How to Tell Male & Female Kittens Apart

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.

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