Sexing the Kitty

30 May, 2008

The easiest way to sex a kitten is to compare the litter and the differences will then be obvious.  However,even experienced breeders and vets have been known to get the sex of a kitten wrong, so that George eventually ends up Georgina.

For the male kitten, the bum looks like a colon, with the top dot the anus and the bottom dot the sheath for its penis.  Also, sometimes the bulge of the testicles can be seen.

With female kittens, the bum looks like an upside down exclamation mark, with the top dot the anus and the vertical line the vagina.

Here is a photo of one of my male kitten’s bum.  The kitten is lying on its side, the tail is on the right.  The bulgy bits are just above the lower dot.

Here (photo below) is the female kitten’s bum.  She’s lying on her side as well.  Her tail is on the left.  As you can see, it is altogether more discrete and neat-looking arrangement than the male’s bum.

Another method is to sex using colours.  Red (ginger) is linked to the X chromosone.  Chances are most kittens with some ginger in them tend to be boys.   Most tortoiseshell cats are girls.  However, if both sire and dam carry red, then there is a strong possibility that there are female ginger kittens. 

And this has seemingly proved the case with this year’s litter of 5:  the 2 boys are the classic tabbies, while the 3 girls are a red silver shaded and two red tabbies.



  1. […] Sexing the Kitty May 2008 […]

  2. My friend has just asked me to care for her cat. It is less than 12 months old but more than 6 months. When looking at it’s rear end under the anus is a large horizontal split. It looks totally different to my 4 Queens. Can you please help?

    • Hello Claire,

      I’m sorry but I’m not familiar with this! Do you have a photo you could send? (I will send you my e-mail separately). It sounds like she may have some sort of injury in which case the best person who can give you advice is a vet.

      Best wishes,

  3. My 7 year old has brought home a cat that he said “has been following him” We posted pictures and signs for a lost cat and nothing. She is a great loving cat, very affectionate and most of all very pregnant. I cannot just turn away this poor cat! My son loves her and she has even grown on my husband. She is not a stray. She uses the litter box…follows you when taking a dirty dish to the kitchen…she is not afraid of the vaccuum…and she loves to purr as she follows me through the house. The only delimma I have is that when she has her litter, I dont know how to sex the kittens. I have always had dogs and they are easy to sex when they are born. I heard there is a time that needs to pass before being able to tell the sex of a kitty. Is this true and how can I tell the difference?

    • Hello Tracie,

      Sorry for the delay in replying.

      How kind of you to give mum cat a home. I think she sort of knew that your home would be loving and warm. She doesn’t sound feral at all – I wonder if she was abandoned.

      The kittens will be great fun.

      No, you should be able to sex the kittens shortly after birth. However, it is possible to make mistakes. I suggest you sex them now and a week later, and keep checking on a weekly basis. I have made the mistake of mistaking a girl for a boy and a boy for a girl in one litter. A breeder I know told me that even her vet made a mistake when sexing a litter.

      But basically, follow the photos in the post. To make it easier, hold up two kittens, bums side-by-side. There will be two openings. The top opening is always the anus. The bottom opening can either be a vagina or the sheath for the penis. The girl kitten has more of a slit for the vagina. The boy may have bumps just above the lower opening. You must compare kittens, only then will you see the subtle difference between boy and girl kitten.

      Good luck! Let me know how many girls and boys you have.

      Best wishes,

  4. OMG. my kitten that i thought was a girl is a BOY! I may just die. I’ve been calling a boy kitten Lilly & put a pink collar on him! 😦

    • Hi Lilly’s Mum/Dad,

      Don’t worry. Cats don’t care about that sort of things. Maybe your boy cat was more comfortable expressing his feminine side, in which case you’ve made him very happy!

      I’ve seen really butch Bengal Cats wear pink collars with sparkly diamantes on them. It’s the cattitude that allows them to carry it off.

      You could always say that Lilly is named after the famous English astrologer Lilly (court astrologer to Queen Elizabeth the First) – a very distinguished and intelligent man!

      Best wishes,

  5. i hate to ask but were are u from?

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