Ever looked at your cat and wondered if he had nipples? You are not alone!
While this maybe isn’t a question that you’d be happy to ask out loud, we have all wondered about it at some point!
So, do male cats have nipples? The answer is yes, but they are not functional. Keep reading to find out more.
Do Male Cats Have Nipples?
Yes, male cats have nipples. This is because, like all mammals including humans, cat fetuses start as female and then develop different characteristics if they have male genetics.
This means that, while male cats do have nipples, they do not serve the same purposes as female cat’s.
Nipples on a female cat are very important as they allow the mother to feed her milk to her kittens.
It is a common misconception that the nipples produce cat milk. The milk is produced in the mammary gland, otherwise known as the breast.
The mammary gland can tell when it needs to express milk via the tubular canal once the nipple is sucked by a kitten.
For this reason, cat nipples need to be fairly sensitive. For male cats, the purpose of their nipples is null and void.
They only have nipples because breast development began before the male genetics kicked in and halted mammary gland development.
This is a result of a surge in testosterone as the feline fetus grows and develops.
Do Male Cats Produce Milk?
No, male cats cannot produce milk. This is because they do not have developed mammary glands.
All the relevant structures from an anatomical standpoint may be present, but male cats do not produce enough of the required hormones for them to function.
This is true for all male mammals.
Keep in mind that, while they serve no purpose, they are still sensitive. This is because all the blood vessels in the nipple function, even if the rest of the breast doesn’t.
What Do Cat’s Nipples Look Like?
Male and non-pregnant female cats’ nipples look the same. They are small little bumps or protuberances on your cat’s abdomen.
They are usually pretty similar in color to the rest of the cat’s skin – usually a shade of pale pink.
A pregnant cat, on the other hand, will have much larger nipples. This is in preparation for suckling the kittens after they are born.
Keep in mind that it may be difficult to see your cat’s nipples if they are a long-haired breed.
If you did want to find your cat’s nipples, you need to gently run your hand down from their chest to their abdomen and hind legs.
You will find two rows of nipples on their bellies. They will be easier to find if you have a cat with shorter hair!
How Many Nipples Do Cats Have?
Both male and female cats can have anything from 4 to 10 nipples. Most cats will have 6 nipples that are present in two rows of 3.
Keep in mind that there is no normal number of nipples for cats to have – anywhere from 4 to 10 is the most common, but your cat may have more or less.
You may even find that your cat does not have two equal rows of nipples. This is nothing to be concerned about. It is perfectly normal for a cat to have an odd number of nipples!
Some people think that male cats have fewer nipples than females – this is untrue.
As mentioned above, the vast majority of cats have somewhere between 4 and 10 nipples no matter their gender.
Can You Tell If A Cat Is Male Or Female By The Nipples?
You cannot tell a male cat from a not-pregnant female cat just by looking at their nipples. This is because they will look the same.
You may be able to tell if a cat is a pregnant female by looking at her nipples as they will be larger.
That said, the bulging belly would probably also be a fair giveaway that she was pregnant!
Can Male Cats Get Breast Cancer?
Like humans, male cats also have the potential of developing breast cancer. Granted this type of cancer is very rare, but it is possible.
We, therefore, recommend that you take your cat to seek veterinary attention should you notice any abnormalities.
One abnormality that needs to be checked out fast is swollen nipples. You may not need to seek immediate attention if just one nipple is swollen.
If just one nipple is swollen, have a look around that abdominal area for any signs of injury – bruises, cuts, or scratches.
The swelling may be part of the healing process after your cat hurt themselves.
That said, do not hesitate to make a trip to the vet if you are concerned or if the swelling is present for more than a few days.
If all of your cat’s nipples are swollen, you need to go to the vet as soon as possible.
However, this may not be anything very serious or life-threatening – your cat may have some hormonal issues.
In these cases, you will probably find that your vet does some blood work tests and physical examinations to work out the cause.
So, yes. Male cats do have nipples.
From a purely anatomical standpoint, male and female cat breasts are the same.
The only differences that occur appear when a female cat is pregnant. Otherwise? They are the same.
They both have the same nipple structure and both have mammary glands. Male cats lack the relevant hormones to make their mammary glands work.
This means that male cats can never produce milk.
Keep in mind that there is no normal number of nipples that a cat, male or female, should have.
Most cats have somewhere between 4 and 10, but it is not uncommon for there to be more, less, or even an odd number.
Remember that male cats can develop serious conditions like breast cancer.
If you notice any abnormality, it may be in the interests of your cat’s health to make a trip to your local vet.