How To Tell A Cat’s Gender By Its Face?

There are no scientifically proven methods to distinguish between gender in cats when looking at their face alone. However, there are many theories which suggest how to do just that, although it may be difficult to distinguish if you don’t have two cats to compare one another to.

There have been several studies, one which was published in 1999 stating that with proper training, observers may tell the gender, but that it is based upon the same relativity of that as multiple choice. 

Identification of Gender in Domestic-Cat Faces with and without Training: Perceptual Learning of a Natural Categorization Task – Paul C Quinn, Vanessa Palmer, Alan M Slater, 1999 (sagepub.com)

There are distinct facial differences in some cats which are more prominent depending on their breed. Male cats are usually found to be larger than that of their counterparts. Cats vary in shape and size and without inspecting their genitals there really is no concrete way to tell whether a cat is male or female just by looking at its face, but let’s have a look at some theories.

Gender Recognition By Face, Color And Size Theories

Shape Of Face

It is said that we can note the gender of a cat in the shape of its face. Male cats are thought to have a more rounded face with bigger jowls than the opposite sex, while the females are longer in the snout than males. Of course, if you have a male and a female of two different breeds then that suggestion may differ. 

Color

The color of their face and coat can sometimes help to differentiate between the two sexes. The black and orange or tri-colored calicos usually point to a female, whereas the orange and ginger colored coats suggest that of a male. This is not to say that the possibility of a female cat with an orange-colored coat doesn’t exist, it just suggests that the possibility is rare. 

Size

As mentioned above, the face of a male cat is more prominent, but what about the rest of its body? Usually, a male cat will be larger than that of a female. That may differ in some cases where diet plays a role.

Realistically though, if a male and female cat of the same breed were placed on the same diet with the same amount of food, chances are the male would always come out as the winner in size. 

Other Differences In Gender

There are other factors that may help in determining the sex of a cat besides the obvious.

Personality

 Male cats are more affectionate to their owners than females, mostly. For some female cats who had kittens, the difference in affection likely results from the fact that they have maternal instincts which would have taken them away from their owners to care for their kittens.

Female cats are known to be more independent and don’t mind being left alone for extended periods of time. Personality really just depends on the cat and the way it was raised from birth. Personalities tend to change in both sexes once they have been spayed or neutered. A male cat who may have been aggressive and aloof may become calm and cuddly afterwards and vice versa.

Mating Tendencies

 In cats who haven’t had their reproductive organs removed, males are the aggressor, especially when they sense a female in heat. The male will mark his territory with urine, telling others to back off. Females are notorious for meowing and howling through the night, alerting any males that may be around.

Territory

Male cats are known to be more territorial than males, but again it depends on the cat. Males may mark an area they believe is theirs, but some female cats can become aggressive if they feel the male is invading their space, especially if her kittens are involved. 

How To Tell The Sex Of A Cat By Looking At its Genitals

The only way to get a definite answer is to examine their genitalia. Three years ago, I brought home two kittens I thought were both females. I didn’t bother to check at the time because I trusted the person I was adopting them from. That was an irresponsible move on my part as a pet owner.

However; long story short, one was a male and a few months later, I was the proud owner of a new kitty. Thankfully, she gave birth to only one kitty.. Lesson learned. So.. how do you tell the sex of a cat? It’s easy to tell the gender of a cat usually by the time they are eight weeks old.

You will need to pick up the cat and get in a comfortable spot. If it becomes agitated or anxious, you will need to stop and try again later. Some cats don’t enjoy having their tails handled, so try scratching the base of its back where the tail meets. Most cats enjoy having that area scratched and will automatically lift their tail.

Once you see the genitals, you will notice that in a male there will be an anus, scrotum and penis. The scrotum will be visible from its rear, and the anus and urinary tract will be approximately one inch apart or one-half an inch for a kitten.

Basically, when you lift the tail of a male, it should resemble two small dots placed one over the other. A female cat will have an anus and an opening that serves the urinary tract and the vulva. The vulva will have a vertical slit. The distance between this spot and the anus in females is approximately one-half inch apart. 

Final Thought

Even though the best way to tell the gender of a cat is by examining their genitals, there are other ways which may suggest their sex as well. These are not always the best methods if you are looking for one hundred percent accuracy. If you are still unsure or have concerns, it is best to consult with a veterinarian. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

 

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