The pros and cons of male vs. female cats are often talked about subjects that are slightly subjective based on one’s personal experience. Of course, every cat is an individual and will develop a personality impacted by breed, care, and environment.
Bringing a new cat into your life is a big decision. There are many things to consider. After all, pet ownership is a huge privilege and a big responsibility. Adopting a new kitten or bringing home an older cat requires time, emotional, and financial commitment. Along with that, one of the most significant things owners wonder about is whether they should adopt A male or female cat. Though it is hard to say if one is better than the other, there are plenty of pros and cons to each one.
To help owners understand the differences between male and female cats and clear up some of the myths surrounding both sexes, we took a look at both. Learn about male cats versus female cats and the pros and cons of each in this breakdown. Remember that cat owners base their opinions on firsthand experiences and that all cats are unique and develop personalities specific to themselves.
- Male Cats Vs. Female Cats: Pros & Cons
- Differences Between Male & Female Cats
- Male Vs. Female Cat Appearance
- Male Vs. Female Cat Personality
- Male Vs. Female Cat Health
- Male Or Female Cat: Stereotypes
- Factors Of A Cat’s Personality
- Male or Female Cat? What Should I Get?
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Thoughts
Male Cats Vs. Female Cats: Pros & Cons
|Male Pros||Male Cons||Female Pros||Female Cons|
|Friendly||Can be restless||No heat after spaying||Sexually mature faster|
|Playful||Clingy||Independent||Can seem stand-offish|
|Smart||Territorial||Playful||Seems less affectionate|
|Outgoing||Mischievous||Calmer||Risk of developing Pyometra|
|Smart||Spraying||Cuddly||Intact kitties are prone to breast cancer, and uterine infection|
|Develops strong relationships with humans||Prone to urinary tract health issues||Smart||Territorial|
|Relaxed||More likely to develop stud tail||More colorful||Moody|
|No chance of babies or female cat health issues||Less colorful||Less likely to spray||May prefer to play alone|
|Less pricey to neuter||Less accepting of new cats||More accepting of new cats||Can take longer to bond|
|Longer to sexually mature||Less separation anxiety|
|Neutering will calm them down||Live longer|
Differences Between Male & Female Cats
Just like human beings, there are some distinct differences between male and female cats. We break down some of the biggest differences people ask about. These include appearance. temperament, personality, and health. This information is to educate and not as a substitute for a veterinarian’s advice. If you notice odd or concerning behavior in your purr baby, male or female, get in touch with your veterinarian to rule out any hormonal or medical issues.
Male Vs. Female Cat Appearance
Boy cats, also called tomcats, tend to weigh a little more than girls, but there are no big differences in their physical appearance. On average, male kitties weigh between 10 to 15 pounds, though some breeds, including Maine Coons, Ragdolls, Vans, Devon Rexes, and Siberian cats, are larger. Females weigh between 8 and 12 pounds on average. Again, this can vary by breed. Most domestic felines stand between 9 and 10 inches tall, regardless of sex. Females are often shorter, closer to 9 inches than 10. Breed and genetics all play a role in a feline’s physical appearance and size.
Some areas of appearance, like coat color, are impacted by a cat’s sex. For example, Calicos are almost always female. This is because the X chromosome carries the color gene for black and orange. Females have two X genes carrying two color genes. Combining a black-coded X gene and an orange-coded X will create a calico-colored cat. The same thing happens with tortoiseshells or Torbies. There are very slim chances of a male calico or tortoiseshell kitty being born; when they do, they are sterile and very weak.
Males do not carry as many color genes as females and are less colorful than females. Males often have faces that are wider, rounder, and a bit larger than females. The physical differences are slight.
Male Vs. Female Cat Personality
- It is a widespread opinion that male kitties tend to be cuddlier and affectionate, at least with humans, than females. However, this is not necessarily the case. Males are known to be more aggressive than their female counterparts. Males left intact are often far more aggressive and more prone to fight. They can be very territorial, extremely active, like to spray around to mark their territory, and can be aggressive with other pets and humans. Neutering a boy cat can curb some of these more prominent, wilder animal instincts. That being said, many tomcats are prone to spraying, as well as territorial behavior.
- It is often said that male kitties are more playful than females. Again, this is a generalization and not necessarily true of every cat. Lady kitties are quite personable and love to play though they can be more reserved than their masculine counterparts. A girl cat may wait for the right opportunity to initiate play on her own terms, rather than a boy cat who will vehemently try to initiate play. Females can sometimes prefer to play alone or be a little less inclined to rough house.
- Females are often said to be more independent and self-sufficient than tomcats. Again, this is a generalization that there are plenty of highly affectionate, very needy girl cats. However, it does seem that the majority of pet owners would agree that girl cats are slightly more reserved and independent.
- Female felines who are not spayed will enter heat. During their heat cycle, their personalities can change significantly. Kitties in heat will be much louder and more vocal. They may also start to be a little more aggressive and temperamental.
- Veterinarians often recommend the spay and neuter process in part to help prevent felines from becoming pregnant or getting other kitties pregnant. Additionally, spaying and neutering tend to affect a cat’s personality. Those left intact will have more intense, aggressive, energetic, and wild-like behaviors.
- It is often said that masculine felines are more adventurous and likely to escape than females. This is more of a myth or generalization than a reality. In general, felines who have been spayed or neutered are more likely to stay closer to home. Intact felines, regardless of sex, will try to escape to find a suitable mate. Spaying or neutering your cat will help control some of the more aggressive behaviors that are caused by the hormones in intact felines.
- Another widespread belief is that boy kitties are more aggressive and fight more. This may be true for unneutered felines but is not necessarily so for fixed, domestic pets. Girl felines are skilled hunters and will defend themselves if they feel the need. In fact, females are better mousers because they must hunt for themselves and their babies in nature. So, the idea that girl felines do not fight is a big misconception.
- Female kitties are often said to be more accepting of new kitties and other pets coming into the home. They are less likely to confront them and may hang back. It should be noted that female cats are likely to be friendlier to a new girl cat than they are to a new tomcat. In feline populations in the wild, the ladies tend to stick together in a group, whereas males are more solitary. Male felines who are neutered when they are young tend to be less aggressive and act more like females than those that are given this surgery when they are older.
Male Vs. Female Cat Health
- Both male and female felines have specific health concerns. For males, a big one is that they are much more likely to suffer from urinary tract infections and dysfunction. Tomcats are prone to kidney failure, as well as the buildup of crystals in their urine. Because of this, some boy kitties may need to be on special, sometimes even prescription diets, which can be very expensive.
- Males also can develop something called “stud tail,” or feline tail gland hyperplasia. This condition is where the sebaceous glands on the top of the tail are highly overactive. This causes them to produce an oily, almost waxy excretion, develop painful lesions, and result in hair loss. The excretion can be spread to your furniture and clothing. Your cat can develop painful sores. Though this most often affects intact males, it can occur in neutered tomcats and rarely in females. This same condition can occur on the chin, where some of the same sebaceous glands are located.
- Female felines can develop sex-specific conditions, including mammary cancer, endometriosis, and uterine cysts. The ovaries, uterus, and entire reproductive system are taken out when a female cat is spayed. Once this happens, they will no longer produce estrogen or experience heat. Lady kitties who are spayed and start to experience symptoms of heat may have ovarian remnants left behind. These can still produce estrogen. This can occur at any time, even years after the spay procedure. Your girl cat may become more vocal, restless, highly affectionate, aggressive, and try to get outside. This condition is generally treated surgically, in which the ovarian tissue is removed.
- If this condition is not treated, female felines will be predisposed to developing pyometra, mammary gland tumors, and ovarian tumors. Pyometra is an infection of the uterus. This can sometimes affect the uterine stump, which is a small part of the uterus left behind. In felines with a functioning ovarian remnant, this increases their risk of developing infections.
- Tomcats can take a little longer to mature sexually than females. Males reach sexual maturity between 9 and 12 months old, and the ladies mature earlier, between 7 and 12 months. Females tend to live longer than males, though this is more dependent on overall health, exercise, and nutrition.
Male Or Female Cat: Stereotypes
Some definite stereotypes exist surrounding male and female kitties. Tomcats are often portrayed as extremely high energy, naughty, prone to escaping, yet highly affectionate animals. Female kitties have been described as unfriendly, uninterested in humans, and somewhat territorial. In some cases, especially when discussing intact felines that have not been spayed or neutered, unregulated hormones may cause some of these behaviors. However, none of these stereotypes is 100% true. Most are more myths, speculation, and the sharing of individual experiences and antidotes than something that has been studied and proven.
It is important not to judge a cat before you meet them. Just because a kitten is male does not mean he will have a destructive, aggressive nature. Nor is a girl kitten going always to be standoffish, unfriendly, or have nothing to do with people. Just like humans, kitties develop unique personalities. There is no real way to know exactly what a cat’s personality is or will be like until you meet them and spend time with them.
Growing kittens will pass through phases in which their behavior and interactions with humans and other animals will change. Older felines may be more set in their ways, which can come across as being reserved or standoffish. Additionally, it can be extremely hard to train an older cat to do new things or for them to feel comfortable when they are put in a new home or situation. Whether a purr baby is a boy or girl is less of a factor than the specific life situation a kitty has.
Factors Of A Cat’s Personality
Whether a kitty is a male or a female has some impact on their personality and behavior development. However, it is not the only thing, nor the most influential. Several other factors will impact a cat’s personality, how they develop, and how friendly they are with humans and other animals.
Breed & Genetics
Breeding and genetics are one of the most significant factors in a cat’s behavior and personality. For one thing, purebred felines are more predictable personality-wise because owners can look at different behavior characteristics of the parent breeds. For mixed breeds, there is a little more unpredictability. Certain breeds are more aggressive than others, like the Siamese, Sphynx, and Bombay, as well as those known for being more independent. A kitten’s breed and specific genetic makeup will impact personality and how interactive and affectionate they are with humans and other felines.
Where a cat came from and why they have come into a home will also impact the development of their personality. Older kitties adopted from the street or a shelter may be standoffish, cautious, and less trusting. On the other hand, small kittens are often more friendly as they will not have gone through the same experience.
Animals who have been well-cared for in their previous homes will be more likely to adjust well and develop bonds with new people. Those who have been through more traumatic experiences may seem antisocial and can also develop separation anxiety. Some kitties will need more time to adjust and develop close bonds in their new home before their true personality starts to shine through. A cat’s specific origin, where they came from, and why they are coming into a new home also plays a role in personality and behavior.
The environment a cat lives in, just like humans, impacts personality and behavior. A cat that is left alone all the time may be more reserved. In contrast, animals in busy households with other animals and people around all the time may be more excitable, affectionate, and assertive.
Felines need consistency and regularity in their schedules. Kitties who live in chaotic households may have more unpredictable behavior. When major changes are made to a cat’s schedule or environment, there may be some changes in behavior, and your pet may start acting up. Others will become withdrawn. A purr baby’s direct environment has an immediate influence and effect on how they behave and feel.
Keeping your cat’s environment as soothing and comfortable as possible, as well as keeping them in a regular routine is immensely helpful. When felines feel that their safety, comfort level, or territory has been disrupted, their behavior will change. A kitty who was normally very friendly may suddenly be standoffish or even seem aggressive. Sudden behavior changes are often a reaction to something in the environment that makes them uncomfortable. These can also occur due to an underlying medical or hormonal issue. If your purr baby’s behavior changes drastically and does not seem to improve, it may be a good idea to call your vet for some advice.
How well a purr baby is cared for will also impact personality. Kitties who feel safe, are getting high-quality nutrition, regular trips to the vet, plenty of exercise, and lots of positive attention are likely to have happier, friendlier dispositions. Those that feel lonely, neglected, hungry, or unsafe will develop behavior and personality characteristics because of that. As pet owners, it is our responsibility to give our pets the best care we can. This also means that we need to get to know them individually and not make decisions based on generalizations about behavior or things like whether a feline is male or female.
Male or Female Cat? What Should I Get?
There is no real answer to this question because circumstances and preferences are different for everyone. Whether or not you should get a boy or girl-purr baby depends on your preference. Knowing that lady cats tend to be more accepting of new animals is something to consider. If you do not have any other purr babies, you will not need to worry about the impact a new kitten will have. If you already have other felines in the home, you may want to consider bringing home a girl kitten, as they are often accepted more quickly than boy kittens. Tomcats have a harder time accepting new pets, so keep this in mind. Because males tend to have some territorial behaviors, bringing in another tomcat, especially an intact kitten, may trigger some unruly behavior in your older pet.
The answer to whether one should get a male or female kitty or whether one is better than the other is very subjective. It depends specifically on an owner’s unique living situation and the specific animal they adopt. All kittens will need to be taught proper behavior, socialized, and introduced slowly and carefully into a new home. Adopting an older kitty, especially when you have other felines in the home, can be challenging. This process can take weeks or even months for an older kitty in a new home to feel completely safe and comfortable. So, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question.
Both felines make wonderful, loyal, long-lasting companions. How a pet is taken care of, interacted with, and treated significantly impacts their personality and can be more of an influence than whether a purr baby is a boy or girl. We have experience with both male and female purr babies and know that no two felines, regardless of breed or sex, are ever the same.
Just like humans, expecting a feline to behave a specific way because they are a boy or a girl is a huge misconception. There are pros and cons to both; hopefully, we have helped you understand the differences and similarities between the two better.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are male cats more aggressive?
Unneutered male felines are known to be more aggressive. Additionally, some breeds are naturally more aggressive. However, once a tomcat is neutered, he is generally not overly aggressive or significantly more aggressive than a female.
Why are female cats not as friendly?
This is a huge misconception. Girl cats are friendly and can be quite snuggly companions. They often are more accepting of new kittens and less aggressive towards other animals in the home. Some females are more reserved and hesitant to warm up to new people but are quite affectionate with their special people.
Do male cats like kittens?
Tomcats do like new kittens, though girl cats, on average, tend to be more accepting. Introducing a new kitten is an extremely sensitive process and should be handled carefully. An established older cat should not feel displaced by the kitten. Regardless of sex, bringing home a new kitten will cause some changes in your purr baby’s behavior and can even cause depression. The way that the two felines are introduced sets the stage for how well they will tolerate and get along.
There are a lot of factors to consider when adopting a new kitten. Age, breed, home situation, and sex of the kitten are all things potential owners consider. There are some subtle physical differences between girls and boys, as well as some distinct personality differences. Keep in mind that the information we have shared is a general guideline. Every purr baby is an individual and will develop a personality of their own.
There are a lot of stereotypes about male and female feline behavior, and not all are true. People tend to base their opinions on previous experience, which can cause generalizations about behavior. Hopefully, our breakdown of male and female cats and the pros and cons of each will help you better understand your purr baby, as well as the differences between them. More importantly, each kitty will develop a personality, habits, and bond unique to themselves and their situations. There are many other factors besides being male or female to consider. All cats, when given proper care, attention, love, and good nutrition, will develop bonds and become unforgettable members of the family.