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Are you unsure about the sex of the new kitten in your hands? The differences in genitalia between female and male cats can be very subtle. But if you know how to look, telling the sex of your kitten is not that difficult. What follows is a step by step guide to help you determine the sex of a newborn kitten:
- Judging their genital features – Ensure that the kitten is in a safe and warm environment. Kittens are vulnerable to cold temperatures. They rely on their mother’s body for warmth till they learn to warm themselves. So, don’t separate the kitten from its mother for more than 10 minutes. Do not lay them on hardwood floors or marble countertops as these surfaces can suck the heat and draw all their body warmth.
- Lift the tail – The easiest way to tell the sex of your kitten is to check the genitals. However kittens won’t like it when you try to lift their tails. So, it is important to be as gentle as you can. If you handle the kitten roughly or use a forceful motion, it can cause a lot of pain and cause it to lash out in defense. Don’t hold it by the tail which is quite fragile. Make sure than the kitten is standing with its head pointing away from you. If kitty is reluctant, get someone to help you. They can hold the kitten while you lift its tail. You should be able to see two openings. The upper one is the anus, while the lower one is their genitalia.
- What is the lower opening look like? – If you have two kittens, it would be helpful to compare them side by side. The genital opening of a female kitten looks like a vertical slit whereas the one of the male kitten looks like a circular hole.
- Look for the testicles – Although testicles are not completely obvious on a young male kitten, it is still possible to detect them. But make sure that you don’t forcibly handle the kitten’s genitals. The penises on young male kittens are quite delicate and if you attempt to extend them forcibly, it can cause lasting damage. If you see a small pouch of bulge between the anus and the genital opening, you are most likely looking at the kitten’s scrotum. If you are not able to visually detect the scrotum, then gently run your finger between the genital opening and the anus. If you feel small lumps, then the kitten is male. You wouldn’t be able to feel the genitals in kittens that are less than a month old as they retreat into their inguinal canal.