Battle of the Sexes: Male vs. Female Cats

by Anne B. Robinson
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As the saying goes: “Dogs have owners; cats have staff.” So, if you’re looking to adopt a fluffy feline companion, remember that it’ll be the one hiring you. But would a boy or a girl kitty make your serving job easier? To find out the answer, you’ll have to look at some of the differences between male vs. female cats.

As it happens, you might already have a preference for either tomcats or tabbies. While the final decision is entirely up to you, you should still find out more about each gender. The truth is, they’ll both do their best to win you over, each with their own weapons. So, get ready because the ultimate battle of the sexes begins.

Male vs. Female Cats: What Are the Differences?

To select a purr-fect kitty boss, you’ll need to consider some of the distractions between male vs. female cats. Most cat owners would tell you that the natures of these two are poles apart.

As it goes, the differences between tomcats and tabbies seem to be both physical and behavioral. Therefore, you might want to take a look at each distinction separately.

Male vs. Female Cats: Physical Differences

Unlike lions, domestic cats don’t exhibit such an evident sexual dimorphism. In other words, lions are the only cat species whose characteristics differ so drastically based on gender.

So, even at first glance, you can recognize a lioness by the lack of a mane. On the other hand, your wanna-be lions and lionesses don’t look that much different from each other.

Still, some physical characteristics do set them apart. Because of this, cat people can usually guess the gender of a cat even from afar. So, to be able to do this too, take a look at some of the key physical differences between boy and girl cats. These can ultimately help you better understand the behavioral distinctions between cat genders. 

Organs

organs

Naturally, the most evident physical difference between tomcats and tabbies is their genitalia. However, if you’re adopting a very young kitten, even that might not be so easy to spot. This difference becomes more visible only after 6 or 8 weeks of age. So, if you aren’t sure about your kitten’s gender, you’d better wait or ask a vet.

As it goes, different reproductive organs in male and female cats determine their overall looks. In other words, all of the following physical differences can be traced back to this original one.  

Also, the difference in reproductive organs later influences a cat’s behavior — but that’s exactly why you’re here. However, you’ll see that having your cat spayed or neutered decreases behavioral differences.

Build

build

Another quite visible physical distinction between tomcats and tabbies is their overall size and weight. More often than not, a male cat will be bigger and more muscular than a girl. Also, the neck of a tomcat is often thicker and stronger than that of a tabby. Plus, a male cat’s head is often visibly larger and its cheeks chubbier.

Still, there seems to be a perfectly good explanation for this distinction. Male cats need to be stronger because they’re the ones fighting over girls and territory all the time. So, an average size of a boy cat will be about 10 inches as compared to the 9 inches of a girl (tails excluded). Also, an average male cat weighs about 11 to 15 pounds, while the weight of females ranges from 8 to 12 pounds.

Color

color

Believe it or not, a cat’s fur color is the result of a mix of two colors: red and black. Naturally, you won’t be able to see so many black cats (red ones at all). That’s because these two dominant colors mutate to give your kitty a brown, blue, or even cinnamon furry coat. But did you know that you can determine your cat’s gender by its color?

For example, about 81 percent of orange cats will be male. As it goes, if a male cat carries an orange gene in either of its chromosomes, its fur will be orange, whereas a female has to carry the same gene in both chromosomes.

Also, most calico (three-colored) cats are female, and their two X chromosomes are to “blame.” Still, don’t take this for granted as a cat’s color depends on its breed as well.

Male vs. Female Cats: Behavioral Differences

Thanks to the physical differences between them, tomcats and tabbies can be worlds away, just like humans. Male and female cats’ dissimilar organs, size, and color have affected their behavior throughout their evolution.

Even today, when most domestic cats don’t have to fight over food or territory, these behavioral differences persist. Still, a cat’s personality won’t only depend on its gender but will be a result of its genetics and upbringing.

Nevertheless, any cat parent would tell you that boys’ and girls’ nature isn’t the same. So, before you decide to adopt a kitten, you might want to know what kind of behavior to expect. With that in mind, take a closer look at male and female cats’ behavioral distinctions below.

Attitude

attitude

Probably one of the biggest differences in character will be the girls’ overall bossy attitude toward you. Just like women, female cats tend to be more demanding. Plus, they’ll voice all their wishes more often, so you’ll get a lot of “meows.” But if your female cat is spayed, chances are she will quiet down.

On the other hand, boys have more laid-back personalities. As opposed to girls, their overall attitude is more relaxed and less demanding. So, they won’t be seeking your attention all the time. Still, bear in mind that your cat’s unique character also comes into play here. 

Affection

affection

Another thing that seems to differentiate girls from boy cats is their somewhat colder nature. Female kitties tend to be less affectionate toward humans. They’re demanding only in terms of wanting food — your hugs and kisses, not so much. So, with a female cat, you’re more likely to cross a boundary and get bitten or scratched in return.

As it goes, male cats are much more loving toward humans. They’ll gladly come to you for cuddles and let you pet them. However, this goes only for neutered tomcats. Otherwise, they’re more likely to be aggressive, especially toward other cats. On the other hand, unspayed females seem to be more affectionate.

Wandering Off

wandering off

Yet another thing that sets them apart is that unneutered male cats tend to wander off more. So, if you let your pets outside, your boy cat is more likely to go looking for partners. Naturally, this is due to the unneutered male cats’ greater sex drive. Ultimately, this can lead to tomcats being more aggressive toward other male cats.

While your tomcat might be coming home all scratched, your tabby will spend more time at home, safe. However, an unspayed female cat will seek a partner too, but their search would be less violent.

The bottom line is, this distinction mostly depends on whether or not you’ve had your pet neutered/spayed. Plus, if you plan on keeping your cat inside, you don’t have to worry about this.

So, now that you’ve learned all about their unique characters, should you opt for a boy or a girl cat?

Which Gender Is Right for You?

Naturally, the choice between a male or a female kitty should be the result of your personal preference. As a cat lover, you may have already befriended many tomcats and tabbies. So, do these generalizations seem to work in practice? In case you have a different experience with cats, go with your gut. 

Also, even though a theory proves right in most cases, it may not apply to your cat. As you already know, each cat has a unique personality, just like each human. So, it would be a mistake to ascribe all its traits to its male or female gender. Ultimately, your cat’s character will mostly depend on the way you treat it.

Male vs. Female Cats: FAQs

How Do You Tell the Sex of a Kitten?

call a vet

If you’re adopting a very young kitten, its reproductive organs might not still be visible. As a result, it might be more difficult to determine the kitty’s gender right away. Male kittens often get mistaken for females mainly because most people tend to look for visible organs first. So, unless you’d rather call a vet, here’s how to tell your kitten’s gender.

First, you’ll need to lift its tail. You’ll see two openings, the anus just under the tail and the genital opening below it. The latter will be round in boys and more like a vertical slit in girls. Also, the distance between the two openings will be greater in males.

What Is the Best Cat Gender Combination?

cat gender combination

In case you’re considering getting your new kitty a companion, you might be feeling even more confused. Even selecting one perfect kitty has been overwhelming. Still, your new friend would probably like a friend of their own kind. So, would it be better to have two girls, two boys, or a boy and a girl?

As you already know, male cats seem more accepting of other cats, so having at least one male seems reasonable. However, if they’re unneutered, your boys will probably be fighting over girls. On the other hand, females will tend to act like princesses. They’ll often get jealous of other equally sassy kitties, which may present a problem.

Naturally, a boy and a girl would make a perfect combination. But remember to get them spayed/neutered in time. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a lot more kitties sooner than you might expect. Still, as a rule of thumb, one cat always leads to another. 

Wrapping Up

If you’re searching for the best feline companion, you might be wondering which gender to opt for. Therefore, it might seem reasonable to first consider the differences between male vs. female cats.

These distinctions are most evident physically. Thus, apart from having different reproductive organs, male cats are often larger than females. You can also sometimes guess a cat’s gender based on its color. So, most calico cats will be female, while most orange ones will turn out to be male.

These physical differences also affect their behavior. Therefore, it seems that neutered male cats are often more friendly, affectionate, and laid-back. On the other hand, spayed female cats tend to be colder and bossier. Still, their behavior depends a lot on how you treat them, so remember to treat yours right.

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