People Google "Feline reproductive system" but what do they mean? This could mean the anatomy of the male and female domestic cat and/or it could mean the procedure of reproduction. That is from mating through pregnancy to birth.
Well for those people who want a bit of soft porn (joking) there is a page on the website about cats mating which covers all the angles (and positions) on the subject of copulation between domestic cats. Click on this link: Cats mating.
As it happens the big cats employ similar if not identical techniques but the preamble may be a bit different. You can see a post on lions mating by clicking on this link: Lions mating.
If we are to discuss the mating process I guess we need to look at the consequences, namely pregnancy. Click on this link to read and see more: Cat pregnancy (includes a section on the estrus cycle).
If we are to discuss cat pregnancy it follows that we should discuss ways to prevent it as there are too many feral cats that are euthanized or plain killed. Click on the link to see and read about: Neutering cats.
That leaves one area unanswered, which is dealt with here - the anatomy of the feline reproductive system. Both cats and humans are vertebrate mammals. This means that the Feline reproductive system is similar to the human reproductive system. There are some adaptions. I couldn't find diagrams for the feline reproductive system. It is similar to a human system.
Feline reproductive system - Males
The major parts of the male cats reproductive system are (a) the testicles contained by (b) the scrotum and (c) the penis which contains the urethra and (d) the prostate gland and (e) bulbourethral glands that produce fluid for the semen. Sperm is produced in the testes. Production of sperm (spermatozoa) is influenced by the hormone testosterone. Testosterone is produced in the testicles. Testosterone also has an influence over male cat behavior (e.g. territorial behavior so important for a male cat).
Sperm produced in the testes (which are in the testicles) is pushed into the epididymis [the epididymis is part of the human male reproductive system and is present in all male mammals. It is a narrow, tightly-coiled tube connecting the efferent ducts from the rear of each testicle to its vas deferens] - (src: Wikipedia® published under GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version - see Wikipedia® licensing below). The sperm completes its "maturation process" in the epididymis.
From the epididymis the sperm, during copulation, is moved through the ductus deferens to the urethra, the tube within the penis. The penis has barbs on it. When penis is removed from female vagina it hurts the female cat and stimulates the production of eggs.
Feline reproductive system - Feline penis showing the barbs. I know that this is very undignified and I feel for the boy cat but thanks because it is helpful for us humans to see this. This photo is published under an Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs creative commons License and is by Many Cats 4 Me.
Feline reproductive system - Females
The major organs are the ovaries, the oviducts, the uterus, the vagina, the vulva and the mammary glands. The vulva is the external opening from the vagina.
The ovaries produce the eggs to be fertilized by the male's sperm. Hormones are also produced by the ovaries. The eggs are passed from the ovaries into the oviducts, where fertilization takes place. The fertilized egg travels down the oviducts to the uterus, where is becomes attached to the wall of the uterus and begins its development. Without fertilization the egg is absorbed by the body. During pregnancy the cervix, a ring of muscle in between the uterus and the vagina, closes and prevents access to the uterus. It relaxes at birth.
The page on cat pregnancy has a section on heat cycles (estrous or estrus cycle). The female cat has 4-5 mammary glands either side (10 in total). These supply colostrum, milk that provides immunization protection to the kittens. You can also see a female in heat on this page.
Click on this link to see the Wikipedia® License src: Wikipedia® published under GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version, November 2002 Copyright (C) 2000,2001,2002 Free Software Foundation, Inc. 51 Franklin St, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02110-1301 USA - - no other conditions to the license are added.
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