Feline sex is sado-masochistic

The male domestic cat is a sadist and the female is a masochist. That’s a slight exaggeration and I’m using colourful language but there is an element of truth in it. This is a follow-up post to the successful one written by Elisa on “cat rape“.

Male cat's penis, an instrument of torture
Male cat’s penis, an instrument of torture. Photo published under Creative Commons, Many Cats 4 Me.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

I think by now most people know that the male cat’s penis is covered in 120-150 short, sharp spines and they all point away from the tip. It can be inserted easily but when it is withdrawn it causes a spasm of intense pain to the female and she reacts by crying out in anger and possibly twisting around to attack him. The male has to factor this in when withdrawing. Copulation lasts a few seconds.

The male has no choice. His spines are all fixed in the same direction. We are told that the sexiest males cause females the most pain because the more sexually virile the male is the bigger his spines.

“This violent moment acts like the firing of a starting pistol which sets her reproductive hormonal system in operation.” – Cat Watching.

The reason for the spines and the intense pain and shock that they cause to the female is to trigger ovulation in the female cat. Cats only ovulate after they have been mated by the male unlike in humans. It takes about 25 to 30 hours. This doesn’t matter because the female cat remains in heat for at least three days. This means that she is actively copulating when ovulation occurs.

As for the male, having caused pain to a female, within about 30 minutes he is actively interested in sex again. He is ready to be mated once more.

The sort of pain that the female encounters during sex is not the kind which deters her from doing it again. Definitely masochistic. This cycle continues for a day or two at a gradually decreasing rate. If she does not become pregnant she comes into season again every couple of weeks until she conceives. A female can become pregnant by more than male.

P.S. Sadism and masochism are human concepts. They don’t apply to cats. I have used the language to make the point.

Sources: Myself, Cat Sense (Dr Bradshaw), Catwatching (Dr Desmond Morris).

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