Cat Sex Is Effectively Torture

“Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat.” —Robert A. Heinlein, The Cat Who Walks Through Walls

In A Nutshell

The innocuous house cat is a symbol of laziness and disinterest. But beneath this nonchalant exterior lies a horrifying sexual attribute: Male cats are equipped with painful barbed penises to scrape out rival semen.

The Whole Bushel

We’re just going to say it again: A male cat’s penis is barbed. And cat sex hurts.

Most mammals seem borderline complacent about sex, but if you’ve ever seen cats mate, you might notice that the female seems downright furious about participating. The male bites down on her neck, keeping her from fleeing. That seemingly melodramatic behavior isn’t because she finds boys icky. Cat sex is excruciatingly painful. The cat penis is essentially a horrifying engine of pain covered in a dozen tiny fishhooks.

But these tiny daggers serve a purpose. Ovulation starts 20 to 50 hours after mating, giving rival suitors enough time to scrape an opponent’s semen out of the womb. They probably won’t get all of it. Males mate with multiple females, and it’s common for many kittens of the same litter to have different fathers.

Additionally, ovary maturation cannot even occur without consent from the barbs. The painful scraping activates the hormone necessary to get things rolling in the ovulation department. Not every session causes ovulation, so the pair needs to try multiple times—as much as possible—to get things right.

None of this bodes well for the hapless female. Despite being actively driven to pursue it (survival instincts and all that), she’ll try to hiss and scratch her way out of sex. What’s worse, mating season lasts from January to August, and the female can mate before turning a year old. But this method of mating can produces fierce competition, helping to ensure that the next generation of cats gets the best of the current gene pool.

Barbed penises are a feature of all members of the Felidae family, which includes all cat species. Tigers, lions, leopards, lynxes—all have barbed penises. Lions, the only truly social cat, will pair up for several days at a time, ignoring everything else and copulating upward of 100 times a day. Other species mate briefly with strangers.

Show Me The Proof

NatGeo: Barbed Cat Penis (video)

  • Arjan Hut

    “Males mate with multiple females, and it’s common for many kittens of the same litter to have different fathers.”
    You mean females also mate with multiple males? Bad Pussy!

    • Errkism

      Because cats are demons in disguise. They have a whole range of tortures that they save their tongue for. Dogs are better.

  • Errkism

    That picture made me laugh so hard, considering what the title is.

    • strukef

      hahahaha I didn’t think of that,brilliant

  • Patricia

    But I’ve seen many cats mating–and usually both are purring, although I guess purring isn’t necessarily a sign of pleasure….

    • bsaunders

      Cats purr when stressed or in pain.

      • tim

        My cat purrs when I pet her, growls when stressed or hurt

  • Alyson Donohue Sylva

    Possibly the female cats not only need the barbs to drop the egg but they’re having little kitty orgasms. In that case – Go Barbs!

    • They are NOT having little orgasms. Maybe the male is but if you’ve ever seen a female after the male dismounts she is left in agony pain…. Being a female in nature is horrific

      • PJ Superior

        Female cats do have clitorises though.

        • Rebecca Maynard

          Right, but much like in humans, the clitoris doesn’t get stimulated during intercourse enough to cause an orgasm.

      • Alik Kaspr

        being a male in nature is horrific too. Vast majority of males are just being killed by rivals in their youth, cause male life worths much much less for the species survival, than female one.

  • HolySnappzors

    ugh if i ever find myself breeding cats I’ll just shoot the kitty juice inside the momma, i am not making her go through all o’ that.

    • tim

      Don’t believe the propaganda. I have been a cat owner most of my 50 years and I have seen many copulations. The female not only invites intercourse but enjoys it! The female will scream and howl during the act to entice the male(s) and then she will force the male to “take” it like a man. This falls in line with some of the female human friends I have had copulatory experience with. Its instinctive and ensures the male is physically fit enough to reproduce and provide strong offspring.

      • Aria

        I think the word your searching for with the phrase “take” it like a man is “rape”.

        • tim

          Well, if a female cat can invite rape I guess so. Don’t forget that the female cat actively seeks out this “rape”. Try not to project human emotions onto a non human subject

      • seahen

        So she’s as masochist?

        • tim

          Lol, possibly. It’s more likely we are trying to project human feelings onto a feline subject.

  • seahen

    If the female takes artificial hormones, can she reproduce by artificial insemination or with a male who’s had his barbs removed?

  • Damarea

    I was taught that the barbs are there to stimulate estrus not to scrape out rival semen. Many experts say that the barbs are there to rise the percentage of conception and because of this, feline cats who have mated with more than one male usually has different father for her cubs/kittens. (I.e. A cat mates with three different tomcats and conceives three babies. The kittens looks like a spitting image of all three different tomcats or relatively close) I’m not saying they’ll come out EXACTLY like the father(s), but I’m sure I have my point across. From what I know, lions work this way as well if the female mates with more than one male.

  • Alik Kaspr

    Female cats in heat scream out loud during penetration with ANY object, not necessary barbed cat penis, so this screaming is the sign of pleasure, not pain. Most of cat breeders have to “fuck” their queens with glass thermometer.s tip (that has a very smooth surface!) to calm them down in the heats when they don.t plan to breed this cat (cat should have not more than 2 litters a year to stay heatlhy anx oroduce healthy kittens, but they can go in heat 2 months after giving birth, so breeders have to cope with it).
    And cats actually enjoy this and ask for it again. These barbs on tomcat penises are quite small and soft and they can.t inflict an ‘excruciating pain’. I.d say they are more like riffled condoms, they stimulate, not hurt.

  • Cyramor11

    Cat sex isn’t horrifying it’s natural you twat. For all you know cats can all be kinky and can’t get off without pain, who are you to say what’s good and isn’t.
    just mind your own bussiness mmkay?

    • “For all you know cats can all be kinky” “just mind your own business mmkay?” WHAT!?
      I’m sorry, but this comment legitimately has me gasping for breath.