Do cats have penises?

A female cat in heat would be a very noisy pet. A pet that is calling in the wee hours of the morning would surely test the cat owner’s patience. When the cat has found a sexual partner and is mated, it will make more noise. The blood curling scream of the cat would practically wake the dead. The violent screaming is caused by the penis of the male cat. Yes, cats have penises. Although it is quite difficult to see, cats really do have penises and these reproductive organs are barbed!

Kids are very inquisitive and one that is playing with a kitten would notice the absence of the “thing” that dangles underneath the belly just like a dog’s. This is usually the reason why cats are often believed to have no penises. Cats have a rather unique reproductive system. Unlike other domestic animals, the scrotums where the rather small testes are kept are well covered with hair. The testes will only be seen when the tail is lifted. A cat’s penis is fully sheathed inside a tubular foreskin. The area where the penis is located will appear on the belly like a tuft of hair with a hole or a dot in the center just like a belly button. The penis will only be visible during sexual arousal. The unsheathed penis will be noticed to have backward facing hooks. It appears that cats are big on these keratinous barbs. Cats’ tongues have these backward facing spines as well. Made of the same substance as human fingernails, these keratinous projections on the tongue called papillae are not unlike the stiff bristles of a brush that the cat uses to groom its fur. These keratenous barbs on the penis appear when the cat is between 9 to 13 weeks old and expected to be fully developed when the cat reaches the age of 8 months.

These keratinous projections on the cats’ penises have a very important function. Female cats are polyestrous animals. Cats are prolific producers because female cats are almost always in heat and male cats are always ready to mate. Owners of intact female cats would continuously be exposed to the pet’s calling. A cat that is in heat would be very hard to confine inside the house as it would find ways to look for a sexual partner. Female cats though are induced ovulators. In spite of being almost always in heat, the ovaries of felines would not release a ripened egg unless the cat is mated. This is where the important function of the backward facing spines on the penis comes in. These testosterone sensitive barbs will rake against the vaginal walls when the penis is withdrawn after copulation. The pain caused by the barbs is what makes female cats scream after being mated. The pain is also the reason why the female cat would want to swipe the tom with its unsheathed claws. The raking of the barbs against the walls of the vagina triggers the release of a hormone that will make the cat ovulates. After the mating, ripened eggs will be released in 24 to 48 hours to be fertilized by the sperms.

A female cat in heat will announce its availability so that male cats will come a-visiting. Several toms will compete to get the attention of the queen but only one will be given the privilege to mate. The unlucky ones would only need to wait for their turn to be with the queen. Cats are not faithful animals. Another tom will be chosen when the queen is ready to be mated. Another function of the keratinous projections is to clear the sperms of the other cat that has mated with the queen.