Do cats have penis?

Is your new pet a she kitten or a he kitten? Determining the sex of a kitten is not easy as males and females would practically look the same. Unlike puppies that already have visible penises and testicles, a male kitten’s testicles would not descend until it is older. It is often thought that male cats do not have penis because penises are not plainly visible. Cats though have penis.

Compared to other species of domestic animals, cats have a unique reproductive system. Unlike other animals, a cat’s scrotum is haired. This dual chambered protuberance hides relatively small testes. Figuring out the sex of the kitten is not easy given the fact that the penis is not easily visible. This is the reason why male cats are often confused with females. The sex of the kitten can be determined by lifting the tail and looking at the space between the anus and the sex organ. As mentioned, the penis is usually hidden but there will be a hole in the area where the penis should be. Rather than a hole, a female kitten would have a slit for the vaginal opening. Another obvious difference is the distance between the anus and the sex organ. In male kittens, the space between the anus and the penis is wider. In female kittens, it will be noticed that the anus and the vagina are practically adjacent to each other. In older cats, a penis that is not erect is completely enclosed by a protective sheath of foreskin. This tubular sheath called prepuce appears like a tuft of hair with a round hole on the cat’s belly. This slightly protruding hair-covered skin is visible if the tail is lifted and the cat is viewed from the rear end.

Once puberty is attained, a tom’s reproductive organ will be on permanent standby. Adult male cats are always ready to mate. Female cats in heat will emit a distinctive scent and would incessantly call until a sexual partner is found. The scent and the calling of a receptive female will trigger a hormonal response in a male cat that will stimulate its readiness to mate. Blood vessels and the connective tissues will cause an erection if the tom meets a sexually receptive female. The penis will then be unsheathed. A cat’s penis and tongue are similarly textured – both have keratinous projections. The mating of cats is a noisy affair with the female cat making blood curling screams as if it is being murdered. The penis with its backward facing barbs is the culprit. At 8 months, male cats generally have grown about 120 to 150 of these backwards facing keratinous barbs. Cats mate in a vertical fashion. These barbs would rake against the vaginal walls causing the female cat to scream and to violently paw the male cat because of the pain. Cats are induced ovulators. Unlike other animals that ovulate regularly, a queen will only release an egg when mated. It is believed that the function of these backward facing spines is to stimulate the female cat to ovulate. The pain caused by the barbs will trigger the release of a hormone that will ripen eggs. A queen in heat will accept the attention of more than one male cat so that the litter is fathered by several toms. Another function of these keratinous barbs is to clear out the sperms to give the sperms of the next male cat that will mate with the queen a good chance to achieve fertilization. These backward facing keratinous projections will disappear when the cat is neutered.

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