Azyu Wish "Purr"sians Cattery
Persians & Himalayans
Sexing Your Kitten
Determining whether a kitten is a male or a female is not always an easy task, especially when the kitten is very young. The genitalia of newborn kittens are often swollen, making sexing even more challenging. Handling of newborn kittens should be kept to a minimum in the early days of life anyway, to give the kittens time for their immune systems to strengthen and time for the mother to bond with her babies. Try to be patient. This is particularly important if you are dealing with a nervous, unsocialized, young or inexperienced mother cat.
Before handling your kitten, wash your hands thoroughly. Make sure your hands are warm before you pick up the kitten and always be extremely careful when handling a young kitten. It is very important that you make sure that the mother is comfortable with you handling her kitten(s). In the past, when I dealt with feral rescue mother cats, I'd have to sneak in quick kitten exams when the mother would take her meal and potty breaks.
Do not keep the kitten away from the mother for more than a few minutes. If the kitten or the mother become distressed, return the kitten to her immediately. Do not allow the kitten to become chilled. Keep it warm. Do not handle the kitten roughly or hang it by its tail. Do not hold onto the tail tightly while the kitten moves or you could fracture the tail. ALWAYS handle kittens with the utmost gentleness.
As much as young children may want to handle the kitten, this is not the right time. A kitten that is still suckling from its mother is too young to be held by young children and should only be handled by an adult. Even then, only if the mother is not disturbed by it and only for a very short period of time.
To check a kitten's sex, rest the kitten on its tummy on a clean, warm (not hot) towel. Very gently lift the tail and examine the genitals.
The photo above is of two kittens, both one week old. The one on the left is a female, the one on the right is a male. The most striking difference here is the distance between the anus and the vulva of the female is so much shorter than the distance between the anus and the penile-sheath of the male.
I've heard the female vulva described as a vertical "slit", so that in looking at the "dot" of the anal opening and the "slit" of the vulva together, the female anatomy resembles an i . I've also seen the female anatomy described having a Y appearance.
In keeping with the "dot" idea to describe the anal opening in the male anatomy, many people refer to the appearance of the penis/penile-sheath as another "dot", therefore making the male genitalia look like a :
So, if it looks like you are seeing a "close together" i , you likely have a female. If you think you are looking at a "spread apart" : , you probably have a male.
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