When I first wanted to get a cat one of the first questions I made myself was: Should I get a male cat or a female cat?
Cats are one of the most popular pets in the United States. According to a recent survey, almost 37% of households in the US have at least one cat. After helping thousands of these cat parents do more and better with their cats, I´ve learned that the question about male vs. female cats is a common one.
Choosing the right cat for you depends on what you want in a pet. It is essential to find a cat that will interact with you how you want it to, as all cats have different personalities. Some people want a cuddly cat that will sit on their lap, while others are okay with a more independent cat that spends most of its time outside.
Cat's personality is mostly influenced by early experiences, during the first 16 weeks. When training a cat is key to socializing them so that they grow to be confident and comfortable around people.
Despite there being a big influence from the early weeks on a cat´s behavior, gender and breed also influence a cat´s personality, behavior, and energy levels.
This guide will help you to tell if your cat is male or female and what are some of the most noted traits of male cats.
How to Tell if a cat is a Male?
Don't you know the gender of your cat? Are you confused about whether your cat is male or not? Identifying the gender of a cat can be tricky, particularly in kittens because cats don't have an exterior penis as other mammals do.
There are a few tips to tell if your cat is male:
Take a Look at their Anatomy
One of the easiest ways to tell if a cat is male or not is by looking at its anatomy. Male cats will have a penis and testicles. While cats' penis it's not always visible, testicles are. In kittens, testicles are palpable underneath the anus, but they are not visible as they have not descended yet. They normally descend into the scrotum by two months of age.
To identify the gender of a kitten that has not yet developed testicles, you can look at the positioning of the urethral opening:
Tell Cats' Gender by Checking the Urethral Opening
Cats' genitalia remains the best way to tell if a cat is male or female.
Underneath the tail, we can observe the anus and the urethral opening. This is the opening where urine passes through and is located just below the penis. If you can't find this opening, it's likely because your cat is female.
Telling a Cat's Gender by Their Nipples
Both male and female Cats usually have 8 nipples, but the number can vary from one individual to the other.
Despite genders having nipples, male ones are harder to find because they lack developed mammary glands.
There's a myth that says that male cats have only 2 nipples but that's not true. The nipples are developed before the sex of the fetus is determined and therefore it's not influenced by it.
Look for Certain Behavioral Traits
Male cats also tend to exhibit certain behaviors that are different from females. For example, males will often spray urine to mark their territory, while females typically don't do this. Males may also be more aggressive than females and are particularly intact male cats are more likely to fight with other male cats.
If you're still unsure about the gender of your cat, your best bet is to consult with a veterinarian. They will be able to help you determine the sex of your cat with certainty.
Male Cat Personality Traits
Male cats can make great pets, but it's important to learn about their behavior before adopting one. This is especially important for male cats, as they can be unpredictable regarding affection and aggression. Knowing some exciting facts and traits can help you better understand your tom cat.
Are Male Cats Independent?
Yes, male cats are often independent creatures. Cats are social animals but not pack animals. They live in groups but they don´t often interact with each other by touch.
The fact that cats are not packed animals does mean they're not affectionate, though. Particularly male cats can form strong bonds with their humans and enjoy spending time with them to a greater extent than female cats do.
Are Male Cats Territorial?
Yes, male cats can be very territorial. Male cats will mark their territory with their pheromones, via urine or scratching. When territory is disputed, aggressive behavior may arise, we talk about it later in this article.
This behavior is often seen in unneutered male cats, but even neutered males may do it to some extent.
If you have multiple cats, you may need to provide more than one litter box to avoid territorial disputes.
Why do Male Cats Mark Territory or Spay?
One of the reasons why male cats mark their territory is to let other cats know they're around. This behavior is often seen even indoors when more than one male cat is present in the household (regardless of the cats being neutered). Marking their territory with urine or scratches lets other cats know they're around and helps them feel more secure in their environment.
Do Male Cats Go Into Heat?
No, male cats do not go into heat. The term "heat," or "estrus," specifically refers to the period in which female mammals are receptive to mating and can become pregnant.
During heat, females often exhibit certain behaviors and physical signs, such as increased vocalization, restlessness, and a raised rear end.
Male cats, on the other hand, do not experience cycles of fertility in the same way females do. However, they do become sexually mature and can exhibit behaviors driven by their hormones, such as territorial marking with urine, roaming in search of females, and increased aggression.
These behaviors are especially noticeable in males who have not been neutered. Neutering (or castration) is the removal of a male cat's testicles, and it typically reduces or eliminates many of these hormone-driven behaviors.
Fertility and Reproduction on Male Cats
Male cats can start reproducing as early as 6 months of age.
If you are planning to breed your male cat, waiting until they're at least a year old is recommended. This is because their bodies are still growing and developing, and they may not be ready to handle the physical demands of reproduction.
Male Cats Spraying
Spraying is a behavior in cats where they release urine on vertical surfaces, such as walls, furniture, or doors. It's different from regular urination, where a cat squats to pee in a litter box or on a horizontal surface. This is mostly a Tom cat behavior, but desexed cats (spayed) can also show this behavior. Hoverer, in spayed cats it's less prevalent.
When spraying, a cat usually stands straight up and might even twitch its tail, releasing a fine stream of urine backward onto the surface.
There are several reasons why cats spray:
- Territorial Marking: Tom cats have a strong territorial instinct. By spraying, they're marking their territory, signaling to other cats that the area is claimed.
- Communication: Spraying is also a way for cats to communicate with each other. The scent in the sprayed urine can tell other cats about the sprayer's age, sex, and health status.
- Stress or Anxiety: Changes in a cat's environment, like moving to a new home, getting a new pet, or even changing the furniture arrangement, can cause stress, leading them to spray. It's a way for them to create a familiar scent in an unfamiliar setting.
- Medical Issues: Sometimes, a cat might spray because of health problems like urinary tract infections. If spraying is accompanied by other symptoms, like blood in the urine, it's important to see a vet.
Spraying can happen anywhere in the home or outside. Cats might spray on furniture, walls, doors, curtains, or other vertical surfaces. Outdoor cats might spray on trees, fences, or the outside walls of buildings.
Cats can start spraying as they approach sexual maturity, which is usually around 6 months of age for many cats. However, it's not strictly limited to this age. Some cats might start a bit earlier or later depending on various factors like breed, health, and environment.
Spraying can be seen in both male and female cats, though it's more common in males that haven't been neutered.
Do Male Cats Hurt Female Cats When Mating?
Male cats don't usually hurt female cats when they're in the heat but they hurt females during mating.
This is because, to trigger ovulation in female cats, a male cat's penis is designed to create irritation on a female cat's vagina walls. As crazy as it sounds, male cats´ penis is equipped with barbs. These barbs are shaped in a way that scratches the vagina walls when pulled out.
Because female cats are hurt particularly at the end of the mating, they end abruptly, with the male often running away and keeping the female cat at a safe distance.
However, the female cat may yowl loudly or try to bite the male cat during mating. This is because the female cat is in heat, and her body undergoes intense hormonal changes. After mating, the female cat will usually calm down and return to normal behavior.
Neutering Your Male Cat
If you're a cat owner, you've probably heard people tell you that you should neuter your male cat. But what does that mean, exactly? Neutering is the process of surgical removal of a male animal's testicles. This procedure makes the animal unable to reproduce.
There are a few reasons why you might want to consider neutering your male cat. For one, it can help reduce aggression. Male cats not neutered are more likely to spray urine around their homes to mark their territory. This behavior can be very off-putting to humans and lead to fighting with other cats.
Neutering can also help your cat live a longer, healthier life. Male cats not neutered are more likely to roam around outside, putting them at risk for accidents or fights with other animals. They're also more likely to contract diseases like feline leukemia.
So, should you neuter your male cat? Ultimately, the decision is up to you. But neutering is worth considering if you're looking for a way to help your cat be happier and healthier.
Other Male Cat Traits
Male cats often have a strong predatory instinct and enjoy playing with toys that resemble prey, such as toy mice or balls.
Male cats also tend to be more active than female cats and may require more exercise.
Male cats are often interested and like to explore their surroundings.
Male cats typically don't show much affection towards humans but can form strong bonds with their owners.
Male cats usually prefer to urinate vertically on a tree or fence. This behavior is known as 'marking' and helps the cat claim territory.
Some male cats may develop a condition called 'stud tail', a tuft of hair growing on the top of their tail. This condition is harmless but can be unsightly.
Male cats often reach sexual maturity at around 6 months, but it's best to wait until they're at least a year old before breeding them.
Male cats typically have a shorter lifespan than female cats and are more prone to certain health conditions, such as feline leukemia and feline AIDS.
Female Cats vs Male Cats
Most people think that male and female cats are the same, but there are quite a few differences between them.
- Male cats tend to be less independent than female cats.
- Male cats are usually more extensive and more robust than females.
- Male cats are typically more active and playful than females.
- Male cats tend to spray to mark their territory.
- Female cats are typically less affectionate than males.
- Female cats are usually smaller than males.
- Female cats tend to be less active and playful than males.
- Females usually don't spray to mark their territory as much.
Learn more about male vs. female cats in this article!
Male cats are beautiful creatures that make great pets. They are affectionate and loving but also have a naughty side. Male cats are also very active and love to play. If you are looking for a lap cat and a loyal companion, then a male cat is probably a better fit for you!