Kittens: How Do I Tell The Gender?

Cat or tomcat? What gender is the kitten? With these tips, you can easily identify the sex of a kitten yourself.

Young cats are always cute. But the kittens grow up fast. At the latest when the first kittens move to a new family, the question arises as to the gender of the clumsy animal.

The vet can spot this in cats in no time, but with a little knowledge, cat owners can also see if their pet is a tomcat or a cat.

Let’s take a closer look at the important differences in cat genitals. Then you will find out which tricks and tips help to examine the kittens for their sex without stress.

At what age can you tell the gender?

When a cat gets kittens, the joy is usually great. But what will the kittens look like? And what gender will the little ones be?

The younger the kittens are, the more uncertain it is to determine whether a tomcat or a cat is growing up here. Cats’ sex organs are tiny and so are the differences.

But of course, we want to know which kitten is male or female. After all, the little fur balls should be given nice names as quickly as possible.

A visit to the vet is not absolutely necessary to determine the gender. If you inform yourself in advance, you can also find out the different sex characteristics of the cats yourself. A few days after the birth, however, it still makes little sense to look at the sex, but after a few weeks and with advancing age, the decisive differences become clearer. From about two months, the difference can be clearly seen.

However, even now there is no guarantee of ultimate security. If you are unsure, ask your veterinarian or an experienced breeder. These experts are not only good advisors when it comes to health: They can sometimes be wrong, but based on their experience they have a very high hit rate when it comes to determining the sex of kittens.

This is how female and male genitals differ in young cats

  • In kittens, you’ll see a small, vertical slit just below the anus. The overlying anus looks like a small “i” together with the female genitalia.
  • In the cat we see a small, round hole below the anus: Here the two exits look like a colon in combination.
  • Another difference lies in the distance between the two openings. The distance between the anus and genitals is slightly larger in tomcats than in cats. Here it is particularly helpful when determining the sex of the kitten if you can compare several cats with each other.
  • From the age of about two months, the testicles of the young tomcat stand out as a small bump between the anus and the genital opening. If you can’t see anything here, you can feel it very carefully with a finger: you can sometimes feel two pea-sized bumps here. If you can’t feel them, that doesn’t mean it’s a female cat. In young animals, the testicles can lie even further inside in the groin area.
  • A young animal that is six months or older, if it is female, will already show signs of heat or willingness to mate. The cat does this by marking with urine, becoming very clingy, meowing a lot, raising its bottom in the air, and thus offering itself to an imaginary partner.

How are coat color and gender-related?

What does coat color have to do with kitten sex? At first, this thought seems absurd, but you have probably noticed that three-colored tomcats are rare. And red velvet paws usually do not have a female cat name, because they are almost always tomcats. This has to do with genetic conditions and the laws of heredity.

This is not a law set in stone, as there are exceptions. But the distribution of certain coat colors and combinations is so common that a cat’s coat color can be the first clue when determining sex. This is especially helpful when the little tigers are very young. The fur and its color can be seen just a few days after birth. The differences in the genitals, on the other hand, can elude the observer’s view for weeks.

Tricolor and tortoiseshell cats are almost always female. They need a specific chromosome constellation for their beautiful markings. There must be two X chromosomes. This is only the case in females, males each have an X and a Y in their chromosome set.

An exception applies to a rare genetic defect: some tomcats have three sex chromosomes, and these can be composed of two Xs and one Y. Then a three-colored tomcat is possible. However, these animals are infertile due to their genetic defect.

Red cats are a little more common than tri-colored tomcats. But they don’t come up too often either. In order to have a red coat, the cub needs two parents with red coats, which is quite rare. That’s why there are red-haired cat ladies, but they’re not the norm.

Determine the sex of the cat without stress

Veterinarians and experienced breeders in particular can determine the sex of a young cat and distinguish between them with certainty. If you want to check yourself, make sure you have a suitable environment so as not to stress the cats unnecessarily.

The young animals are very sensitive to cold and should always be picked up in a warm environment. In addition, they should not be placed on cold surfaces, such as marble tiles or a metal surface, even for a short time. In general, the little kittens should only be removed from the mother for a few minutes for grooming or sex determination.

For the mother too, removing her baby means sheer stress. The smell of the little cat changes, which in the worst case can lead to her rejecting and excluding the kitten. Therefore, young animals should only be removed from their mother for as short a time as possible.

Tips and tricks: Distinguishing between tomcat and cat

The sex of the kitten can be determined in just a few steps and carried out carefully. This is how the exact process looks in individual steps:

  • First, the kitten is gently picked up and gently petted until it calms down. It is then placed on a clean cloth, with its head away from the viewer and its rump toward the viewer.
  • Now the young animal’s tail can be carefully lifted. Caution: Do not pull on the tail, it is very sensitive. Injuries can easily occur.
  • If the kitten resists the examination, it should be returned to the mother. Sometimes it helps to have a second person with you who can hold and pet the animal.
  • Now the genitals can be viewed. They lie below the opening under the base of the tail, this is the intestinal outlet.
  • A comparison with the other furry friends from the litter can help to differentiate: Small differences between tomcats and cats can be better identified and the sex can be determined in this way.

Whether cat or hangover: We wish you a wonderful time with your mini tiger.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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