Adopting a cat is not as simple as going to a shelter or a breeder’s home and picking the first feline that you like. Owning a pet is a big responsibility that should be approached with caution.
That means considering different factors, from your lifestyle to cat personalities and breed tendencies. But how about gender? Are tomcats better than queens?
Before adopting a new pet, consider the male cats vs. female cats pros and cons.
Male cats vs female cats: pros and cons
Gender does play a crucial role in a cat’s behavior and personality. And as such, you should factor this before deciding to adopt a grown cat or kitten.
Female cat pros and cons
If you are constantly out of your house because of your busy schedule, you should strongly consider getting a queen. Female cats are more independent than their male counterparts, making them ideal for busy people. Your female cat will be content being left behind at home but will readily come up to you once you get back.
If you get your female cat spayed, your female cat will become more maternal and loyal to you and your loved ones.
But despite these advantages, there are a few disadvantages to adopting a female cat.
For one, there is the risk of unwanted pregnancy, especially if you allow your pet to go out or if you have an intact male in your home. And while kittens are adorable, they can be a handful to take care of, especially if you are not a breeder.
Furthermore, unspayed cats are noisy when they are in heat. Queens announce their fertility to nearby toms by vocalizing. And queens in heat do not choose a time of the day to yowl and call in potential suitors.
Finally, female cats tend to be unpredictable when it comes to their moods. One time they are sweet and adorable only to lash and hiss at you in a fraction of a second. It is critical to take that into account if you have young kids in your home.
Male cats pros and cons
If you want an affectionate pet, consider adopting a tomcat. Compared to queens, male cats will readily come to their humans because they crave affection.
In general, male cats are more laid back and relaxed compared to females that tend to be on edge.
Finally, if you add a male cat to your household, you do not have to worry about your pet getting pregnant and dealing with unwanted kittens.
But despite these benefits, owning a male cat also carries a few downsides that you need to be aware of.
For one, intact males are more aggressive and territorial. That translates into unwanted behaviors like spraying and fighting with other male cats in your home and the neighborhood.
Male cats also have an independent streak that manifests in a variety of ways. Some male cats resort to mischief, especially when they are not physically and mentally stimulated.
Most tomcats cannot resist the urge to wander outside their homes to increase their territory and find mates.
Factors that shape a cat’s personality and behavior
While gender plays a crucial role in shaping a cat’s potential personality and behavior, other factors also come into play.
One of the chief advantages of getting a purebred cat is that you know what to expect, not just in terms of the physical characteristics of the cat, but as well as his personality.
Breeders adhere to breed standards, ensuring consistency in their cats both in terms of physical characteristics and personality.
For example, the Turkish Van and Angora have long been known to have aggressive tendencies towards people and cats. The British Shorthair, on the other hand, is known as one of the least aggressive cat breeds.
As with humans, nature is not fate. This simply means that your cat’s behavior and personality can also be influenced by his environment. In fact, feline experts argue that a cat’s immediate environment is the greatest influence on a cat’s personality.
On a related note, consistency in the environment is vital for a cat’s wellbeing. To some degrees, cats learn to adjust to their environment as long as there is some semblance of consistency.
If there are constant or drastic changes in a cat’s environment, you will notice a change in your pet’s behavior. For example, if your home is normally quiet and then you host a party, your normally quiet and reserved cat may go into hiding for a couple of days.
If you are adopting a cat, either from a previous owner or from a shelter, knowing his history and background will provide some insight into his personality.
For example, if the cat grew up in a nurturing home, he is most likely to have an even-keeled personality. On the other hand, if the cat grew up in an abusive home, he will likely exhibit some anti-social behaviors. Although it is possible to rehabilitate the cat, it will take substantial time and effort.
Why you should get your cat sterilized
Aside from preventing unwanted pregnancies, sterilization offers a variety of benefits for both queens and toms.
If your queen is spayed before her first estrous cycle, you can drastically reduce her risk of contracting cervical and ovarian cancers. The removal of the ovaries lowers the number of hormones associated with the growth of tumors. Additionally, spaying can also lower your cat’s risk of succumbing to mammary cancer.
Sterilized cats are also less likely to succumb to diseases acquired due to behaviors related to mating. These include feline AIDS and leukemia. Simply put, if your cat has lost the drive to find a mate, he or she is less likely to get into fights with other cats in your neighborhood.
Many unwanted behaviors in both male and female cats can be attributed to their desire to find a mate and expand and protect their territories. These are hormonal issues.
When your pet is sterilized, your cat will stop yowling while in heat or even stop fighting with other males in the neighborhood.
Furthermore, neutered males will lose some of their drive to go outdoors to find a mate. Going outside is a considerable risk, especially if you live in a high-traffic area. There is also the possibility that your pet can get lost.
Finally, sterilization helps put a stop to territorial behaviors, especially spraying. Although some neutered males will still spray their urine, it will not be as often as intact males. Furthermore, you will notice that the spray marking of a neutered male is not as offensive as that of an intact tom.
Take note that sterilization is not the solution to all of your pet’s behavioral issues. Sterilization can reduce the number of hormones in your cat’s body but some bad behaviors can remain, especially those that were developed as an offshoot of upbringing and environment.
And although there are a few risks involved, the benefits outweigh these.
Why a cat’s personality matters most
Choosing which cat to adopt is by no means an easy task. You will need to take into account numerous factors, including breed, age, gender, and history.
But if there is one critical factor that you should consider, especially if you have no experience in keeping a cat, that would be personality.
Personality fit can dictate the success or failure of your relationship with your pet. As much as possible, choose a cat with a temperament that matches your lifestyle. Otherwise, you will be left with a cat with problematic behavior.
Image: istockphoto.com / Eleni Mac Synodinos