"A cat drinks milk."
What is the difference between une chatte and un chat??
Does the gender of an animal determine the gender of its corresponding word?
Yes, but not always. Un chat = male cat. Une chatte = female cat. Same with chien/chienne, renard/renarde. However some animals just are. Like un cheval regardless of sex (but there are less common terms for specific sexes, horses included...go looking for them if you want, but outside of specific circles a horse is a horse).
It is extremely important to learn the difference between masculine and feminine words, however "la chatte" is never used in france because it means something vulgar. When referring to cats, "le chat" is always used.