can cats change gender

Can Cats Change Gender?

Cats cannot change their gender, however, in rare cases, surgical procedures may need to be performed which could make a male cat appear to be female

So you could say they become females, although their behaviour stays the same.

The practice isn’t common, but there have been rare instances when it is necessary.

Cats & Gender Changes

Cats can’t change gender in the term’s literal meaning.

They can’t wake up one day and decide they’re males instead of females; that’s just uncanny, both biologically and physically.

However, some cats change their genders by going under medical operations to remove parts of their genitals.

After the procedure, the male cats start urinating as females do, which drives people to think they changed their gender. 

cat sanding withbottom towards camera

Aside from urinating, cats don’t change much after going through these procedures.

They keep the behaviour that defines their gender, but they lose the ability to reproduce. 

All that said, some cats may change their gender amid their life, but that happens due to identifying mistakes.

Sometimes, owners can’t see male parts on their cats, so they automatically assume they’re females.

When they start noticing male-exclusive behaviour, like not going into heat, they have doubts.

When they check the private parts of their cats, they find out that they’re males. 

Although seemingly ridiculous, it happens a lot among cat owners. 

Surgical Procedures for Changing A Cats’ Gender

So, now we know that cats only ‘change gender’ when they go under medical procedures.

So, what are these operations? 

Sometimes, cats have to go through perineal urethrostomies to treat problems in the urinary tract.

The way the procedure is performed, the vet removes parts of the genitals.

surgical procedure

Additionally, they shorten the urethra, making a new opening from which the cat can urinate after the surgery.

One cat went through this surgery because of a bladder stone that prevented him from urinating properly.

The surgery didn’t change the cat’s behaviour, so it wasn’t considered a gender change.

Another surgical procedure people often mistake for changing genders is orchidectomy. Let’s see more about it.

Does Neutering a Cat Change Its Gender?

A pretty common question among cat owners about neutering their cats—is the orchidectomy procedure considered a gender change?

Not exactly.

Neutering includes removing the male cat’s testicles, but the penis isn’t removed.

So, the cat gets to keep the organ that essentially identifies it as a male. 

Contrary to other medical procedures, neutering may change the cat’s behaviour.

It causes a decline in testosterone levels, reflecting on the cat’s actions.

That said, it’s still not considered a gender change.

How to Determine a Cat’s Gender

If you don’t want to fall into the gender trap, there’s an easy way to help you identify a cat’s gender.

Observing the genitals is the most reliable way to make sure.

All you have to do is to lift the cat and look under its tail. If it’s a female, its genitals should take the shape of a flipped exclamation mark.

There’ll be a round hole, which is the anus, and there’ll be a drop-like slit under it.

That’s the vaginal opening.

an image showing the differnce in genitals between differences between unneutered male, female, and neutered male cats

On the other hand, males will have small lumps under their anuses, and these should be the testicles. 

Not all cats have visible testicles, especially younger ones.

So, to make sure, you can poke your finger gently around the area.

You should feel two hard balls under the skin.

Why Do Cat Owners Change Their Cat’s Genders?

Cat owners don’t change their cat’s genders.

In fact, you’ll find that most owners are reluctant about going through a surgery that messes with their cat’s natural state.

However, sometimes it’s mandatory. 

The cat I mentioned earlier had a bladder stone that prevented it from urinating.

The cat’s owner mentioned that the cat’s bladder got bloated, and its penis was swollen.

Some vets mistakenly diagnosed the case for cystitis, but it was apparently worse than that.

As for neutering or spaying, most cat owners do it to protect the cats from aggressive behaviour and unnecessary litter.

Some cats are even unable to reproduce normally due to some medical conditions, so spaying them seems like the only right way to go.

So generally, no cat owner would want to change their cat’s gender willingly.

Can Any Animals Change Their Gender?

Aside from cats, can animals change their gender whenever they want to?

Well, not all animals, but some of them do.

They change their genders naturally without any medical intervention, making them even more fascinating.

Clownfish are the best example of that.

Remember Nemo? 

clownfish can change their gender

The males from these orange fish can transform into females, and they do it for good reasons.

They often live in groups that only have two sexually-mature members.

All the groups are males, the only female being one of the breeding pair.

When the female dies, the male has no option but to transform to keep the group reproducing and living.

Another example of animals that change gender is frogs.

At first, scientists thought that frogs could only change gender in labs under scientific experiments.

However, it turns out that they do it in nature too.

When frogs change genders, they replace their reproductive organs with fully functional ones from the opposite sex.

The Takeaway

So, can cats change gender? 

Not exactly, but they sometimes go through operations that remove their genitals.

They become more female-like afterwards, but they keep their male behaviour.