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How to Tell the Sex of a Cat

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Kittens Jaspurr and Joey Were Neutered at Six Months

Neutered Kittens Jaspurr and Joey

Photo Credit: © Franny Syufy

One of the most frequently asked questions is "How can I tell the sex of a cat?"

In whole cats, the testicles are readily evident in male cats, as well as a broadened jowl. However, male neutered cats' testicles may not be so easily seen.

Punctuation Marks are a Clue to Cats' Sex

As a rule of thumb, breeders often us punctuation marks to identify the sex of younger cats or neutered cats:
  • Female Cats - Exclamation Point
    If you look at a female cat's genital area, it will look like an upside down exclamation point (!)
  • , with the long slit of the vaginal area below the anus.
  • Male Cats - Colon
    The male cat has a narrower space between the anus and the penis, with the testicles in the middle.
Spayed female cats will still show the upside down "!", but if you adopted her as an adult, xrays may be needed to confirm she has been spayed. Most neutered male cats will still show the vestigial remnants of a testicle sac, and the anus and penis will still be relatively close together.

Watch a Video of a Vet Demonstrating the Difference

About.com has a great video team which produces hundreds of videos for a multitude of topics. Please watch this video of a veterinarian, using live cats to show the sex difference between male and female cats.

Remember to Spay or Neuter

Once you have determined the sex of your cat, don't forget to spay or neuter it - an essential veterinary procedure for a number of reasons.

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