Differences Between Male and Female Cats

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You know the biological differences between male and female cats, but you may wonder if one sex is better than the other when it comes to picking a new furry friend to join your family. Exploring the contrasts between strutting toms and purring queens may help you choose a cat that better fits your lifestyle and personality. So, should you get a male or a female cat? Let's first explore the difference between male and female cats.

Which Sex Is Better Behaved?

Behavioural differences between male and female cats are most obvious in cats that are not neutered or spayed, since the behavioural differences are usually related to the cat's hormones. For example, male cats may become more aggressive, spray urine and try to escape the house when they are in their sexually mature stage. However, female cats in heat can become more affectionate, tend to rub against almost everything, and can also become more vocal. Although the majority of intact (non-neutered or spayed) cats have very distinctive behaviours, there is no consensus that all cats of either sex act a certain way. Some female cats spray while in heat, while some male cats have been known to be more affectionate. Most adoption centres strongly encourage pet parents to spay and neuter their cats. Kittens are definitely cute but you should discuss if spaying or neutering is right for your pet before you end up with a new litter of kittens.  

People often assume certain personality traits in cats based on things like breed or coat colour, as found in a survey by the University of California Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. People characterised orange cats as more friendly, for example, and black or white cats were considered more antisocial. However, most cat owners and vets will tell you that choosing a cat based on sex or colour won't guarantee you will get a cuddly kitty or an independent cat. The environment a cat is raised in and the personality of the pet parent can often influence behaviour more than genetics will.

Maine coon playing with orange cat toy on ground.

A+ for Appearance

Cat breeds are often harder to distinguish than dog breeds. Your future cat could have a mix of traits, a distinctive colour, and a long or short coat. Like most mammals, male cats of any breed tend to be a little larger in size than their female counterparts. However, in general terms, both male and female cats tend to weigh between 2.5-5.5 kilograms and stand about 20 to 25 cm high. The type of food you feed your cat, the amount of exercise they get, and their overall health will have a great effect on their appearance.

Choosing a cat solely on appearance isn't ideal. If you are looking to bring a new cat into your home, visit an adoption centre such as the Blue Cross that has a wide variety of cat ages, breeds and personalities. Many centres offer a web page with pictures of cats you can peruse before visiting, and shelter staff can give you insight into the cat's background. When meeting a cat for the first time, sit near the cat and wait for him or her to come to you. Let the cat rub and bump against you for a little before making contact. And always allow yourself some time with several different cats before making a final decision.

Should I Get a Male or Female Cat?

The truth is that the sex of the cat really doesn't matter when it comes to choosing the purrfect pet for you. Although there are some behavioural differences between male and female cats as they grow from kittens to adults, a cat's genetics and environment play a bigger role in how well the two of you will bond. So take the time to meet a few cats and pick the one that you think will be your best friend. Male and female cat differences should only play a small role in choosing a cat.

Contributor Bio

Chrissie Klinger

Chrissie Klinger

Chrissie Klinger is a pet parent that enjoys sharing her home with her furkids, two of her own children and her husband. Chrissie enjoys spending time with all her family members when she is not teaching, writing or blogging. She strives to write articles that help pet owners live a more active and meaningful life with their pets.

Reviewed by Dr. Hein Meyer, DVM, PhD, Dipl-ECVIM-CA

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