College of Veterinary Medicine

Pet Health Topics

Determining Gender (Sex) of a Kitten


This information is not meant to be a substitute for veterinary care. Always follow the instructions provided by your veterinarian.

You just brought home a kitten that you intend to name Sam but your roommate tells you that you had better consider the name Samantha instead.

Determining the sex (gender) of a kitten is easy when you know what to look for. 

Lift the kitten's tail. The opening just under the tail is the anus. Below the anus is the genital opening which is round in males and is a vertical slit in females. In kittens of similar size, the distance between the anus and the genital opening is greater in the male than the female.

genital opening of an 8 week old male kitten anus genital opening of an 8 week old female kitten
genital

Male 8 week old kitten
 
Female 8 week old kitten

As the male kitten grows the testicles become more apparent.

The color of the kitten may suggest its gender. Almost all (but not ALL) kittens of calico (black, white and orange) or tortishell (black and orange) color are females. More orange kittens are male than female although the association between color and sex is not as strong as in the calico/tortishell colored kitten.

Washington State University assumes no liability for injury to you or your pet incurred by following these descriptions or procedures.

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Last Edited: Dec 16, 2014 4:24 PM   

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