Where is a cat's penis?

You know, virtually every male mammal has a pronounced and obvious phallus. It takes little more than a glance under the belly to determine the gender of a horse, dog, or monkey.

However, my pet male cat appears penis-less. I know this is an amusing image, but I actually turned him on his belly and looked for the thing, to know avail. He has to have one, I know! He pees, fercryingoutloud. But where the hell is it? Is it just tiny, or somehow tucked waaaaay inside his body?

Also, I’m curious to know how a cat manages to pee backwards, like when they are spraying. Walk up to a tree, back up, lift tail, and squirt. Does the penis face backwards? And how do the femaes accomplish this? Weird.

Just one of my random thoughts for the day… :wink:

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Ask the cat.

A cat’s penis retracts up inside his body. You won’t see it unless he’s arouse, so either (1) bring him a female cat in heat, or (2) “fluff” Fluffy (not something I would recommend).

Thank God none of my cats have ever sprayed. We’ve been diligent to nueter all our cats before they reach puberty.

On a male cat, the penis is right where it should be, on the belly side of his nuts. JoltSucker’s right, it’s usually retracted. I once rented a room from a woman who had a male Siamese cat. The fastidious little critter would often come into the living room and lick himself in front of everyone until his penis came out, then eyeball whoever was watching him as if to say, “What are YOU looking at?” After making his point, he’d resume his cleaning. That’s one thing I like about cats: they have no shame.

I’ve yet to see a male cat spray as you describe. The other day, a local female cat sprayed into my shrubs standing up, which is easy enough for a female to do, since her peehole is next to her asshole.

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Ruffian, a cat’s penis DOES point backwards. In most male animals that we are familiar with - horses, dogs, cattle, etc. - there is quite a distance between the testicles and the penis. (I guess because these animals are not as flexible as cats, and the penis needs to be located in an area easy to put in proximity with the pertinent female area!) On cats, the penis is directly beneath the testicles, retracted into a very small sheath. This makes it easy for a male cat to mark his territory by spraying (imagine a dog trying to ‘spray’ - cats don’t have to hike a leg). Both the male and female cats’ backs are flexible enough for them to accomplish copulation with no problem.

While you’ll probably never want to do this, you can locate the sheath opening, use your fingers to push down on either side, and a little pink penis will pop out and point at you. (No, I’m not a pervert - I work in a vet clinic.)

For the inexperienced, it can be really hard to distinguish a male cat from a female cat, especially as kittens. Sometimes even for the experienced - as the rearer of numerous litters of kittens, I swear that sometimes they magically change sex shortly after birth just to make me look stupid.

Some days you’re the dog, some days you’re the hydrant.

When a cat sprays, he’s using anal glands, not his penis. The spray does have urine components, but also some other pungent proteins that identify him.

My cat TC started spraying after many years of not spraying. (He’s fixed, BTW.) First, our new cat, Spitz, went into heat and triggered the instinct in TC. After we spayed her, my wife got pregnant, and he started spraying again. (Ruining a $120 sport jacket of mine hanging on the back of a dining room chair.) We’re constantly watching him so as to stop him before he starts.

Gross stuff warning!!

In Senior Zoology, one quarter project was disecting a cat. When we got to the sexual organs, my partner and I goofed and cut off the penis; it was so small we didn’t notice it. When our teacher came by to ask what sex our cat was, we said male, but only because we didn’t see the Y-shaped uterus. He started digging in our discard pile and found it. Needless to say, we didn’t get a good grade that day.

Wrong thinking is punished, right thinking is just as swiftly rewarded. You’ll find it an effective combination.

Where is a cat’s penis? Often enough, within another cat’s vagina. They don’t call ‘em tomcats for nothin’.


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Sweetie, you’ve just not seen a REAL tomcat spray. If you ever hang around with cat breeders you’ll hear the term ‘hoser’ used - we’re not talking a few drops here and there, but running down the walls and making puddles in the floor.

The only good thing about it is that it’s easy to diagnose a urinary tract infection when you find bloody urine running down the walls. (Isn’t that a pleasant image?)

Some days you’re the dog, some days you’re the hydrant.

It’s not the penis on a tomcat that points backwards, it’s the hair on the tom’s penis that points backwards.

Most male housecats have penis hair that points toward their testicles, allowing for easy and painless insertion into the female cat’s vagina. Removal is less of a problem because the penis quickly goes flaccid again once delivery is completed.

But tomcats, by virtue of their hair pointing toward the tip of the penis, tend to cause the female intense pain on insertion, and an experienced female tom tends to fight back viciously when a male tom makes his amorous overtures.

After all, she’s not going to put out for any tom dick’n harry.

[zips on flame retardant suit]

Last I read & a long time back too, was that a cat’s penis has barbs on it. I don’t want to imagine what they do.

Maybe Michelle or coosa can help here.

Sofa King, tom cat by definition is a male cat. There are no female tom cats. Any old house cat is a tom cat if it is a fertile (non-neutered) male.

The cat has barbs on his penis. It is to help them stay coupled until he’s finished. Ever seen a female cat in heat get nailed? Before hand she’s as horny as you can imagine. But when the guy mounts up, she does not look happy. I’m not sure, the barbs may be the hairs. (I’ve known cat owners who “took care” of their female cat in heat by manual stimulation with a q-tip. Much better for her than the real deal - and no kittens. Of course they should have fixed the kitties, but didn’t have the funds for it.)

FYI the barbs are similar in function to the dog who can get stuck in the female until his penis disengorges.

Darn it! Darn it! Darn it!!!

Sentinal took my joke!

Funny guy, really.

The Barbs on the male cat’s penis trigger ovulation in the female when the penis is withdrawn. needless to say, this is VERY painful for the female, who will reflexively swat at the male when this occurs. If you women are down on your lovers, just be glad you’re not a cat.

Having an open mind means you put out a welcome mat and answer the door politely. It does not mean leaving the door open and with a sign saying nobody’s home

Cat specialist checking in here! I had written a nice long post earlier, but when I tried to submit it the board was shut down and my post disappeared into cyberland.

Okay, here goes - an intact male cat is called a tom, an intact female cat is called a queen. The technical term for a neutered male cat is ‘gib’, but I don’t think I’ve ever actually heard anyone use that - most vets and cat people just call them a ‘spay’ or a ‘neuter’.

An intact, breeding age tom does have barbs on his penis. Kittens and neutered males do not - the barbs are apparently present due to hormonal influence. When an intact adult tom is neutered, the barbs will disappear as the hormone levels in the bloodstream drop. This is one way of determining both the sexual maturity of a young male and the hormonal condition of a neutered male. The barbs are not really sharp stickers like hairs but are a sort of erectile tissue.

At one time, it was thought that feline copulation was painful, for several reasons - the presence of the barbs, the growling of a female being penetrated, her famous ‘postcoital scream’ upon withdrawal, and the vicious swat she will bestow upon her mate when he dismounts if he doesn’t move fast enough. However, that theory has pretty much been discredited - if it were all that painful, I doubt there would be such a kitty overpopulation problem.

Cat’s are induced ovulators - they only release eggs after the stimulation of copulation. Current thought is that the barbs are present to provide sufficient stimulation to ensure ovulation, and this is not necessarily painful, just - stimulating (sort of a French tickler for cats).

Receptive queens don’t usually fight off a male - actually, they’re real little sluts. I’ve seen one of my experienced females literally crawl underneath a confused virgin male and impale herself (the boy got the hang of it after the first time!). However, a queen that is not quite receptive, a frightened virgin queen, a queen that doesn’t approve of the tom’s foreplay (some males are very aggressive breeders, which isn’t appreciated by all of the girls), or is uncomfortable for some reason will sure bust his chops. One problem is that the male is ‘flying blind’ - he’s trying to hit a hole that he can’t see, that is wiggling around in anticipation, and he doesn’t have any hands to help him along. Most of the ‘humping’ going on is not actual intercourse, but blind stabs in search of just the right spot. This means that jabs in the WRONG hole also occur, and are seldom appreciated by the queen, especially if it is an inexperienced tom who doesn’t realize he’s invading forbidden territory and tries to force the issue! E. coli infections of the uterus occur pretty often in queens because of this.

What many people interpret as the queen’s violent rejection of the male is actually the culmination of copulation. Once the tom makes the proper connection, the whole thing lasts about 3 seconds, maybe. The queen emits what is called a ‘postcoital scream’ when the male withdraws, and most will immediately turn and slap at the male. (Experienced males combine their dismount with a substantial backwards leap to get out of the queen’s reach.) Previously, this was assumed to be because the withdrawal was painful and the queen was striking back at the male. However, it is more likely that the postcoital scream is actually in indication of what passes for an orgasm in the queen. Immediately after a successful copulation, queens perform a behavior generally described as ‘flipping and rolling’. This behavior continues for about 3 - 5 minutes, and the queen will reject any advances made my the male during this time. The post-copulatory slap is probably used to inform the male that he was successful and should keep his distance until she is finished.

No one knows why queens do the ‘flip and roll’, but I suspect it has to do with assisting the penetration of the sperm into the inner regions of the female’s reproductive tract. Since they are induced ovulators, fertile eggs will not actually be present for 12 - 36 hours, and the sperm must remain healthy and alive within the reproductive tract until the eggs are available.

I don’t believe that a tom’s penis becomes flaccid immediately following copulation - experienced males frequently spend the queen’s ‘flip and roll’ time in a neutral corner carefully cleaning their erection. Cats copulate frequently during the first frenzied hour or so of mating - the record I’ve observed at my house is 6 times in one hour. Only after they have exhausted themselves will they take a break and rest for a few hours. Further copulation is a little less frenzied, but still occurs in bursts of intense sexual activity followed by long rest periods.

Oh, and Irishman, what you are referring to with the q-tip is called Artificially Induced Ovulation. Quite a few cat breeders use this to deal with queens in heat when they don’t want to breed them right then. Queens that cycle continuously without being bred have a tendency to develop ovarian cysts and other reproductive problems, so AIO is useful for maintaining the health of breeding queens when they are being ‘rested’ for a long period of time. There is an acupressure technique for AIO that I prefer because it is non-invasive, so less likely to cause infection or possible injury to the queen (as well as being a little easier for the squeamish to do).

BTW, you will see the same sexual behavior in pretty much all feline species - lions and tigers act just like little domestic cats.

Did I miss anything? Please forgive me for being long winded - I’ve been breeding cats for years and of course do a lot of research into feline reproduction and genetics. I probably know more about the sexual lives of cats than anyone except a cat breeder would want to know!

Some days you’re the dog, some days you’re the hydrant.


are you sure about the barbs not being painful? Both my cat books (Keeping Cats by Gerd Schmidt Hauser and Know your Cat by Bruce Fogle) claim they are. Admittedly Fogle only says they cause irritation. Also the female’s shriek and swat seem to indicate pain. however, I cant claim to have the direct experience you have. Both My girls were spayed some time ago

Great post coosa, but I’m still hesitant on the pain thing. But you are right that “queens” are horny little bit… er queens. I had one try to use my hand to satisfy her urges.

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But you’ve got to admit the opportunity was irresistible, no?

Larry and Irish:

Of course I’m not 100% certain that the barbs are not painful - the only way to know absolutely is to be a female cat!

You are right that it was once commonly assumed that copulation was painful for the queen. However, I don’t think this was based on the presence of the barbs, but rather on the behavior of the female during and immediately following copulation. Inquiring minds then looked for a reason for this ‘pain’ (which certainly doesn’t make evolutionary sense) and noticed the barbs on the male penis. “Whoa!” the inquiring minds thought. “That’s gotta hurt!” And so they assumed this was the case.

However, later research has indicated that this is probably not the case at all. From The Cornell Book of Cats, by the Faculty and Staff of Cornell Feline Health Center, Cornell University:

“The queen’s subsequent coital cry or scream is followed by her quickly rolling or twisting out of the male’s grasp and aggressively attacking him if he doesn’t move away quickly. . . . The coital scream or cry was once thought to be from pain caused by the penile spines, but this reaction can be elicited in queens in or out of estrus, intact or spayed, with any instrument that invades the vaginal and cervical area.”

From Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Book, by Delbert G. Carlson, D.V.M. and James M. Giffin, M.D. (the old edition - I haven’t gotten the new edition yet):

“The aggressive behavior of the queen at the end of ejaculation may be caused by the withdrawal of the male’s penis which contains numberous barb-like projections. They produce an intense and possibly painful stimulation of the queen’s vagina. The same reaction, however, occurs when the queen’s vagina is stimulated with a smooth object such as a plastic rod.”

And from my personal experience, I’ve used the acupressure technique for AIO for several years, which involves no penetration of the vagina at all. Instead, pressure is applied to a spot located between the base of the queen’s tail and one of the pelvic bones. I get the exact same reaction - the growling when pressure is first applied (which occurs during copulation when the penis is inserted), the coital scream (which indicates that I’ve successfully stimulated whatever it is I’m stimulating internally), and the same turn-and-slap when I release the queen. As a matter of fact, I’ve learned to QUICKLY get my hands out of the way when I release the scruff of her neck!

And we may be entering a gray area as to what constitutes ‘pain’. The queen certainly experiences an intense sensation, but I’ve also had orgasms (and hope you have, too!) that were so intense they were almost painful. Maybe what the queen experiences is ‘painfully intense’? In any case, it certainly isn’t the tom’s penile barbs that are painful, and I think common sense would indicate that if copulation were painful, experienced queens would not be the enthusiastic breeders that they are.

Or else they’re all a bunch of little furry masochists. Could be!

Some days you’re the dog, some days you’re the hydrant.

I’ve probably been spending to much time in Great Debates but it occurs to me that the barbed penis issue casts some light on the creation\ evolution debate.

From the evolutionary standpoint it doesn’t make sense that sex would be painful since this would disincline Cats to have sex and thus lower their reproductive fitness.

From the Creationist viewpoint it does make sense, since this would be God’s way of teaching kitties that sex is bad! :wink:

Seriously, thanks for your answer Coosa, I’ve wondered about this.

Having an open mind means you put out a welcome mat and answer the door politely. It does not mean leaving the door open with a sign saying nobody’s home