Do male cats have spikes?

When mating, the male cat would bite the female cat at the scruff at the neck. Uninformed people would believe that the pain caused by the male cat’s teeth is what makes the female cat scream and paw at the male cat. Female cats scream not because of the male’s bite. What causes female cats to scream is the withdrawal of the tom cat’s penis. Male cats have spikes on their penis. Female cats scream bloody murder because of the pain caused by the spikes that rake the female cat’s vaginal walls. The withdrawal of the cat’s spiked or barbed penis will trigger ovulation.

A male cat’s reproductive tract consists of the scrotum, the two testicles, prostate glands, two bulbourethral glands, the vas deferens and the penis. Kids would often ask parents if cats have penis because the penis of cats are not easily visible. A sheath of skin called prepuce completely covers the cat’s penis. The penis can protrude from the sheath when the cat licks and grooms. The tip of a cat’s penis is called glans. This glans has a band of about 120 to 150 horny projections. These spikes that points backward are made of keratin. Cats’ claws and human nails are made from the same fibrous protein. The papillae or the backward facing spines on the cat’s tongue are made of the same tough fibrous protein as well. Spikes are completely non-existent at birth. Studies conducted have shown that at the age of 5 to 6 weeks, cats have perfectly smooth glans. At 9 weeks, small pits would be seen on the glans. The spikes will develop from these shallow pits. The spikes would start to appear when the cat reaches 12 weeks of age. At puberty, the spikes would be fully grown and would be about one millimetre in length. These horny spikes are only seen in intact cats. The size of the spikes depends on the androgen level. Size of the penile spikes increases if androgen level is high. The size of the spikes decreases as the hormone level falls. This is why neutered cats do not have spikes in their glans. Neutering stops the cat from producing androgen thereby making the spikes grow smaller and smaller. The spikes are expected to fully disappear about six weeks after the cat has undergone the neutering procedure.

The spikes on the cat’s penis play an important role in feline reproduction. Female cats are induced ovulators. This means that cats would not ovulate unless mated or unless manually stimulated. When cats mate, the male cat holds the female immobile by biting the scruff of the neck. This is one way of inducing the female cat to ovulate. The withdrawal of the penis will cause the spikes to rake against the vaginal walls. This causes the female cat to scream. The scraping of the vaginal walls also induces the female cat to ovulate.

When male cats mate with the female cat, fluid secretions that were deposited by the male cat will coagulate to form copulatory plugs. Female cats in heat would accept the attention of other tom cats. The copulatory plugs would prevent the sperms of other cats from fertilizing the egg. The spiked penis allows another tom cat to impregnate the cat in heat. When the penis is withdrawn, the spikes will rake the vaginal walls so that the plugs are removed. This allows the sperms of the current sexual partner to fertilize the eggs. Therefore, kittens in the same litter can be sired by different toms.