How to Tell Male & Female Kittens Apart

by Louise Lawson, Demand Media
    Knowing the difference between male and female kittens is a fairly straightforward task.

    Knowing the difference between male and female kittens is a fairly straightforward task.

    Raising a litter of kittens is a joyful experience, but knowing which are male and which are female takes a bit of work. Each gender has distinctly different external genitalia, and telling males and females apart gets easier as the kittens grow and mature.

    Items you will need

    • Soft towels

    Step 1

    Wait until the kittens are at least two weeks old before attempting to determine their gender. Before this point, the genitals of males and females look extremely similar.

    Step 2

    Wrap each kitten in a soft towel as it stands on all four feet, leaving the bottom of the towel free. Ask a helper to gently hold the kitten by the torso, with the tail facing you.

    Step 3

    Lift the tail and locate the anal and genital openings. The anus is located directly under the tail, while the genitals are further down between the legs.

    Step 4

    Examine the distance between the two openings. The openings on female kittens are very close together, while male kittens have a wider space to accommodate the testicles.

    Step 5

    Look at the shape of the genital opening. A female kitten’s genitals look like a long slit, while a male kitten’s genitals have a circular opening. Male kittens may also have a small bit of extra skin above the opening, which will become the scrotum when the testicles descend.

    Step 6

    Check the kittens again at six weeks of age. If the kittens are male, you should feel two small, rounded testicles just below the anus.

    Tip

    • Ask your veterinarian for a second opinion during a kitten’s first checkup.

    Warning

    • Don’t apply heavy pressure under the kitten’s tail. It is painful and the kitten may bite or scratch in self-defense.

    About the Author

    Louise Lawson has been a published author and editor for more than 10 years. Lawson specializes in pet and food-related articles, utilizing her 15 years as a sous chef and as a dog breeder, handler and trainer to produce pieces for online and print publications.

    Photo Credits