Do cats have a penis?

Have you ever heard a cat yowling at night? The blood curling and screeching sound would make you think that someone is being murdered. The cat that was yowling is your very own Queenie that should have been sleeping at the foot of your bed. Your cat is screaming because it managed to escape and had a date with the neighbor’s tom and the cause of the yowling is the cat’s penis. Although generally tucked in and not easily visible, male cats have a penis. This copulatory organ is barbed and causes the female cat pain when withdrawn after mating.

Unlike a dog’s penis that comes down under the belly, the penis of a cat is not something that can be easily seen thus it is not surprising if curious little boys and girls would ask if cats have a penis. So how would we show the little ones where the cat’s penis is? The “inspection” can be rather difficult as for sure the cat would not keep still. On the cat’s belly is a little tuft of hair with a little bellybutton-like dot in the center…this is where the penis is. A cat’s penis is protected by a tubular sheath or foreskin called prepuce. The prepuce completely hides the penis when it is not erect. This is the reason why male cats are often thought to have no penis. The tubular sheath though is visible between the hind legs if the rear end of the cat is viewed. During mating, the blood vessels and connective tissues will produce an erection. More and more cat owners are having the pet neutered. Neutered cats would still be able to have an erection a few weeks after the surgical procedure. Neutering removes the testicles but not the penis. The testicles were removed but it would take about a month for the testosterone to be completely removed from the cat’s body. The cat may get an erection but may not want to mate because neutering has an effect on the sexual drive of the cat.

The penis will come out of its sheath during sexual erection. When unsheathed, the keratinous projections on the penis will be noticed. Male cats have barbed penis. At the age of 8 months, male cats already have fully developed barbs on their penis. About 120 to 150 spines that are about one millimeter in length point backwards. After mating, the withdrawal of the penis will cause the spines to rake the walls of the female cat’s vagina. The pain is what causes the female cat to howl. A female cat in heat would accept the attention of more than one male cat. The backward spines on the penis work like a brush that clears the vagina of the sperms of the first male cat. The next cat that will mate with the queen will be given a bigger chance at conception. A more important function of the spines on the cat’s penis is to trigger the ovulation of the female cat. Female cats are induced ovulators. Eggs to be fertilized will only be released by the ovaries if the cat is mated. The raking of the backward spines on the vaginal walls will make the female cat ovulate.

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