicos or tortoiseshell kittens in the litter, chances are, these are female.
Orange cats are usually male, although this is not as strong a trait as with calicos and tortoiseshells usually being females.
Kittens and neutered adult male cats are the hardest to determine if they are male or female.
Another tip I received from a breeder: females will have 6 – 8 nipples. Boys may have nipples, too, but usually not that many and are not as noticeable.
Jessie says: Can you believe my human thought I was a boy at first? She even called me Chester for a few weeks. How humiliating!!
Gina says: Argh! I admit it. I thought Jessie was a boy at first. This was when she started hanging around the house as a stray. I had not decided to permanently adopt her yet and she was a bit squirmy letting me check what sex she was! After some internet research and checking out her rear end about 10 more times, I finally figured out she was a girl. And changed her name! The vet estimated her age to be about 10 months old, so it wasn’t like she was a baby kitten and yet I still had trouble deciding if she was a boy or girl!