If you are looking to adopt a cat, one of the first things you may be asking yourself is male vs female cats, wondering which one will fit your personality best is truly a good thing to question beforehand.
Besides the obvious difference of gender, there are certainly a few reasons why you would want one over the other, and that is just dependent on what you are looking for in your new feline companion.
There are both physical and behavioral differences between male and female cats. Males are larger and have a tendency to urine mark, but are usually more affectionate than females, who are smaller and sassier in general.
There are a few other physical differences, such as tendencies towards health issues and their life span.
Differences in personality as a whole are also common and as a veterinary technician, I can certainly confirm that there are patterns to the way that both genders behave.
In this article, I will explore the differences between male and female cats as well as the pros and cons for each gender.
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Male Cats VS Female Cats Pros And Cons
When I think about cats, which I am definitely a cat person more than dog (no offense doggos), I don’t feel like you can go wrong with either gender. Honestly, male and female cats are great, but I suppose there are certainly pros and cons to both.
|Female Cat||Male Cat|
|Pros||– Singular bonds – Natural hunters – Tough ladies||– More affectionate – Form bonds w/ other cats – More playful|
|Cons||– Not as affectionate – Harder to bond with – Fight w/ other cats||– Urine marking/spraying – Fight w/ other intact males – Territorial|
Male VS Female Cats – Basic Cat Personality Differences
As a whole, cats are still going to act similarly, regardless of their gender. But personalities will obviously differ with every single cat. I can tell you the differences between all three of mine, to a T.
I can tell you which one of them got into and spread the catnip everywhere, and which one is starting a fight with the others in the house. Everyone is different, but sometimes the way that they act can almost be explained depending on whether they are a boy or a girl.
Females like to get to know you and a situation first. While some boys are going to be the same way, it seems that most females are harder to earn the trust of upon first meeting them.
Most of the time, males are willing to rub against you and make friends quickly, although some are spicy and irritable (like my oldest male).
He’s a strange one who will act like he wants to be nice, then will grab your hand after you pet him for a second. I don’t know why, that’s just what he does. All of my friends and family know his tricks at this point.
Don’t get me wrong, females can be just as sweet as most boys, but it just takes some time for them to warm up to you before showing you their soft side.
Are Male Or Female Cats More Affectionate?
It’s pretty easy to agree, most veterinarians and long time cat fosters will tell you that male cats are the sweetest and definitely prefer attention and affection more than females.
Some surveys actually pinpoint orange male cats as the nicest boys in the domestic feline kingdom. And female calico or tortoiseshell cats to be the most spicy.
Now, with that said, a lot of this depends on whether or not the male cat is also neutered. Or at least when he was neutered.
If a male is allowed to reach sexual maturity, they will already have those personality traits and physical characteristics that you see in an intact male.
Usually, they are generally bigger in stature, and will have a larger and rounder head with large and pronounced cheeks.
Males that have reached sexual maturity will also be more territorial and it is possible that they will still urinate inappropriately around your house.
If you’re lucky, they won’t spray after being neutered but it’s not guaranteed. Oh and those big cheeks and head are there to stay too! If you want to make best friends with a male cat, just try giving those big and lovable cheeks a nice scratch!
Female cats by default seem to be a little more leery and standoffish. It is more common to find them being less social than male cats, but is definitely not 100% accurate.
I have met plenty of super sweet and social female cats throughout my years in clinics. It just depends on the kitty.
So, I suppose in general, your male cats are going to be the more outgoing and affectionate felines, but it isn’t guaranteed.
Male VS Female Cats – Physical Differences
There can be some obvious physical differences between male and female cats, and once you realize them it is quite easy to spot!
As mentioned before, male cats are obviously larger in frame and height than the ladies, but they also have bigger heads and fuller cheeks.
Females can also be larger, but it is rare. I feel like I can take a quick look at an adult cat and tell you if they are a male or female before doing much investigating. Sometimes I’m wrong, but the characteristics are usually easy to distinguish.
Coat color can also play a role in what gender a cat is most likely going to be.
For instance, if you see a ginger or orange cat, there is a 75% chance that it will be a male. Then, over 99% of the time a calico or tortie coated cat is going to be a female. There is a 0.1% chance that one will be a male, and they are almost always sterile.
Is It Better To Have Two Cats Of The Same Gender?
In most households, owners that have both genders of cats will say that the males and females get along well.
However, males tended to fight with each other more and the same went for the females. Now, that’s clearly not the same and is mainly dependent on the cat’s personality and territory in the home.
Some cats simply hate other cats. Then there are some that are super friendly and don’t care about sharing a space. I have seen where a pair of cats have gotten along for years and suddenly started fighting with each other.
This can especially happen if a new cat is introduced and territories have to be reestablished. Sometimes, cats are raised together since kittens and will still have little boxing matches and fur will fly. Make sure it’s not happening constantly and that one cat isn’t being bullied.
Basically, you can’t go wrong with having a male and female cat in your home. As long as everyone is spayed and neutered, that is.
If you are having issues with cats in your home not getting along, or there are unwanted urinary problems, then purchasing a Feliway diffuser can help a lot. The pheromone spray helps to calm the environment and aid in behavioral dilemmas.
I wouldn’t support this product if I hadn’t seen it work in clinic environments. I’ve seen it take a normally mean cat and turn them into something that was manageable and somewhat pleasant.
My best friend’s cat was terrified the first time they moved and wouldn’t come out from under their bed for a week. After 8 hours of a Feliway diffuser being plugged in she was out and exploring the house. It’s not a very expensive investment, so if you’re having issues in your house, giving it a shot really can’t hurt.
Are Male Or Female Cats Better Indoors?
Cats that prefer the indoors or outdoors don’t really depend on their gender. Most of the time, it is about what they have experienced in their lives.
I always tell owners, if you start letting your cat outside, that cat will always want to go outside afterward and you’ll have to watch for them trying to dart past your legs.
If they have a negative experience, like a fight with another cat or animal or a fall from a tree, they may prefer to stay inside after that.
I can’t say that one gender enjoys the outdoors more than the other. I think most cats love the outdoors and if you have one that is always trying to escape, maybe getting them a kitty tent or letting them on the back porch will satiate their desire to be free. Especially if you’re afraid of them getting hurt.
Now, I will admit, I have found that female cats are particularly skilled at hunting. Everytime I have found a dead mouse in the morning I can always tell you it was my one female that did it. She has always been my little huntress and keeps pests away.
-My two males couldn’t care less. – One is super lazy and the other is completely oblivious.
Are Male Or Female Cats Better With Dogs?
There is very little scientific data that dives into which cat gender of cats are better with dogs.
Usually, in most situations, animals of the opposite sex are going to get along better than those that are the same gender. I believe in my own experience, that this applies to cats getting along with dogs as well.
Most of the time, cat and dog friends are the opposite sex.
In my household, my oldest male and female cats are very close and the other boy is usually clung to my daughter. They all will ignore our dog most of the time.
Because females tend to be more stand-offish it would be rare that you would find one willing to befriend a dog right away. Males are much quicker to make friends and are usually what I see playing with a dog and wrestling with one on the floor.
However, my husband’s female cat, Gilly, truly likes our dog, Layla, and will even try to groom her, which Layla doesn’t really appreciate. I think it actually creeps her out because my oldest male cat has always beat her up.
Male VS Female Cats Health Issues
Just like all animals, cats are prone to their list of issues. Male and female cats tend to suffer from a few health problems linked directly to their gender.
Male cats are prone to urinary blockages and female cats will often have urinary problems of their own, or mammary tumors.
Cats unfortunately have a lot of health issues that seem to circulate around the urinary tract. Inappropriate urination and other unwanted behaviors regarding pee are the number one reason that cats are surrendered to shelters.
As far as lifespan, gemale cats are almost twice as likely to live longer than males.
Urinary Blockages In Male Cats
Male cats have a very unfortunate tendency to develop tiny crystals or grit in their bladder, eventually this debris will travel into the urethra where they block the canal.
This means they can no longer urinate and it is now an emergency situation where they need to go to the vet as soon as possible.
This is when your vet has to place a urinary catheter under sedation to attempt to clear the debris. If this is successful, the kitty has to stay in the hospital for days on IV fluids and other supportive therapy so they don’t block again right away.
Because, trust me, they will. I’ve seen tons of blocked toms in my 10 years of working and clinics and it is not always a success story. From here on, your cat will have to stay on a prescription diet that helps keep their urinary pH at an ideal level so they cannot form crystals and debris again.
Female Cats And Their Lower Urinary Tract Disease
Our poor female kitties are prone to having issues with urinary tract infections and other behavioral problems that circulate around bladder problems.
Sometimes they have a chronic feline sterile cystitis which is where they always have inflammation and bacteria but not necessarily an infection.
Their discomfort still has to be managed with medications and it can cause them to urinate inappropriately still.
No matter what form of Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD) your cat has, it is surely a frustration for everyone involved.
Staying patient with the cat and your vet will help pay off in the end. Most of the time switching their diet to the same prescription urinary food that a blocked tom would need can help immensely.
Cancer In Felines
Cancer takes no prisoners and doesn’t care about gender or species. Cats are just as prone to cancer as any other animal on earth.
Specifically, our feline friends are unfortunately prone to developing oral tumors, mammary masses and carcinomas. These particular concerns tend to be aggressive and don’t end well unless caught very early on or if your kitty is a candidate for radiation therapy.
Female cats are more susceptible to issues with breast tumors, oral and uterine cancer. Another good reason to spay your kitty.
Thankfully, most cats that you see are not a specific breed like dogs are. Because of this, the likelihood of inbreeding is very rare and usually they have less genetic health predispositions than our canine companions.
Is It Bad Not To Fix A Cat?
I definitely have to do some convincing with owners of dogs to have their pet spayed or neutered, but I feel like it almost never happens in cats.
Most people are aware of the unwanted behaviors that come along with not having your feline fixed. If you’re not sure though, I’ll go into a little detail.
Male cats like to mark their territory, and what does their instinct tell them to do? Pee on it!
That’s right, male cats love to pee on stuff to say “Hey, this is mine!” even if it is your front door or your couch arm. No matter where it happens, the smell is strong and very distinguishable.
I will always be able to tell you the difference between tom cat pee and some other animal urine. Even a neutered cat doesn’t have pee that’s as strong as an unneutered tom’s. YUCK!
Female cats love to get “friendly” when they are in heat. And because felines are induced ovulators, meaning that if an unneutered male is lurking around outside, she can be in heat almost all of the time.
Not just every 6 months like a dog. That’s right! And what does a female cat do when she is in heat? YELL. A LOT. She will yowl and carry on and rub against you non stop. The behavior will seem cute for all of five minutes until it becomes undeniably obnoxious.
Both genders can be particularly feisty and pick fights with you or other animals when they are still intact. This can grow tiresome and old after a while of defending others or at least yourself from your fiery and frustrated feline.
Spaying And Neutering Cats
It is important to spay and neuter our pets, especially cats. Cats are induced ovulators, as described above, which can lead to your cat becoming pregnant several times a year.
That’s a lot of kittens to find homes for, and if you don’t then that’s just more stray and unwanted cats walking on the streets, hungry and cold. It is the owners responsibility to have them spayed or neutered to protect them and keep the stray and feral cat population to a minimum.
What Is Spaying?
A spay is when a veterinarian puts a pet under general anesthesia and removes the ovaries and uterus. The procedure is technically called an ovariohysterectomy, and is very safe and performed daily around the world by veterinarians.
It is best to have a cat spayed between the ages of 4 and 6 months.
We want to prevent the kitten from going into heat as those hormones can still trigger mammary development that can lead to breast cancer down the road. Spaying them when they are very young will also make their recovery quicker, the young ones always bounce back the fastest!
What Is Neutering?
A neuter is where a veterinarian puts a pet under anesthesia and removes the testicles. The procedure is slightly less invasive than a spay because they are not having to go into the animal’s abdomen.
In fact, cat neuters are very quick and can take less than five minutes!
While neutering a cat will prevent less detrimental issues in the future (males cats aren’t really at much risk for breast cancer), it is still something that should be performed to keep spraying and unwanted fighting to a minimum.
Cats Are The Best, No Matter Their Gender
As an avid lover of all things feline, I think that you can’t really go wrong with either gender. Your choice should be based on your personality and what other pets you already have in the home.
Know that sometimes getting a cat and understanding them can be trial and error. But if you are wanting a cuddly and sweet feline, maybe try finding an orange male at the shelter.
If you want a kitty who rewards you with their trust and love, then getting a female would fit you best.
Don’t hesitate to spend some time at the shelter, volunteering and getting to know some of the kitties if you aren’t sure.
Sometimes that one cat that’s been there for years is actually the best one there, and will shower you with affection and appreciation forever. Male or female, a cat will bring a different and unique level of companionship to your household.
Freelance Writers’s Bio:
This article was written by freelance writer Allison Salonko .
My name is Allison and I have been a veterinary technician for 10 years. Writing and art are my passion. When I’m not working in the pet clinic I enjoy spending my time writing, painting or watching movies with my three cats, two kids and husband.