How to tell if a cat is female or male after neutering

Written by corey m. mackenzie
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How to tell if a cat is female or male after neutering
Longhair neutered males are even more difficult to distinguish from females. (cat face image by Viktor Korpan from

When a veterinarian neuters a male cat, she will cut open the cat’s scrotum and remove the testicles. The scrotum is then sutured closed, and the cat begins the healing process. Without the testicles, the scrotum begins to shrink and, at first glance, it becomes more difficult to distinguish a male cat from a female cat--the shrunken scrotum resembles a female cat’s vulva. There are ways to tell the difference, however.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Cat treats or canned food
  • Disposable gloves

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  1. 1

    Pet the cat to calm it down. You may also need to give it some treats or canned food to distract it for a minute and get the cat comfortable with you before you begin your investigation.

  2. 2

    Put on a pair of disposable gloves. Sit down in a chair and bring the cat onto your lap.

  3. 3

    Pet the cat again to calm it. Gently stroke behind the back of the cat's thigh and lift the leg away from the body so you can look at the genital area.

  4. 4

    Look for a small, hairless spot that will either be the beginning of the cat’s vagina or the head of the penis (called the prepuce). Spread the cat’s legs a little wider.

  5. 5

    Observe a slit-like opening beneath the hairless spot--if there is one, you have a female. If you still are not sure, reach down and touch the area, spreading fur away if necessary. On closer inspection this way you should always be able to tell.

Tips and warnings

  • If the cat won’t stay on your lap, look at it from behind instead. In females there is the anus then a slit--in males there is the anus and a short distance below that is the opening for the penis.

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