Do male cats have nipples? It is not easy to find nipples on cats due to their fur, but it is more obvious to think that female cats have nipples than male cats. What would they use it for?
Male cats have nipples like female cats. Typically, male cats can have 6 nipples, but this number can range between 6 to 10. Male and female cats are created with nipples in the womb. When the embryos develop, only female cats develop mammary glands to lactate future kittens.
Let’s see what all the details about male cat’s nipples are and what they need them for.
DO ALL MAMMALS HAVE NIPPLES?
Mammals are vertebrate animals characterized by the presence of the mammary glands (amongst other things), which are used to produced milk for feeding their newborn babies. There is an average of 6400 species of mammals which include cats, dogs, and seals.
All mammals have mammary glands, and in some mammal groups, males and females have functioning mammary glands, but in this case, their mammary glands do not have nipples that include males and females.
Typically, only females can use their mammary glands to feed the newborn, which is true for cats. Male cats, like most mammals, do not use their nipples to lactate newborns.
DO MALE CATS HAVE NIPPLES ON THEIR BELLIES?
Nipples on male cats can be more challenging to find since they are well hidden under the fur, and they are tiny. Female cats, especially if pregnant or if they have been pregnant, may have more pronounced and visible nipples.
Despite the difficulties in founding them, male cats have nipples on their bellies. They should have two parallel rows of nipples going down their belly or chest, with four nipples on each side. But, this number can vary from cat to cat. Some cats can have only 4 or 6 nipples or some other number.
It is not different than a female cat. In fact, a female cat typically presents eight nipples on two rows. But, even in the case of female cats, the number can vary. They can have five pairs, or three pairs, or even odd numbers.
Some people can think their male cat has only two nipples, but in that case, the rest of the nipples may be hard to find since they can be tiny.
But why do male cats have nipples if they are not supposed to raise kittens and feed them? After all, mama’s cat does everything.
WHY DO MALE CATS HAVE NIPPLES?
Male cats have nipples because genetics wants that all mammals develop them at early stages in the fetus, even before sex is decided. When the fetus develops enough to become male or female, the bodies get built to enable a female to produce the milk when needed.
Hormones play a big part in milk production. Male cats do not get pregnant. Therefore their nipples never get stimulated by hormones to produce milk, even though they could. They have other types of hormones and body predisposition.
Why mother nature wants male to have nipples? Well, who knows if in the past males did nurse kittens, or they are supposed to do it in the future, or nature is just being too cautious and preparing for tough times.
CAN MALE CATS NIPPLES GET PROBLEMS?
Although male cats do not lactate and do not use their nipples, still they have them, and because of this, in some rare case, they can get infected or get other problems related to them.
Here is a list of common problems related to male cat nipples:
- SWALLEN NIPPLES
It is not very common for a male cat to get a swollen nipple, but it can happen. Typically, your cat could have been injured right there, and the result is a swollen nipple. But if you see that your male cat is losing liquid from it or lactating, it is a sign that your cat needs veterinarian attention.
In some cases, lactation in a male cat comes from poisoning from hormone replacement, better called female therapy replacement. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is done to help women replace estrogen and treat menopause symptoms. Typically, those type of medications is in the form of gels, creams, and sprays.
If accidentally a cat licks some of the residues from the cat owner’s hands or by accident, the cat gets sick.
2. BREAST CANCER
In minor cases, male cats can get breast cancer. Typically, female cats are most affected by it, but male cats can be affected too. Swollen nipples can be one of the symptoms. However, a cat can also lick his nipples excessively and experience foul discharge, amongst the other symptoms.
3. INVERTED NIPPLE
An inverted nipple is a nipple that tends to go inward, or it is flat. Cats can have it since they have been born, or they can develop it later. It can be a sign of other problems in some cases. It can create discharge and secretions. It can happen in both male and female cats.
If a cat is too overweight, he may not be able to groom himself properly, including the nipples areas, which may become infected. If that is the case, the cat needs to be helped in the daily grooming, and of course, if there is an infection, ask a vet what you can do to resolve it.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How do you tell if it is a boy or girl cat?
Nipples are not a sure indication if a cat is a male or a female. Only checking their sex organs can tell if they are male or female. In fact, nipples are present in both genders.
Why are my male cat’s nipples swollen?
Male cats can get swollen nipples after an injury or because of an infection or other condition. If it happens, it is always good to check with the vet to find its reason.
Do cats have nipples when not pregnant?
Cats still have nipples when they are not pregnant. If a cat was fixed at an early age, the nipples might not have been developing to the fullest, and they are very tiny, like the top of a pencil or something similar. When cats are pregnant, the nipples become swollen and very visible. Sometimes it is difficult to find tiny nipples on a cat belly because of the fur.
When do kittens get nipples?
Kittens are born with nipples. All cats, when they are still in the fetus stage, are made with nipples. Therefore, the nipples are always there. They may grow a bit and become visible in the case of female cat pregnancy.
Do male and female cats have the same amount of nipples?
Female cats and male cats can have the same amount of nipples, or they may have a different number of nipples. It depends on the individual cats.
Typically, cats have two rows of nipples parallel to each other, with four pairs of nipples. This number can vary depending on the case. In some instances, cats can have odd numbers of nipples.
Do female cats have more nipples than males?
Female cats do not necessarily have more nipples than male cats. It depends on each cat how many nipples there are. Cats can have four, six, eight nipples, and even odd numbers.
Typically, for a female cat, it is better to have more nipples to feed all the kittens, but sometimes they can have less than eight.