If you’re a true cat lover, it’s impossible to fall for only one feline in your lifetime. There have likely been a slew of cats that have stolen your heart, and they’ve all had unique personalities. Out of all the cats you’ve ever loved, have you noticed a difference between the males and females? There are some cat owners who claim that male cats are always more affectionate than females. They say boys are more laid-back and cuddly while girls embody that stereotype that cats are stoic and indifferent. But is there any truth to these claims?
Short of surveying every cat owner in the world, there is no scientific way to prove one way or another whether one gender of feline is more affectionate than the other. The best we can do is look at what we already know about male and female cat instincts and behavior and relate that to anecdotal evidence.
The truth is, there isn’t much difference between a male cat’s natural instinct and a female’s. In the wild, both genders are focused on the important tasks of surviving, reproducing, and protecting what’s theirs. In fact, male cats are generally more aggressive and likely to defend their territory by fighting. A female cat won’t hesitate to fight to protect herself or her family, but it’s usually the males that initiate disputes.
Move those same cats inside a loving home, and you’ll still see some of those natural survival instincts. Without immediate threats, however, both male and female cats will likely be more relaxed. And importantly, there’s nothing about feline instinct that says males cats will be more affectionate than females when placed in a domestic setting.
The Effects of Spaying and Neutering
Their instincts are generally the same, but we can’t deny that there are some behavioral differences between male and female cats. For example, male cats spray urine to mark their territory. It’s possible for female cats to spray, but it’s much more unlikely. At the same time, female cats are often very vocal when they’re in heat.
These behaviors separate males and females, but they have something in common: They’re all related to sex drive. When cats are spayed or neutered, these behavioral differences usually disappear.
For male cats, undergoing the neuter surgery essentially eliminates the need to compete for mates. After neutering, many cat owners notice that their males become more laid-back and less aggressive toward other animals. They’re also a lot less likely to spray and stink up the whole house.
When female cats are spayed, their lives no longer revolve around getting pregnant, giving birth, and raising kittens. There’s no need for them to defend their young or seek out males, so they also can become more relaxed without those biological responsibilities.
While it’s possible for spaying/neutering to alter an individual cat’s behavior, there’s nothing to indicate that either neutered males or spayed females are more affectionate.
Factors That Might Actually Affect How Affectionate a Cat Is
There will always be differences between male cats and females, but there’s no evidence to suggest that gender has anything to do with having an affectionate personality. Every cat, regardless of gender, is unique. They all have little quirks and characteristics that make them different from every other cat you’ve ever met.
With that said, there are other factors that could potentially influence a pet’s personality. Gender doesn’t seem to be one of them, but the following characteristics could have something to do with it.
Breed or Color
Some cat breeds are notably more affectionate than others. Siamese cats, Ragdolls, and Burmese cats are known for being extra lovey, whether they’re male or female. There is even evidence that shows a cat’s color could affect their personality. A study from UC Davis involving over 1,000 cat owners found that tortoiseshell and calico cats are often full of “cattitude.”
Your cat’s environment and level of socialization will always play a role in how willing they are to be around humans. A cat that has grown up being treated well by humans and living with other pets has a better chance of being affectionate than one that was raised in a feral colony or otherwise on their own.
Cats go through phases based on their age. They’re playful as kittens, can be curious and ornery as teenagers, and they tend to mellow out as they get older. These phases can also influence when and how often they want affection.
A healthy cat is more likely to be a friendly cat. When cats aren’t feeling well, they rarely seek out attention. They’re more the type to hide their pain and avoid contact. Cats that don’t feel well are also likely to react with aggression if approached with unwanted affection.
The bottom line is, both male cats and female cats can be affectionate. They also have equal chances of being more independent and standoffish. It all comes down to unique personality and possibly a few other environmental and genetic factors.
What do you think? What has your experience been like with male versus female cats?