Differences Between Male and Female Cats

Are you looking to get a cat? Not sure which sex to get? Getting a new cat is exciting, and deciding which feline friend to get is tough. Among the different cat breeds, different colors, hair and tail lengths, there has always been a great debate about what sex of kitten to adopt. Are you looking for a new feline furball? Should you get a female or male cat? Does it matter? And what are the behavioral and biological differences between male and female cats? Let’s find out.

In this article, you’ll learn the differences between male and female cats, behavior differences, and which sex is better.

A grey kitten with blue eyes on their back playfully.  Staring out seemingly asking what are the differences between male and female cats
Do you know the differences between male and female cats?

Table of Contents

What are the differences between a female and male cat?

The biggest differences are physical and their behavior. Just like us humans, they have different reproductive organs. Male cats are larger. They also engage more in territorial behaviors such as urine marking. Female cats tend to be of smaller stature. Their mothering instincts make them like other cats over humans. Females in heat can exhibit maternal instincts even after being spayed. Contrary to popular belief, males are often considered to be more affectionate than females, and females are often more aggressive towards humans and other cats. Yes, cats do have their own individual personality, what we’re discussing here are the key differences to understand beyond the physical differences of the sexes.

Behavioral differences of intact male and female cats

Most of the key differences in male and female cat behaviors depend on their gender difference. They are different sexes, after all. Therefore, most differences among fully intact cats are:

  • Unneutered males tend to be restless, wander around, engage in urine spraying, exhibit dominant behavior, and are more aggressive towards other cats and in some cases, people as well.
  • Intact female cats go into heat. This can cause problematic behavior due to their hormone levels. This is expressed as excessive vocalization, restlessness, rolling on the floor, and intrusive attention-seeking. If she has kittens, she can be extremely protective and display aggressive behaviors.

What happens when you spay or neuter a cat?

A grey and white/tan cat seeming to ask "What are behavioral differences between male and female cats?"
Spay and neutering will help us be friendlier, healthier, and happier

If you are going to spay or neuter your cat, the notable differences mentioned above diminish. Many pet parents we see in our clinic often say that their neutered male cats tend to be friendlier and more attached to them. They also often say that females remain more independent.

But is it true? There isn’t any real proof of the above statement. Quite the contrary, a study that examined cat personality found no link between the cat’s gender and their friendliness, independence, timidness, and other personality traits.

One thing is proven is that male cats do become a lot friendlier after neutering. This is likely because the behavioral changes are more prominent in male cats when compared to females.

Despite the personality differences due to reduce hormones from spaying or neutering, the health benefits are a huge plus. Please work with your veterinarian to determine the correct months of age for your cat to spay or neuter them. You’ll both be happier.

Cats behavior depends on a lot more than their sex

male and a female kitten
Playing with them is a great way to find differences between male and female cats. Photo by Bonzami Emmanuelle.

Even if male cats were friendlier in general, that shouldn’t dictate your choice if you get one cat. If you are adopting 100 cats, you can talk about statistics. However, if you select one, or two cats, their individuality is more important than the generalized, statistical behavior of cats.

Who cares that specific gender of cats is thought to be friendlier than the other? Statistics are on average, and you are getting nothing but an average cat, are you?

We’ve interacted with hundreds of cats, and we’ve talked to people who’ve interacted with even more. None of us have ever met two identical cats, not in terms of appearance, and definitely not in terms of behavior.

  • There are female cats who are friendly, shy, outgoing, lazy, active, aggressive, calm, loud, and aloof.
  • There are male cats who are friendly, shy, outgoing, lazy, active, aggressive, calm, loud, and aloof.

A cat’s social behavior depends on many things: the breed of the cat, their life experiences, the environment, the age when the kitten left his mother, the number of kittens born in the same litter and several more. Also, its experience and interactions with your family throughout his or her whole life matter.

That is, if you’re choosing a fearful kitten, it doesn’t matter if it’s a boy or a girl. If you select a playful kitten, its sex does not matter either. Besides, you still can (to an extent), alter your cat’s personality through its experiences, both positive and negative.

There isn’t much truth to the thought that people and cats don’t change. Things we experience change us every day, and the same is valid for cats. Especially kittens. So when you are looking at different cats and kittens to bring home, observe their behavior and how they interact with you and other animals. Play with them to see if they are curious, fearful, or playful.

Which Sex Is Right for You?

So, which sex of cat is right for you? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The best way to decide we’ve found, is to consider your own lifestyle and preferences. If you are looking for a playful and active cat, a male cat may be a good choice for you. If you are looking for an independent and low-maintenance cat, a female cat may be a better fit.

Ultimately, the best way to choose a cat is to meet a few different cats of both sexes and see which one you click with best. With so many wonderful feline, four legged fur babies available, you’re sure to find the perfect one for you. A great place to do this is your local animal shelter. Your cost to adopt a cat at your local shelter runs between $50 and $175.

Personality is far more important than sex. Of course, if you think that spaying or neutering a cat is a poor idea, then you need to know that there are substantial differences between male and female cats. Males wander, fight, and mark more than female cats do. Females, on the other hand, tend to be loud. REALLY LOUD! Yep, still talking about cats. There are also many health concerns if you don’t spay and neuter, so please talk to your veterinarian.

Summary

Here is a table summarizing the physical and behavioral differences between male and female cats:

CharacteristicMale CatsFemale Cats
SizeLargerSmaller
PlayfulnessMore playfulLess playful
Activity levelMore activeLess active
TerritorialityMore territorialLess territorial
SprayingMore likely to spray urineLess likely to spray urine
IndependenceLess independentMore independent
DemandingnessMore demanding of attentionLess demanding of attention

You’ve learned the differences between male and female cats, behavior differences, and which sex is better. This will go a long way towards making an informed decision when you choose your pet cat. And keeping your Pet Happy is what we all want.

FAQ

Question: What are the differences between a female and male cat?

Answer: The biggest differences are physical and behavioral. Male cats are larger and engage more in territorial behaviors like urine marking. Female cats tend to be smaller and have stronger mothering instincts.

Question: What are the behavioral differences of intact male and female cats?

Answer: Unneutered male cats tend to be restless, engage in urine spraying, exhibit dominant behavior, and can be aggressive. Intact female cats go into heat, displaying excessive vocalization, restlessness, and intrusive attention-seeking.

Question: What happens when you spay or neuter a cat?

Answer: Spaying or neutering a cat can reduce the notable differences mentioned above. Neutered male cats tend to be friendlier and more attached to their owners, while females may remain more independent. However, there is no real proof of gender influencing cat personality.

Question: Does a cat’s behavior depend solely on its sex?

Answer: No. A cat’s behavior depends on various factors, including breed, life experiences, environment, and interactions with humans. Personality is more important than sex, and individuality matters when choosing a cat.

Question: Which sex of cat is right for me?

Answer: Choose based on your own lifestyle and preferences. If you want a playful and active cat, a male may be a good choice. If you prefer an independent and low-maintenance cat, a female may be a better fit. Meeting and interacting with different cats is the best way to decide.

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