Both these kittens are adorable. Can you tell if the cat is male or female? I cannot.
One of the first questions the rescue is often asked is whether the cat/kitten is male or female and many are adamant it must be one or the other. So, are male and female cats very different or does it come down to individual personality?
Should I Get a Male or Female Cat?
From Hill’s Pets: Differences Between Male and Female Cats.
The truth is that the sex of the cat really doesn’t matter when it comes to choosing the purrfect pet for you. Although there are some behavioral differences between male and female cats as they grow from kittens to adults, a cat’s genetics and environment play a bigger role in how well the two of you will bond. So take the time to meet a few cats and pick the one that you think will be your best friend. Male and female cat differences should only play a small role in choosing a cat.
Is the colour of your cat a better indicator of personality?
According to a study of over 1,000 cat owners by the University of California Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, the breed or color of your cat might actually be a better indicator of personality. Cats with tortoise shell coats, for example, are known to be feisty and energetic. However, most cat owners and vets will tell you that choosing a cat based on sex or color won’t guarantee you will get either a cuddly kitty or an independent cat. The environment a cat is raised in and the personality of the pet parent can often influence behavior more than genetics will.
From Burgess Pet Care (UK): Girls vs Boys – Feline Myths and Misconceptions
“Each feline furball is one of a kind. Whether your cat is affectionate, loyal, aggressive, territorial, playful or cooped up, it’s a matter of personality and not gender”
Veterinary journalist and cat expert Ingrid King agrees. “I personally believe that gender, other than as a personal preference of the guardian, is the least important consideration when it comes to choosing a good match for your resident cat.”
Bossy girls vs laid-back boys
Myth: Female cats are bossier and more demanding, craving attention loud meows. Male cats are more laid-back and relaxed about life.
Reality: This may be true for some, but it really depends on your cat’s personality and life experiences.
As well as the effect of neutering, Dr Lauren Finka, Research Fellow at University of Lincoln and Feline Welfare Specialist for Battersea, makes another key point – that the way a cat’s personality develops (whether male or female) is down to a complex interaction between the genetics and temperament of the cat’s parents, their own DNA and their experiences during development and in adulthood.
If you want to know how to tell the (physical) difference between male and female cats, read this article from A-Z Animals: Male vs Female Cats: 4 Key Differences Explained.
One question that arises with male cats is urine spraying (moreso with unneutered males), however, female cats can also spray. For more information, VCA Animal Hospital explains: Cat Behavior Problems – Marking and Spraying Behavior
There is no difference in lifespan between male and female cats.
As for health concerns, males are more prone to UTIs (urinary tract infections) and females can get urinary cysts or mammary tumors. Vets can prescribe a specific diet, if needed, but it is a common recommendation to feed wet cat food to support urinary tract health and boost hydration, especially for male cats.
And the sex of the cats in the top photo? Meet George and Jerry (already adopted), both males.