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.

          • Rebecca, how would you know? The female cat’s clitoris is near the opening of the vagina and covered by a tough layer of skin, which suggests that it receives a lot of stimulation during mating.

      • 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.

      • Nightcristal, how would you know? Most female animals in heat appear to enjoy mating as much as the males do, and females will often solicit sex from a male if not getting enough. If mating really WAS painful for female cats, cats would tend to be a self-extinguishing species. I think our human interpretation of her scream as indicating pain is just human anthropomorphism.

        • Mazuma Sterling

          If you’ve ever seen cats mate; the female is in pain. To deny this and say based on “appearance” isn’t even correct. The cats appear to be hurt .

          • I’ve seen cats mate. The female appears to have been strongly stimulated. Is that the same as “being hurt”? Before mating she does everything she can to attract a male’s attention, then submits passively and lets him bite her neck. When he hits the right spot, she thrusts her hips backward. And she’ll do this several times an hour, for hours on end, with a variety of males. That isn’t the behavior of an animal that is being repeatedly subjected to a painful stimulus. You can elicit the same “scream of pain” from a female cat by introducing something smooth into her vagina, it just takes a few seconds longer for her to climax. You’re the one anthropomorphizing. Just because the female cat’s sex scream sounds painful to human ears, you can’t automatically assume it’s also painful to the cat!

  • 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

        • It’s not rape, not even coerced copulation. The female cat in heat entices the male and willing submits to being mounted and penetrated. And BTW Tim it’s not propaganda, it’s poor quality science and flawed observation. Some scientists still believe that “female animals don’t have orgasms,” when the opposite is very obvious if you watch some mating videos.

      • 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.

    • nek

      Sadly this propaganda gets worldwide attention from “animal rights activists”… more probably hidden closet feminists?

      • What a stupid thing to say. Why does any woman need to be a “hidden closet feminist” in this day and age? Furthermore you are confusing cat biology with the social oppression of women, a worldwide problem. I would guess you don’t get out and date much, do you?

    • Having actually conducted this experiment on an intact female cat I rescued, I’d have to say i agree with Alik Kaspr. Female cats in heat scream just as loudly when sexually penetrated by a smooth dildo, it just takes them 3-5 times longer to reach that point than it does with an intact male cat. They demand sex frequently, mate dozens of times a day and often their “attack” on the male after he dismounts is nothing more than a feint. If you want to you can even find videos on YouTube of female cats stuck together with male dogs, and not complaining too much about it! Female cats are total sluts and they seem to enjoy sex just fine, spiny penises or not.

  • 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.