Are male cats more affectionate than females?

Yes, in general, male cats are more affectionate than females. I think you will find that this is true based upon anecdotal evidence from cat owners but we can rely on more scientific evidence in a study in which 80 feline veterinary practitioners in America were interviewed over the telephone for about 30 minutes after making previous arrangements so that they were prepared. The veterinary practitioners were chosen at random from a directory.

The concept behind the study is that veterinarians specialising in cats have learned a lot about the behaviour of cats from their owners and specifically the difference between cat breeds with respect to a variety of characteristics.

Perhaps, outside observers (people who don’t own a cat) would have thought that female cats would be gentler and more affectionate. It transpires that they could not be more wrong. The veterinarians mentioned above were asked to rank spayed females versus neutered males before they were asked to rank breeds on each of 12 traits. Therefore the sex comparisons were independent of the breed.

A study about dogs in 1988 (Hart and Hart) found that male dogs are more aggressive and less affectionate than females. It is the opposite for cats.

“Neutered male cats far outranked spayed females in being more outgoing and affectionate. Females far outranked males in being more aggressive”.

That is the conclusion and it appears that the difference between the two sexes is quite stark. This surprises me. I have to say that it does not concur with my personal experiences but then I’ve only looked after a relatively small number of cats.

To counterbalance the above rather surprising statement, it is known that around 10% of neutered and spayed cats spray urine in marking territory and males are more likely to do this than females especially in multi-cat households.


PS – the study referred to (and the quoted text) is mentioned in a well-known book about cat behaviour: The Domestic Cat: the Biology of its Behaviour. I don’t seem to have a more detailed reference than that I regret to say.

PPS I don’t have a credit for the photo, sorry.




11 thoughts on “Are male cats more affectionate than females?”

  1. I’ve experienced the same. Males vs females in the affection category. I’ve always had a more male vs female ratio and conclude males are absolute lovers. My females love, but always on their diva terms. Females show more tendency to aggression, in my experience. Harder to pill, medicate, cut nails vs their most compliant male counterparts. Of course there are always exceptions to every rule. IMO, I feel it it this way as the females have an important duty that male cats do not. Raising, defending, feeding and caring for their young. Keeping their litters safe and finding food is no small feat for mom cats which I feel gives them their edge. They need to be tough. Just my personal thoughts and opinion. For the record, I love both sexes. I currently have two diva kittys and they’re my heart. Great topic, thanks.

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