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how to tell kitten gender

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hi there. I'm new here. My husband and I have two inside kitties, Mickey and Luke. Our neighbourhood is full of strays (I guess they are strays), and there is a small part of that extended family living on our property. Since we've been here, we've seen a few litters, and I have a family tree in my head. You can follow the link in my signature to "The Outside Cats Family Tree" to get to know everybody.

Two babies were born in early April, who I've named Mason and Dixon (their daddy is their uncle, so it's a joke inbreeding theme - I hope that doesn't upset anyone). The thing is I don't know enough about cats to know if they are boys or girls.

My husband thinks the females are friendlier, which would make Mason (very social and loves to play) a female and Dixon (always hiding and running away) a male. I can't see their "parts" very well, and even with that I'm not sure I'd know a female since I've only had male cats as pets. My current theory is that male cats seem to hold their tails very high, exposing everything you might say, and females hold their tails lower and you can't see anything. That would make Mason male and Dixon female!

If anyone can tell me one or more reliable ways to know, that would be great. I am operating based on the assumption that at least one of these are boys, and if we can't catch them and have them neutered or get them adopted within a few months, the males will leave before the next breeding season, and the cute little 2-month-old baby we have now will be populating the neighbourhood.

Debbie in NY
post #2 of 10
First of all, welcome! I followed your link and certainly enjoyed reading about your extended family. They are all beautiful and I applaud you for your efforts with them - it isnot easy. I have a similar situation here -with a feral female (feral vs stray post) Goldie - I yammer about her all the time on this site - she consumes all my energy caring for her, worrying about her and the kiddies and trying to catch, spay, etc. She has 4 babies and I am trying to get close enough to see the sex. We think that the males are more friendly in our house - but no scientific reason for that. Good luck with them - I am interested in knowing how you make out - see you are from NYS - wouldn't it be funny if we were neighbors????????
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
I read about Goldie - glad she's back. We didn't name the original cats since we didn't know their gender and weren't feeling very creative. So the current Mom is "Little Cat" (since she was the smallest of her litter), and her daughter is "Junior Cat" (since in Little Cat's first litter, Junior looked JUST LIKE HER and the other 2 looked exactly like their Dad: black with white feet). With the new babies, I decided to get creative and plan to stay creative, but will shoot for gender neutral names. The woman upstairs calls Mason "Stripes."

Do you have any tips on telling the gender? I can get VERY close - in fact, they'll let us touch and rub them... used to a lot more, now they're on and off with that. But I honestly don't even know what to look for. I don't think at 1 or 2 months that they'd have major testicles. So I don't even know what to look for.

Anybody have a tip here or know a website that might help? Would help with naming and decisions on who we neuter, who we try to have adopted, and so on. ie: we'd love to keep the females around and have them spayed and let them stay a part of our land, but if we have 2 boys here, it might be best to bring them to North Shore Animal League and try to get them adopted (like our 2 inside brothers). This is all based on our observation that the males pick up and leave at a certain age... so if Mason is a boy, as much as I love him, he's not making this his permanent home no matter what.

Thanks again,
post #4 of 10
Debbie - I would still try to look for a pebble sac - the kitties sound very lucky to have you as a 'mom' for a while. Anne or Hissy who both post have a lot more experience than I do with rescue, etc and also maybe a thread in the lounge would bring more answers. Not as many people come to the feral colonies forum to post.

try there ande let me know how you make out.
I'm sure we'll 'talk again later'
post #5 of 10
Pete gave a wonderful answer in another post..go check it out.
post #6 of 10
This lady has taught me a lot about raising babies. Here is her link

post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Holy cats, that article is NOT a match to me in SO many ways. But only worth mentioning is the fact that I didn't see anything about determining gender. Please note that cats I, my husband, and the woman upstairs (2 family house) have on our property can take care of themselves completely. They hunt and kill birds, we've found dead rats, and they defend their turf quiet well. We talk to them, touch the ones that aren't afraid, and play with the ones that like to play. We also feed them kibble daily (mostly the woman upstairs, Barbara), and my husband and I put out high quality canned food that our own Luke rejects.

So we're not raising these without a mother. Mother has done a GREAT job raising healthy energetic babies, who climb wonderfully and seem to understand the whole world, and each new litter grows up less and less afraid of us. In fact, the mother will usually get the attention of Barbara and show here where the new babies are.

However, as we're watching the family grow, Barbara and I are thinking of intervening... either getting the new babies (and the others if we can catch them) neutered and letting them continue to live on our property OR bringing them to be adopted. The point of sexing will help us determine what we do with the babies.

Thanks for that link to the other topic - that does help. I will look for the slit RIGHT under the anus, though I'm already pretty sure Mason is a boy. He's smaller and braver, but I'm never sure size means anything in the world of genders.

Any other links or info is still appreciated!

post #8 of 10
I thought you were asking about tiny kittens that were all feral. My apolgies for misunderstanding. The easiest way is to hold them up fairly high (they usually splay their legs, with you fingers, gently palpate underneath their anus, you will feel small lumps for boys (sometimes they don't drop for awhile) and of course the girls will only have another hole. That is the easiest way to sex them, but if you are taking them in to get spayed and neutered, the vet will be able to tell you what sex they are..or were...*G*
post #9 of 10
Colors will sometimes tip you off to the sex also. Orange tabbies are almost always (like 90%) male. If they have 2 colors excluding white (ex. black and orange, or blue and cream), then it's a female. This spring, I had a litter of three black kittens and one blue/cream. Well I couldn't tell by their color what the black ones were, but I knew right away the blue and cream was female.

The site below goes more in depth as to why there are sex-linked colors and has a lot more genetic information:


And just for fun, here is a picture of the rare female orange tabby, Sunshine!She's available for adoption at a no-kill shelter in southern Iowa if you have a spot in your home open.
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
The whole outside cat family are 2 colours + white and are mostly female. And the female's 2 brothers are 2 colours excluding white. Meanwhile, the "black cat with white feet" family all have white chins and feet and are varying genders. So I don't think we can go by colour here.

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