This is a good question from those who have never owned a cat, but is considering getting one for the very first time. However, the answer to male cats vs female cats is not as straightforward as you would think. Having said that, in order for you to come to the decision of what cat to get, you need to consider a whole range of things. Moreover, each cat is different, so let us take a closer look at both sexes to see if we can narrow the decision down, or at least give you a bigger picture, so you can make an informed decision on whether to go for a male cat or a female cat.
Differences in public opinion on the topic of male cats vs female cats
There hasn’t been a great deal of research into the topic of male cats vs female cats, and which one would make the better pet, but many cat owners have shared their opinions on this topic over the years, and even then it’s still not a straightforward answer. There are cat owners that say male cats are better while other cat owners will say female cats are better, then there are some that say there is not much difference. However, there are big differences in the behavior and temperament of male and female cats that have been neutered, or spayed and we will look into these differences first.
Important differences between male and female cats
- Not spayed or neutered
Firstly, in order to show the difference between a cat that has been spayed or neutered, we need to look at the natural behavior of the all natural cat, before it has been neutered or spayed. A female cat in its natural state can come into heat at around six months of age, and have as many as three litters per year, that’s a lot of tiny feet! In short, a female cat spends most of her life in a maternal state, either getting pregnant, giving birth or rearing her young, so getting a natural female may not be for you for that reason alone.
A natural male cat can have a large territory, and will wander far and wide looking for a mate, and they are generally more territorial and more aggressive, meaning they will often get into fights. Moreover, although both male and female cats spray, the males appear to do this more than the female, which isn’t too good if one of their spraying spots is your new couch. A natural female will more than likely be suited as a house cat than a natural male as the males do like to wander, although this also depends on how socialized they are with humans early on in life.
2. Spayed and neutered
Now with a female cat that has been spayed, you will often find that all that loving, mothering, nurturing attention is diverted to the owner, sometimes making them the ideal choice. As an example our daughter has a female tortoise shell cat which is often very affectionate towards her but at other times feisty and unpredictable because of the breed. However, the same may be said for a male cat that has been neutered, at least the temperament anyway, because he may become much calmer, less aggressive and more attentive towards his owner. There are many things to consider, but it is generally recommended to have a cat spayed or neutered, and not just because it makes them more friendly towards their owners.
Problems with unwanted pets
Every year hundreds of thousands of unwanted kittens, and cats are handed in to animal shelters, often to the point of the shelter being overwhelmed, leading to many thousands of animals being put to sleep. Spaying and neutering cats is automatic at shelters to help prevent keeping the numbers down of unwanted cats and feral cats in the neighborhoods. Having said that, if you are thinking of purchasing a new cat for the very first time, you may want to consider adopting one from your local shelter.
Purchasing a cat from a breeder
Another option for considering is buying from a cat breeder, this is particularly recommended if you are looking for a specific breed of cat. Moreover, if you decide to go for this option it is highly recommended that you buy from a well known, reputable breeder that specializes in the specific breed you want. Furthermore, this will also give you a good chance to ask as many questions as you like. That being said, you may even be able to tell the breeder what type of cat you want, whether it be a shy cat that likes a lot of attention, or a more adventurous and playful type. Keep in mind, that the breeder will know this because of being with them since birth, he will know the temperament of each cat or kitten.
Adopting a shelter cat
Adopting a cat from a local shelter will definitely ensure that you are saving a kitten or cat’s life, as well as contributing towards the great work that shelters do every year. Moreover, the shelter will be able to give you lots of first hand advice, and tips as well as allowing you to handle some kittens, or cats and give you an idea of the temperament. Furthermore, this will let you know that your new cat is up to date on inoculations and medications if needed, as well as being spayed or neutered, as breeders generally will take care of these aspects before sending them home with their new human parents.
When it comes to determining if a male cat, or a female cat is better for you, there is no easy answer, but the information we have given you here should give you something to consider before buying a new cat. Each cat, whether it is male or female, has its own pros and cons, each one being an individual with its own traits, both good and bad. Even if you don’t decide to adopt a cat from a shelter, it is a good place to start looking and getting additional information from hands on people who deal with cats both male and female on a daily basis.
Finally, before you decide on which cat to buy, whether it be male or female, you should consider making a checklist of some things to buy for your cat. Many first time buyers do not always consider this before buying a cat, but you should purchase a litter tray and cat litter, some toys, especially some with feathers on a pole to encourage interaction and a scratching post/climbing tree, so your new cat doesn’t use your curtains. One should also buy a good quality cat food, and please do not opt for the cheapest, as cats do not eat much, so it is worth buying very good quality food, as they will be more healthier for it and even live longer.
There is often very heated debate on this controversial topic with very different opinions being aired. The 3 cats that I have owned over a 30 year period have been male cats and they have all been great pets. However we did keep our son’s cat Lily at our house for a year and she was very loving and affectionate to us in that period. I will welcome comments on this matter from my readers in the comments section below
33 thoughts on “Male Cats vs Female Cats – How Do I Determine Which Is The Better Pet For Me?”
My boyfriend and I have decided to have a cat in the future. I am confused about picking a male or a female. I want a cat that is affectionate and predictable. I wouldn’t like it if the cat suddenly bit me. That would scare me and make me anxious.
I see you have had 3 male cats and were happy with them.
I also talked with my neighbor and she mentioned that male cats were better than female cats.
I would certainly have them neutered because I don’t want to take care of more than one cat.
Thanks for sharing.
I grew up with a male cat. He was my buddy and cuddled with me at night. I now have two males and one female. The two males are more affectionate than the female on average. She can be nice and will lay near my head and lick my hair, as well as my husband’s hair to groom us. She is very nice but a bit aloof and independent most of the time. It has taken years to get her to tolerate kisses.
On the other end of the spectrum, our first boy is the biggest baby ever. He adores attention, wants to cuddle all the time. He is gentle (with us, though he is the dominant cat in the house and bullies the other two at times). He is the perfect pet. He cuddles up to the female cat also. They sleep together every day and cuddle up to us at night. He will lay upside down in my arms and purr and purr and reach up with his paws and touch my face or wrap his toes around my finger. He is really a baby.
I have only had one female so I don’t know if this is normal but in my experience the males are more outgoing and sociable. That may be due to breed rather than gender however. The sweet boy we have now is an orange tabby. They are known to be exceptionally sweet. Even the vets I go to say this! Most orange tabbies are male though! So I don’t know if a female orange tabby is also very sweet due to breed!
Jessica (Swangirl on WA)
Great article! I never really considered whether I’d get a male or female cat. Mine is a male, and very affectionate (even more so in his old age!) When he was younger he had a lot of urinary problems with stones, and I wondered if I should have gotten a female cat instead. Those have subsided now (we mix plenty of water in with his food now), and he’s a healthy guy. I wonder if there are similar health problems (besides unwanted kittens) that go with having female cats? Thanks!
Hi Melissa, great feedback and thank you for it. In answer to your question health problems for both genders are the same.
That’s an informative post – I never seriously considered the difference between male and female before! We have 2 female cats now – both neutered and both very affectionate. They are beautiful creatures and more information about them out there so people can make informed choices is a good idea.
Nice feedback Ian and thank you.
Great information here. I grew up with cats as a young man. Our home always had at least two. As an adult, I’ve had several varieties – the last was a male, found in a trash dumpster that we nurtured back to proud health. As for the local shelters, this should be everyone’s first stop when looking for that perfect house mate. Thanks for all the information.
You are welcome George and thank you for your comments.
This is some of the best information on Male and Female cats that many of us never knew much about. You website will definitely help anyone looking to own a cat and really deserves to be shared with the public.
Thanks for sharing this with us James, all the best to you.
Thank you Peter for those kind comments. Glad you found the information useful
Now we are on our acres we have need of a cat. I am torn between a big fat Tom or a pretty tortoiseshell lady. I loved the photo of your sons Lily in a past post. I would definitely want my cats neutered but would that be OK.? Seems a bit mean but I would not want a wanderer or the pitter patter of tiny paws. Thanks for the post. I learned a lot ! Lee
Thanks for those comments Lee. Yes tortoiseshell cats are gorgeous but feisty in temperament. My son had Lily spayed and she wasn’t as lively after the operation but seems more calmer in temperament these days.
Great post. I have never personally had a male cat. My cat growing up was female and highly affectionate, we got her from a shelter when she was very young.
I think as long as the cat is spayed or neutered, gender is not a massive deal. It’s probably more about the temperament of the individual cat.
Thanks for the interesting read.
Hi James. Talking about cats, I have plenty of them while growing up. At the moment, I have 3 female cats and 3 kittens. I have experiences with both male and female cats and both genders have their own pros and cons (although they are all lovable). From my experiences, male cats are very territorial and they usually fight with other cats especially when there are other female cats around. It could be really annoying especially when the cats fight during the night. Female cats do not fight often, but they naturally attract other male cats and I do hate it when the male cats started to mark their territories. They just spray everywhere. So male or female, I guess, gender do not make a lot of difference after they are neutered.
Thanks for your feedback Vivian. You are right about male cats and that is why we always keep our male cat indoors at nights when territorial fights seem to be more prevalent. Getting the Vet to fix up injuries from cat fights can be a very expensive business! We have always had our male cats neutered to do our part in keeping the local cat population under control!
This is great information James.
I’m just about to purchase a cat because I just got my own place. I really want to have an inside cat so maybe a male can be fine anyhow because I don’t think I will let it out to wander around hehe.
I will definitely look at a animal shelter first to see what they say. Hopefully they will have the perfect cat for me.
Was there any specific reasons for why you’ve had male cats? I’m a guy myself and would like to have a male cat. And if you are not “happy” with your cat from an animal shelter, can you maybe switch then? Because it feels like you will get a feel for their temperament and so on after maybe a week at your house.
Thank you for those comments Marcus. There are definitely advantages in getting a cat from an animal shelter as you have the comfort of knowing that the cat you are owning has been well looked after and is disease free. The main reason for us owning male outdoor cats that were kept in at nights was the neutering process for them was relatively simple – spaying being a more major process for females. We also thought that any female cats would receive the unwanted attention of the local male cat population! My feeling about whether you can return a cat previously bought from an animal shelter is that they wouldn’t allow that.
Very informative article James! I actually didn’t know spaying your cat makes them more friendly. I know nothing about cats so I always thought people neutered animals simply so they don’t reproduce. I can really tell just by reading this article you certainly know your cats. i learned a lot of intricate details I feel the average cat owner would not know.
What a wonderful article about my favorite creatures: cats.
I appreciate very much your explanation about the differences between male and female cats – they definitely exist, and also about non-neutered and neuterd cats, as their lives and their behavior is completely different.
As for the choice male-female. I never CHOOSE my cats, I just got them from somebody who had too many (as normally happens with non-neutered females, as you describe above) or they were born in my place. So I got what I got.
At the beginning I didn’t neuter any cat with the result to have always lovely new kittens, but to much sadness when most of them disappeared, especially the males. So the choice of neutered cats (whatever sex) was imperative – also to save vet costs with ever the same procedures for always new ones to come and disappear after a while.
So for about 10 years I had a stable family of 10 cats, now reduced by (natural) death to 3 + 2 newcomers, also neutered.
I hope this helps the reader to decide what cats to choose.
What a great feedback Heidi and thank you very much!
Hi Jim. We have had cats (2 sets of 2 females) for the past 35 years. We lost the last one 3 years ago. We are preparing to adopt again and I am wondering about the male vs female decision. We will have them fixed and they will be indoors only babies. I’ve had it in my head that even fixed, males are more likely to spray if stressed etc then females since they are more territorial. Based on your experience, is this really true for fixed, indoor males ? Given its winter there are not many kittens available but we do have our eye on a bonded pair (male and female) but are hesitant because of potential spraying. Any feedback would be most welcome. Thanks
Nice comments Bonnie which are greatly appreciated. My wife and I are currently pet sitting my youngest son’s 2 indoor adult cats ( one male and one female over the Christmas / New Year holiday period at our house , both of whom have been fixed! See my article on the pet sitting experiences at
From what we have been able to observe there has been no spraying at all in our house from either cat in the 10 days we have had them so far even though it is certainly unfamiliar territory for George, the tom cat, who was very stressed at the beginning. We did have Lily, the female, in our house as a kitten for 2 years previously and she never sprayed at all in all the time she was with us and not on this occasion either. Hope this helps you.
Hi Jim! We are currently deciding to get a cat and this post and replies have helped a lot for info I didn’t have before. I have always had a dog male or female and now since my fur baby died of illness at his senior age of 10, we agreed our daughter would be able to get a cat. We are definitely going to a shelter where the fur baby will be spayed/neutered and given shots before we take it home. Just need to make sure it’s open/friendly. We are a lively bunch and having a not so friendly/scared of the world fur baby wouldn’t work here. I’m glad we get to visit with them first!! Thank you for posting! I enjoyed the informative views from everyone!
Thanks Annette. So pleased that you like the Fit Cats blog and the readers comments! Jim
Thanks a million for your detailed analysis on cats.
I never owned one and very frightened of them.
You explaining the difference between the natural, spayed and neutered cat has given me a clear insight about their behavior.
Secondly, I like the the options you gave of getting a cat from a shelter or a breeder. Both have very good advantages, which you have rightly pointed out.
That is informative.
This is wonderful information you have got here. Cats are my second best pets after dogs. I love their intelligence. You know their action of always trying so hard to cover their fecal matter. I had one that used to watch movies with me and I was amazed when I discovered that its actually scared of the horrors as well. I guess humans and cats have a lot in common after all. Thanks for sharing,
Many thanks for sharing your experiences Paul and I agree with your comments about their intelligence having found this in all the cats i have owned. Jim
Thanks for sharing the great content! It let me know more and understand what’s the differences between male & female cats. I will share this content to my girlfriend due she is a pet lover 😉
Pleased you enjoyed reading the article Samuel and thanks for sharing it. Jim
I enjoyed reading your post about male vs female cats. In my household, we are your opposites – we have always owned just female cats 😊 I don’t even know how this happened, because we never consciously chose the female. Now you made me want to adopt the male cat, too. (and she goes to check the local shelter site)
Hi Katja, Many thanks for those comments and and I hope you find yourself a nice cuddly male cat for your household. Jim
Thanks for the article. Over 30 yrs we’ve had all female kittens/cats, including a couple from a rescue. Now all the kids are gone and my last cat cinnamon died 4 yrs ago. I am now ready for two more kittens. I had planned to get one and look for another, but my neighbor has 3 11 weeks old kittens and 2 males are available for interested owners, great cats. smart, playful, good hunters. (we live on an acre)… I always seemed to pick females previously but i now understand the importance of choice based on personality and temperament. So I will get the 2 males and especially since they are bonded. I was going to get another cat from an acquaintance…but i think i will get the 2 brothers this time.and get them neutered. We like to have indoor/outdoor cats.
Thank you Lorette For sharing your experiences.So pleased to hear that you won’t have to look too far in getting your new kittens. Jim