Female cat or male cat: What suits me?

You have already made the decision to bring a velvet-pawed housemate into the house and are already looking forward to it. But there is still one question to be answered: Female cat or male cat? We show you how to recognise the sex of a kitten, name the typical behaviour of female cats and explain the differences to male cats.

Recognising the sex of kittens: How to do it

You may visit a breeder in search of a suitable housemate. Many little kittens come towards you curiously, other kittens watch you hesitantly from a distance. Only one kitten plays briskly with your shoelaces and you've already decided: that's the kitten for you! Of course, you now want to know the sex of your future pet, so that you can find a suitable name and inform yourself in advance about all the sex-typical characteristics.

To determine the sex, carefully lift the kitten up and turn it onto its back in your arms. The tail will automatically fold down to reveal the sex. These are the identifying characteristics:

  • Female: Directly below the root of the tail is the anus and only a very short distance below that is the vulva. This is recognisable as a slit and visually resembles an "i".
  • Male: The anus is of course in the same place as in the females. In the male, however, there is a larger distance underneath, because the testicles are formed there later. A little further down you will find another round opening where the penis is located.

What does the coat reveal about the cat's sex?

Often a kitten is still too small in its first weeks of life, which makes it difficult to tell the sex. Sometimes you can also guess from the colour of the coat:

  • Tricoloured cats (tortoiseshell pattern), also called lucky cats, are usually female, because the pattern in three shades requires two X chromosomes. Males only have such a pattern if their genes have two X chromosomes and one Y chromosome.
  • Red cats, on the other hand, are often male. Although there are also red females, this colour is more common in males, because females only adopt it if both parents are red tigers.

Our tip: The coat colour is an uncertain indicator. If the kittens are still too small to clearly determine the sex, wait another 1-2 weeks and check again. Many breeders have the sex of the kittens determined directly at the vet anyway and mark the kittens with blue or red ribbons.

Behaviour: This is where female cat and male cat differ

Every cat is individual and active in different ways. But also the gender contributes to how the velvet paws behave. Therefore, think about your needs and what is important to you, then you will quickly be able to decide on a male or a female cat.

If you have ever watched a documentary about lions, you will know that the pride of a male consists exclusively of females. The male defends his harem and hunting territory. The lionesses care for their offspring together, hunt and share the prey among themselves. If you observe your velvet paw, you will realise how much predator cat there is in even the smallest hunters.

The male cat and his territory

Male cats love to roam around in their territory. They are always on the lookout for females in heat. They impress them by marking their territory with a particularly intense smelling urine. Some males do not tolerate other males in their territory, they might even react aggressively.

British Shorthair cat

The cohabitation of male and human - this is what you should know:

  • robust: male cats are stronger than their female counterparts. They also tolerate accidental rough handling (e.g. by small children) better. Of course, however, children should learn to handle animals gently at an early age.
  • distant: unneutered male cats like to roam their territory, even in the flat they comb all rooms several times a day and rub themselves against furniture and walls. They are often less cuddly. After neutering, they become a little calmer and may well turn out to be cuddly males.
  • playful: if you want to spend time with your male cat, swing the cat rod or lure him out of his reserve with exciting cat toys, because unneutered males have an increased urge to play.
  • freedom-loving: unneutered males in particular often go exploring for days on end. Male free-rangers in search of mating females often venture further away from their homes than their female counterparts.

Female cat: Together we can do more

Female cats usually live socially in a community with other females. They rarely roam the grounds, but tend to use their excursions into the undergrowth to hunt for food. If you keep several females together, they may hunt for prey together.

This is how the relationship between female cat and human is formed:

  • hunting: indoor cats love to run after a teaser and occasionally get a prey between their claws. A neutered outdoor cat will usually stay fairly close to home.
  • independent: Female cats enjoy being close to a pack with conspecifics, but also like to withdraw in between. However, your cat will be happy to be stroked extensively and intensively.
  • cleanliness: Female cats do not only groom their own fur extensively. If your cat trusts you, she may also lick your body regularly.


British Shorthair cat

Our tip: Exceptions prove the rule - not all males are automatically aggressive lone fighters and even among the female cats you may find a territorial female who wants to hunt alone and will not tolerate a rival.

Neutering: This changes in male cats and female cats

From about the 6th month of life, with sexual maturity, it is advisable to neuter a cat. This prevents unpleasant sexual behaviour, for example: Your male cat will no longer mark his territory with odour-intensive urine and your female cat will no longer meow loudly when she is in heat. Neutering also has an effect on your relationship: The otherwise rather aloof male suddenly turns out to be a real cuddly cat who likes to stay close to home. At best, he will only roam the neighbourhood by the hour instead of staying for days on end on a discovery tour.

If you decide to only have your cat spayed, the sexual behaviour will remain the same. Unlike neutering, the ovaries and testicles remain intact. The vet only cuts the fallopian tubes of female cats. The hormonal balance is not affected and the sex-typical mating behaviour, such as the heat, remains. If you want to stop the sexual drive, it is better to have your cat neutered.

The multi-cat household with female cats and male cats

Especially if your cat only lives in a flat, he will be happy to have a second cat, because cats are generally not loners and enjoy cuddling and mutual grooming with other cats. We explain what you need to consider in a multi-cat household, depending on the constellation:

  • Keeping unneutered cats together

Whether male or female - un-neutered, sexually mature animals have a pronounced sex drive. So two males are likely to fight over and mark their territory without regard for your furnishings. If you keep a cat and a male cat together, be prepared for noise and prompt offspring.

  • Neutering male cats

Even without hormones in the blood, male cats fight more often than female cats. Brothers who grow up together from birth usually remain good friends.

  • Two female cats

Female cats often get along well with each other, both neutered and un-neutered. However, if they do get into a fight, they are often resentful. It's best not to get involved in their disputes. This way you avoid making yourself unpopular.


Conclusion: As you can see, female cats and male cats have their own peculiarities, which more or less suit you and your habits. However, you can influence one or the other unpleasant behaviour by neutering. However, the most important thing is: regardless of gender, the chemistry between you must be right, because the nature and character of velvet paws is individual. What is it that makes your female cat or male cat special? Do you recognise typical characteristics? Tell us about it!

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