Determine the Sex of A Baby Puppy or Kitten By Looking At Its Paws

While many animals have subtle differences between males and females, figuring out their sex can be crucial, especially for pet owners, veterinarians, and those eager to adopt. But did you know that you can decipher a pet’s gender by looking at their paws?

There are some quirky yet fascinating methods to determine the sex of pets like dogs, cats, and even puppies.

Dogs and cats often display paw preferences, favoring one over the other.
Photo: Pexels
Dogs and cats often display paw preferences, favoring one over the other.

Male vs. Female Paw Preferences

According to a study published in Laterality by researchers at the University of Sydney, both dogs and cats exhibit distinctive paw preferences. Celebrity veterinarian Dr. Chris Brown shared this intriguing insight with the Daily Mail: male dogs and cats tend to use their left paws, while females prefer their right. So, next time you meet a dog or cat, asking them for a paw shake might just reveal their gender without a peek between the legs.

Female cats have a higher likelihood of being right-pawed.
Photo: Pexels
Female cats have a higher likelihood of being right-pawed.

Observing Paw Preferences in Dogs

Dr. Brown suggests that if your pet isn’t the handshaking type, you can still uncover their paw preference through everyday activities.

“You should still see the same side preference for tasks like reaching under a sofa to grab a treat, flicking off a small piece of tape from their nose or steadying a rolling tennis ball so it doesn’t roll away,” he said.

Studies have shown that left-pawed dogs are more likely to be used as police or guide dogs, making this a practical, cost-effective way to determine their gender.

Left-pawed dogs have a higher chance of being chosen as police or guide dogs.
Photo: Pexels
Left-pawed dogs have a higher chance of being chosen as police or guide dogs.

Cat Paw Preferences: A Gender Indicator

Cats, too, exhibit paw preferences, and it’s particularly helpful when identifying their gender, reports the American Animal Hospital Association.

Researchers at Queen’s University Belfast discovered that 70% of cats showed a paw preference when descending stairs. Among these cats, males favored their front left paws, while females preferred their front right paws. These findings could be a handy tool for those working in animal shelters, allowing them to quickly assess the stress susceptibility of cats.

A puppy's gender can also be identified by examining their lower abdomen.
Photo: Pexels
A puppy’s gender can also be identified by examining their lower abdomen.

Identifying Puppy Gender

Determining the gender of newborn puppies can be quite the challenge, as physical differences between male and female puppies are subtle. As Dogster reports, there are other simple technique can help you distinguish them.

  • Male Puppies: Look for two small, raised circular marks on their bellies, with the second mark being where the penis will emerge.
  • Female Puppies: They will have only the belly button mark, and upon examination from the base of the tail to the start of the lower abdomen, you will notice two openings – the anus and vulva.
Always handle baby animals with care.
Photo: Pexels
Always handle baby animals with care.

Identifying Kitten Gender

Determining the sex of a baby kitten is straightforward. All you have to do is lift the kitten’s tail and locate the genital opening:

  • Male kittens: Look for a round shape. The distance between the anus and the genital opening is typically greater in male kittens.
  • Female kittens: Look for a vertical slit located just below the anus.
  • Consider Coat Color: While not always foolproof, the color of the kitten can provide additional clues. Calico and tortoiseshell-colored kittens are often female, while a higher presence of orange coloring may indicate a male kitten.
Identifying a pet's paw preference can be a fun and informative exercise.
Photo: Pexels
Identifying a pet’s paw preference can be a fun and informative exercise.

Handle Baby Animals with Care

While it’s intriguing to uncover a pet’s gender through these methods, it’s essential to exercise caution and patience. Handling newborn animals too frequently during their first few weeks of life can alienate them from their mother and litter, leading to stress and trauma, Dogster reports. So, remember to be gentle, and limit the examination to a brief moment.

Determining the sex of your beloved pets or those you plan to adopt doesn’t have to be a mystery. These insights not only help satisfy curiosity but also serve as a valuable tool for veterinarians and animal shelter staff to understand and care for their furry friends better.

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