If you’ve decided to get a cat there are a lot of questions you’re probably considering. Should you adopt or get a cat from a breeder? Should you get one or two cats? Should you get a kitten or a more mature cat? And lastly, should you get a male cat or a female cat? All of these decisions can be quite overwhelming. Cat owners tend to have some pretty strong opinions when it comes to which sex is better. Most of these opinions come from personal experience. We’ll try to separate the facts from public perception.
Are there Personality Differences between Male Cats and Female Cats?
Yes and No. This probably isn’t the answer you were looking for. If you are against spaying/neutering your cat, then you should definitely be aware of the differences between male and female cats. Unaltered cats are sexually-driven creatures that will have very pronounced behavioral patterns.
Intact Male Cats
Intact male cats will generally be more aggressive and territorial. Spraying is a very common behavior. They get extremely restless and can become destructive if they don’t have an outlet for their pent up sexual drive. If you plan to let your intact male cat outside, they may wander further than you’d like. And the result will be a lot more feral cats in your neighborhood.
Intact Female Cats
The personality differences between an intact female cat and a spayed cat are not quite as extreme as with male cats. However, there is one very prominent behavior of intact female cats that is worth mentioning. Intact Female cats go into heat in the Spring and Fall. This can mean days or weeks of loud howling and extreme vocalization. A Queen in heat will be overly affectionate and seek attention from you at all hours. As with intact males, an intact female in heat will be restless and may try to escape from your home.
Spayed / Neutered Cats
The behavioral differences between sexes diminishes significantly after you spay or neuter your cat. While there are pros and cons to spaying and neutering your cat, we feel the advantages strongly outweigh the disadvantages. Without the strong sexual drive to reproduce, your domestic cat will behave far more domestically.
When a male cat is neutered his personality changes pretty significantly. There is a common belief that male cats are friendlier and more affectionate than female cats. Spayed Female cats are believed to be more independent and slightly more neurotic than male cats.
But are these personality differences really that consistent between male cats and female cats? The truth is there are a lot more factors that play into your cat’s personality than their sex, particularly if they’ve been fixed. We’ve known cats that fit the stereotype perfectly, and then we’ve had cats that completely defy these gender differences.
Growing up, my very first cat was a female who my family adopted from a shelter. Callie definitely fell into the classification of being an independent, finicky female cat. She had a very obvious disdain for men and only showed affection to the women in our house. But before you jump to the conclusion that all female cats are alike, you need to have a bit more information. Callie’s previous owners were a rowdy bunch of college guys who realized rather quickly that they weren’t prepared for the responsibility of cat ownership. So they returned her to the shelter. I can only imagine that Callie’s scorn for men had something to do with her unfortunate upbringing.
We’ve had male cats over the years who were the life of the party. They were very outgoing and affectionate to complete strangers. But we’ve also known male cats who were scared of their own shadow and would never show their face when new people came around. And as I write this article, I have a super affectionate female cat curled up on my lap.
What Really Defines a Cat’s Personality?
The point we’d like to make is that the sex of your neutered cat really doesn’t define their personality. You’ll probably come across cat owners that swear that one sex is superior to the other. But if you ask them why, you’ll probably hear a story about how their favorite cat when they were growing up happened to be a male cat (or female cat).
Similarly with humans, all cats have unique personalities. No two cats are identical. A cat’s personality is mostly shaped by their experiences. There are also some notable differences within breeds. But there will always be exceptions.
What Cat will be the Best for Me?
The best advice I can give to future cat owners when picking out a cat or kitten is to keep an open mind and let the cat pick you! If you have a pre-conceived notion that you will only be happy with an orange male kitten with a fluffy tail, you could very easily miss out on the opportunity to have a truly amazing cat. One of the reasons cats are so amazing is their ability to be selective. Unlike dogs, cats don’t usually show equal amounts of affection to everyone they meet. Their discriminate nature means that when they actually do select you as their human, you can trust that the bond is real.