Neither male nor female kittens are better, as there’s no real difference between the two so long as you spay or neuter your cats.
Unspayed females can be louder and more clingy, while unneutered males are more territorial. Females can also be more expensive to spay than male kittens are to neuter.
There are some cat owners who have their own beliefs, including common myths about male or female cats. Some see females as more aloof and males as more affectionate and playful.
However, these aren’t evidence-based and, in my experience after having many cats of both genders, aren’t at all true.
In this article, I’ll discuss the differences between unneutered male and unspayed female cats and other factors to consider before adopting.
There isn’t usually a Difference
Typically, there is no true difference between male and female kittens. While many people believe myths, such as that male kittens are more affectionate, that is untrue and there is no science behind these claims.
The only time you’re going to see a difference is if your kitten reaches maturity and is not spayed or neutered. While I’m going to go over the differences below, I don’t recommend getting a kitten if you can’t afford this expense or find a low-cost program in your area.
A great workaround may be to adopt an older cat from a shelter. They will likely already be spayed or neutered, saving you the cost.
Spaying and neutering comes with a lot of health and behavioral benefits, and also prevents them from having kittens that are unwanted and can be difficult to rehome.
Unspayed female cats will regularly go into heat starting at around six months.
During this time, she will be very loud and overly affectionate toward humans or other animals in the house.
Female cats are typically more expensive to have spayed than male cats, as the surgery is more complicated.
She may try to wander outdoors in search of a male cat to mate with. This shouldn’t be allowed, both because allowing cats outside is unsafe for them and because you’ll end up with a litter of kittens!
You especially don’t want your cat becoming pregnant while she’s still a baby herself, as this can lead to health risks.
Litters are also expensive to raise. There can be up to 12 kittens in a litter, and they’ll all need veterinary care and to be vaccinated.
Lastly, females tend to be smaller and slimmer in build than male cats.
Unneutered males are more territorial. They may even display problematic behaviors such as spraying or aggression, especially toward other male cats.
If allowed outdoors, they will wander further from home. However, you should never allow your cat outdoors—especially an unneutered cat!
Keeping an unneutered male cat indoors is harder to do, however, as he will want to roam and find female cats to mate with. He may scratch window screens or try to run past you to get outside.
Males also tend to be larger than females, with rounder faces and broader shoulders.
Every Kitten has a Unique Personality
No two cats are the same, just like no two people have the same exact personality.
When it comes to how your kitten will act, it has a lot more to do with genetics, upbringing, and their own unique purrsonality than it does their sex.
I have a goofy male cat named Frank who is rambunctious, loves watching shadows on the walls, and crawls into someone’s lap every chance he gets—even visitors!
His littermate, Grumpy, spends most of his time alone and only very occasionally wants to lay in someone’s lap.
Another of my male cats is glued to my hip for about half the day, most days, but doesn’t act the same with other people.
My female cats have a range of personalities, too, even though most of them are from a rescued litter and were raised in the same household all their lives.
There’s really no telling who a kitten will grow up to be, and their gender has next to nothing to do with it.
It Depends how they are Raised
Another factor that has more impact than gender is how the kitten has been raised.
The best-behaved cats who transition into new homes the easiest are those raised by someone with experience who has socialized the kittens and gotten them used to living in a home environment.
Other factors can negatively impact how a kitten behaves. This doesn’t mean they’re bad kittens—just that they may need some extra patience or care.
For instance, was the kitten orphaned at a young age? Were they brought up without other kittens to socialize with? Did you take them from their mother and siblings too soon?
The above can lead to behavioral problems. It’s incredibly important for kittens to be around other kittens of the same age, as this is how they learn how to be a cat.
Kittens taken from their siblings too early may bite too hard and play too aggressively.
While kittens can be taken from a feral mother and socialized, this becomes more difficult the older the kitten is. For instance, taking them from mom right after weaning is going to be faster and likely more successful than trying to bring a feral 6 month old kitten in from the streets.
This is because they’ve missed vital socialization windows by that age and have had long enough to be taught to fear humans.
Another possibility is a kitten who’s spent much of their lives in a shelter. Shelter staff do their very best, but there is only so much they can do in a crowded environment that’s typically very different than your average household.
Kittens raised in shelters may take more time to adjust to living in a home, since they’ve never had that experience before.
Lastly, kittens who’ve faced trauma or abuse will of course act different to kittens raised in loving homes. They may be fearful of humans or even aggressive.
Older Cats Are More Predictable
If you’re looking for a cat with a set personality, I recommend against adopting a kitten. This is because it’s difficult to predict what they’ll be like when they grow up.
Adult cats, however, are already grown and have a more fixed personality. When you adopt them, you can ask about their behaviors to ensure you get a cat you’ll be happy sharing your home with.
Keep in mind that cats may also act differently in a shelter environment than they will in a home. So, if you need a cat that for-sure has certain traits, adopt from a rescue that utilizes fosters.
This way, the cat will have been living in a home where the fosterer had an opportunity to observe how they behave.
Adopt the Same Gender as Other Unfixed Cats
The only time I would recommend a specific gender of kitten is if you already have one or more cats in your household who aren’t spayed or neutered.
In this case, you should adopt a kitten that is the same gender as them so that you don’t end up with a litter of kittens!
While a bunch of kittens may sound fun in theory, most people can’t afford to keep them, and they can be very difficult to rehome.
With so many cats and kittens euthanized in shelters every year, it’s better to adopt if you have more room in your home than to allow your cat to birth a litter.
Spaying and Neutering is Important
I also urge you to consider spaying or neutering your cats if that’s possible for you. There are some great low-cost programs available that you can utilize.
It may even be worth it to spay or neuter your current cat(s) before adopting a new kitten. This way, you can move forward knowing your current cat is taken care of.
Spaying and neutering cats provides them with many health benefits, and cats who are fixed live longer on average. They also tend to have less behavioral issues.
I am a freelance writer who specializes in the pet industry. My full bio