Below is information about the structure and function of the male feline reproductive tract. We will tell you about the general structure of how the reproductive tract works in male cats, common diseases that affect the male’s reproductive tract and common diagnostic tests performed in male cats to evaluate the reproductive tract.
What Is the Male Feline Reproductive Tract?
The reproductive tract of the tom cat consists of the penis, two testicles, the scrotum, the prostate gland, two bulbourethral glands (Cowper’s glands), the epididymis, the ductus deferens (also called the vas deferens), the spermatic cords, and the urethra.
Where Is the Male Feline Reproductive Tract Located?
The penis is located within the prepuce (a protective tubular sheath of skin). When the penis is not erect it is completely enclosed within the prepuce, which is visible on the posterior of the body between the two hind legs.
The scrotum is located just beneath the anus and above the prepuce. It is visible when the tail is lifted upwards. The scrotum is covered with dense hair and is not pendulous.
The testes, or testicles, are normally located within the scrotum.
The prostate gland is very small in the cat. It is normally located near the front of the rim of the pelvis at the back of the abdominal cavity. The prostate gland surrounds the beginning portion of the urethra and the termination of the ductus deferens.
The bulbourethral glands are situated on either side of the urethra.
The epididymis is an enlarged tube positioned along the edge of the testicle. Its beginning and end (head and tail) are located at the front and back of the testicle, respectively. There is one epididymis for each testicle.
The ductus deferens or vas deferens begins at the tail of the epididymis and runs along the border of the testicle, and then towards the back of the abdomen. It passes through the prostate and empties into the urethra.
The two spermatic cords are composed of the ductus deferens, and the vessels and nerves of the testicles. They are covered by a thin membrane. Each cord originates at the tail of the epididymis and extends back through the inguinal canal.
The urethra is a hollow tube that extends from the urinary bladder to the very tip of the penis. It carries urine from the bladder to the outside. The feline penile urethra is very narrow and much shorter than the urethra of the dog.
What Is the General Structure of the Reproductive Tract in Male Cats?
The penis is covered by a protective sheath called the prepuce. The tip of the penis is called the glans, and it is covered with 120 to 150 penile spines that are directed backward, away from the end of the glans. These penile spines start to appear at about 12 weeks of age and are fully developed at puberty. They are absent in neutered male cats, disappearing by six weeks after castration. The penis is a highly vascularized structure. It surrounds the termination of the urethra and is important in directing the stream of urine to the outside of the body.
The scrotum is a pouch divided by a thin wall into two cavities, each of which is occupied by a testicle, an epididymis, and the tail end of the spermatic cord. The skin of the scrotum is covered with dense hair. The dartos of the scrotum is a layer of tissue that lies just under the skin and is made up of muscle and other tissue. Under the dartos is connective tissue that lines the scrotum.
Each testicle is round to oval in shape. The testicles contain seminiferous tubules that manufacture sperm. Special cells near the seminiferous tubules, called Sertoli cells, support and supply nutrition to the sperm cells.
The epididymis consists of an elongated structure composed of a long convoluted or twisted tube. It begins at the front end of the testicle and is positioned along the edge of the testicle.
The deferent ducts are thin muscular tubes that are made up of three layers of muscle.
The prostate gland surrounds the beginning of the urethra, as well as the end of the ductus deferens. The prostate has multiple openings into the urethra. It is very small, relatively unimportant organ in the male cat.