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Veterinary Teaching Hospital

Determining Gender (Sex) of a Kitten

Three kittens.

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.

Male kitten – 8 weeks old

Female kitten – 8 weeks old

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.


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