Your Cat Has a Clitoris, and 5 Other Things You Didn’t Know About Cat Genitalia

A brown tabby cat looking surprised and shocked.
A brown tabby cat looking surprised and shocked. Photography by dk_photos/Thinkstock.

One day I was thinking about the marvel that is the reproductive system and how ours differ from that of others, and the thought occurred to me, “Hmm, I wonder, do cats have a clitoris?” Since I’m a total science nerd, I had to research the answer to this question. Before long, I found myself down a marvelous rabbit hole of strange and awesome facts about cat genitalia — and because I’m such a nerd, I just had to share this all with you! So here are some of the things I learned about cat genitalia:

A cat butt.
Admit it — you have quite a few questions about cat gentialia. Photography by Vevodka/Shutterstock.

1. A male cat has barbs on his penis

Intact male cats have rows of tiny, backward-pointing barbs on the head of the penis. When a male cat is neutered, the barbs disappear.

2. Yes, cats do have a clitoris

Like most mammals, a female cat’s clitoris is located on the inside. It’s very close to the opening of the vagina, but it’s not quite as exposed as the human clitoris. However, knowing the location of the clitoris, I can’t help but imagine that those penile barbs cause a pain unlike anything I’d ever want to experience.

3. Female cats have a Y-shaped uterus

A cat’s uterus has two “horns” coming off the main body of the organ. The kittens grow inside these uterine horns, and each developing kitten and its placenta is held in its place as it grows by a special sac called the allantois-chorion.

4. Male cats have a penis bone

Actually, most placental mammals have a penis bone. Known as the baculum (Latin for “stick” or “staff”), this bone helps to keep the penis rigid and inside the female for as long as possible.

5. Cats don’t ovulate until they mate

Although a female cat in heat is ready to mate, she doesn’t actually release eggs from her ovaries until after mating. It’s currently thought that the pain caused by the barbs on the tomcat’s penis when he pulls out causes ovulation.

6. Cats’ penises face backwards

In its regular state, the cat’s penis faces backwards, toward the end of the tail. Even when erect, the penis doesn’t come much farther forward. This, and the fact that a tomcat’s fully erect penis is only about two inches long, is probably why the female cat adopts a sway-backed position during mating: She’s doing the best she can to make it easy for the male cat’s penis to reach her vagina.

Tell us: Do you know any other odd facts about cat genitalia? Are you as geekishly fascinated by this subject as I am, or are you just wishing you could unsee what you just read? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Thumbnail: Photography by dk_photos/Thinkstock.

About JaneA Kelley: Punk-rock cat mom, science nerd, animal shelter volunteer, and all-around geek with a passion for bad puns, intelligent conversation, and role-play adventure games. She gratefully and gracefully accepts her status as chief cat slave for her family of feline bloggers, who have been writing the cat advice column, Paws and Effect, since 2003. JaneA dreams of making a great living out of her love for cats.

Read more about feline genitalia on

12 thoughts on “Your Cat Has a Clitoris, and 5 Other Things You Didn’t Know About Cat Genitalia”

  1. I've had my female cat for 7 months. Almost every month,for 10 days,she's meowing constantly, except when sleeping. My upstairs neighbor gave her to me cause she is never home & I am. Not sure of her age but was tol about 2.5 years. Could my cat have had a litter already? She is only an indoor cat with me but don't know about her past. Any answers would be greatly appreciated.

  2. Tracy Robinson

    Thanks very much for the valuable information. I am also a proud nerd and love to learn especially science. I have 2 female sibling kittens at 8 months and both are now in heat. Just trying to collect as much info as possible and this was great !!

  3. How much jizz could I expect to find in the average cat load? Asking for a friend as they are finding alarming and substantial ‘stains’ in random places throughout the house. As you can imagine this is rather concerning, they are finding between 5 and 7 ‘stains’ per day.

  4. Great article. I am a crazy cat woman and a nerd. So I love interesting stuff like this. My cat has a discharge and I am trying to understand her anatomy to determine where it’s coming from.

  5. I don’t know how I got here, but that was interesting to know anyways!
    (I already knew the barb thing though, I thought that was common knowledge, not the rest of that though!)

  6. So interesting, JaneA! This is simply fascinting stuff, but then I love cats too and often find myself dropping down similar rabbit holes in search of…

    I love to read your posts and always learn something new. LOVED you post How to Play with Your Cat the Right Way, 9 Ways to Turn Your Scaredy Cat into a Confident Kitty, The Cat Headbutt, and so many more.

    Keep on keepin’ on!!!

  7. Pingback: Your Cat Has a Clitoris, and 5 Other Things You Didn’t Know About Cat Genitalia |

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