Friday, 7 November 2014

How (not) to sex a kitten...

Warning- this post contains discussion and photographs of kitten genitalia!

Ok, so for the last couple of years I have taken pictures of my kittens' back ends to try and shed some light on the whole boy/girl mystery. Last litter I posted them on the blog. It remains amongst the most visited pages on the blog, I assume from people trying to sex their own kittens and having trouble, because really, those silly little line drawings you find online bear no resemblance to a squirmy, fluffy real life little kitten do they?

I have found, as a general rule, if they obviously look like a boy, they are, if they obviously look like a girl they are, and if they look like they could be either... my experience is that they are girls. Every time I haven't been sure, it has turned out to be a girl. Of course, this is only over two litters (the first litter the girls were easy to spot- they were tortie) and so it isn't an especially tried and tested rule, but it's about the best I'm going to get at the moment! So what I'm going to do is make a reasonable guess, and name the kittens on that basis. If I am wrong, the names will change and I will look a bit of a wally, but I'm used to that!

My current litter has four kittens who are definitely boys. They look a little like this:

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You can see quite clearly here the anal opening, testicles and the prepuce which contains the penis- kitten penii are retracted permanently until about six months, I believe, a fact which I am sure no-one will find remotely useful ever! There's quite a long distance between the dot of the anus and the dot of the penis and the prepuce is about the same size as the testicles.

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This is Kitten 3- green band. Kitten bits can get quite swollen in the first week or so, all those maternal hormones, and Mama licking them to keep them clean, and for a while this kitten looked much more male. But she has the 'dot and slit' of a girl, there's a relatively short distance from the anus, and it is now resembling the 'three sided purse' of a girl's bits and pieces. I also had her down as a girl at birth, and my first impressions on the gender have never so far been wrong- it's day two I start to have doubts. Anyway for now, I am assuming she is a GIRL.

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And then we have this kitten.

I just don't know! Sometimes it looks like the dot and slit of a female, but it also looks very... well very testicular lol, those two lumps... and surely that's the beginning of a prepuce beneath them? But then the distance is not as great as the brothers' are. I also note that in my last litter I did have a few girls that got a bit swollen and boyish. I think one was Lucy actually, and she's definitely female! And then Louisa from the Von Trapps looked like she might be a Louis for ages, even the vet thought so at one point, but she wasn't.

But then every time I think 'oh she must be female' I remember at birth I had this kitten down as male... before things start to swell up and get complicated... so I just don't know!

There are six kittens, so if I name the others first (rather than by birth order, as I usually do) then by the time I get to kitten 2 at the end things might be clearer.

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