One of the major reasons a man devotes time and attention to proper penis care is to reduce the likelihood of erectile dysfunction. Since sexual pleasure and satisfaction tend to revolve around the ability of the penis to attain and maintain an erect state, it’s understandable that erectile dysfunction avoidance is uppermost in a man’s mind. Recently, the internet has been abuzz with a rumor that cat scratches can cause a guy to become impotent. Is this just a rumor, or is there truth in this claim?

The facts

Although the claim sounds kind of far-fetched, it actually is true: science has recorded at least one incidence in which a man experienced erectile dysfunction as a result of being scratched by a cat. However, that doesn’t mean that every guy who gets nipped by a tabby needs to worry about whether he will be able to rise to the occasion when in bed.

The case in question involved a 23-year-old man who went to the emergency room because he had been experiencing fever, chills and sweating for several days. In addition, he had lost more than 20 pounds over about a six-month period, and was suffering from pains in his back, pelvis, penile glands and balls, as well as swollen lymph nodes. And yes, he reported that he had been having significant trouble in the erectile department as well.

The doctors of course tested him for obvious culprits, such as sexually-transmitted infections (STIs), but those tests came back negative. He also (fortunately) was not suffering due to lymphoma, which often presents with many of the symptoms he had listed.

The cat connection

However, the doctors did note the presence of a kind of bacteria known as Bartonella henselae. This is the bacteria responsible for cat scratch disease. Many men are familiar with the phrase "cat scratch fever" because of the classic Ted Nugent song - but not many people know anything about the actual sickness. Having thus made this diagnosis, the doctors were able to prescribe an appropriate antibiotic treatment, and in about three weeks, the patient had made a decisive recovery.

So yes, a cat did cause this man’s erectile dysfunction, but it’s important to know that this is an extremely rare result. In the first place, most cats do not carry the bacteria in question. In the second, even when they do, not everyone who gets scratched develops a sickness. And even when they do get sick, there can be a huge variation in how severe it is.

This unfortunate gentleman just suffered an extreme reaction to the bacteria. In his case, the bacteria caused nerve damage in the penis, making it difficult for those nerves to send and receive the signals needed for the erectile process to function properly. In the overwhelming majority of cases of cat scratch, the penis is unaffected. (If the scratch is directly on the penis, of course, there will be definite penis pain and discomfort, but hopefully no bacteria-related nerve damage and subsequent erectile dysfunction.)


So what should a guy do if he is scratched by a cat? Most doctors recommend cleaning it with soap and water and perhaps applying a mild disinfectant. But if he does develop symptoms, such as swollen lymph nodes, seeing a doctor is advised.

Erectile dysfunction due to a cat scratch is very rare, but it always pays to keep the penis in its bets possible health - and regular application of a top notch penis health crème (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil, which is clinically proven mild and safe for skin) can help in this regard. Look for a crème with both L-arginine and L carnitine. The latter is an aid in the process whereby penis blood vessels remain receptive to increased blood volume. The latter is a neuroprotective ingredient that can help protect against diminished sensation due to overuse or aggressive use.