Cat Red Rocket Is Out – Should You Be Worried?

Our beloved cats like to groom themselves a lot.

This is the thing they are famous for, right? They can easily reach any part of their body and groom it. That includes the genital region, too.

But why they do it when you pet them? Why cat red rocket is out? What’s that mean? Let’s explain.

Why Does My Cat Get a Red Rocket When I Pet Him?

Since their genital area is usually messier than others, cats spend a lot of time grooming it. And don’t worry, that’s a perfectly normal and healthy activity. So, if you have a male cat, it is possible to see his penis is exposed and he licks it.

Also, this can happen when you pet your cat and you may wonder why and what should that mean.

pet your cat

Well, when your cat feels comfortable, relaxed and enjoys the attention, their penis can come out. Usually, it is not a reason for concern, he just enjoys your attention. That means he feels happy and enjoys pleasure, just like while kneading. Then his red rocket may also be out. But there can be other, more concerning reasons.

First, let’s check some differences between unneutered and neutered male cats.

Unneutered Male Cats

When your cat is still unneutered, then he is fully capable of being aroused and breeding. Their sex drive remains intact. It will lessen as they age, but it is perfectly natural to have it.

Unneutered Male Cats

When a male cat gets an erection, its penis (so-called red rocket) will be exposed out of fur. It is red and doesn’t have any fur.

If your cat was neutered at an older age, he will keep that instinctual behavior of getting excited.

It is important to mention that an unneutered male cat will mark its territory by spraying urine around.

Neutered Male Cats

If your cat is neutered, their testosterone drops and they won’t experience erection again.

This is a misconception.

It isn’t true that neutered male cats won’t achieve an erection anymore. If a cat has been castrated and its testis has been removed, his penis will still function normally. Blood will be pumped and your male cat can still get a physical erection.

But due to castration, its testosterone level drops a lot and the erection won’t happen as much as an unneutered male cat.

Reasons Why Cat Red Rocket Is Out Of The Fur

  • Grooming – If you are petting your male cat during grooming, this red rocket will be just a normal part of cleaning. Cats are clean animals and are known for their long grooming time. Meaning, that they just keep it clean and that’s normal behavior.
  • cat cleans his tail

  • Debris – Your cat’s penis will be into a protective sheath when he isn’t aroused. Sometimes, debris such as litter, dirt or hair can stuck in the sheath. If you start petting your cat on the belly that will irritate the area and trigger the cat to start licking his genitals. And that will lead to an erection. When the cat removes debris, the erection will stop.
  • Allergies – Both environmental and food allergies can cause itching in the genital area. Learn what the allergen is and try to avoid it. That will decrease the cat’s licking.
  • allergic cat

  • Skin Infection – The presence of bacteria or yeast can cause itching and the cat will lick its genital area more often.
  • Hormones – Just like humans, cats go through puberty and hormonal fluctuations. This can cause behavior changes as well as erections and intermittent arousals.
  • Catnip – Catnip has a very relaxing effect on cats. That can cause an erection after enjoying some catnip.
  • relaxed cat

  • Illness – If you notice your cat has frequent erections, then some underlying medical issue can cause it. Most commonly, your cat can experience UTI, which stands for Urinary Tract Infection. Also, the underlying neurological issue can cause a cat’s red rocket. Other symptoms of UTI are excessive licking around the genital area, urinating more often than usual, pain when urinating, or not urinating at all because of pain, so they can vocalize out of frustration. There are more symptoms such as apathy, vomiting, dehydration and blood in the urine. This condition is very serious, so take your cat to the vet immediately.

What To Do About It?

Your reaction will depend on the underlying reason for your cat’s red rocket. Here we’ll mention some things you can do about it.

First, check with your vet. He/she can do some tests to check if there is any bladder issue or infection your cat struggle with.

Cat vet check

If you have an unneutered male cat, consider castration. This will lower his testosterone levels and reduce all sexual behaviors. Many unneutered cats will mark their territory by spraying urine around your home, so neutering will eliminate that behavior, too.

Pay attention when the cat’s red rocket comes out. Does that happen at a certain time of the day? Try to see a pattern when that happens.

It is just normal. Well, that’s normal cat behavior when he is unneutered. If you don’t want to neuter your cat, then accept that as normal cat behavior (except there are underlying medical reasons).

To Sum Up

Most of the time cats are a source of amusement, but sometimes they act weird. Sometimes they lick their red rocket when you pet him, which makes you feel a bit… strange. It’s important to understand why cats do that and eliminate all medical issues.

Joana has graduated in Linguistics in 2014. and began her work experience as a journalist and freelance writer. Her professional writing experience, as well as experience with pets, brought her to Petovly where she’s an editor. Working on the site, she collaborates with vets and animal shelter workers she has met when she was volunteering as a student. This experience made her an expert in pets’ care, breeds, and diseases.