Cat showing his belly

Mammary Marvels: How Many Nipples Do Cats Have?

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The question seems funny enough, but it’s important to know! Many people know very little about their cats, in terms of their bodies, and in this article we’re going to explore cat nipples, so that when your little beauty is pregnant, you’ll be armed with knowledge.

How Many Nipples Do Cats Have?

You can feel your cat’s nipples when you give them a belly rub, but in general, it’s really hard to count how many nipples are down there. So how many nipples do cats have? Like all mammals, male and female cats have nipples. The average number of nipples that cats have is 6 to 8.

There is pretty much always an even amount of nipples, but some do have odd numbers. You may find that one cat has 4 nipples, while another has as much as 10. There really is a lot of variety. The same can’t be said for humans, who in every case have 2.

Kittens within the same litter can vary in the number of nipples that they have. That means that, if you see variation, there’s no need to panic. Every cat is different and unique.

Male Cat Nipples

Yes, male cats have nipples, just as male humans have nipples. The cat’s nipples are developed in the womb before gender is even determined, and that means that nipple count is not specific to the gender of your cat.

Pregnancy and Nipple Size

Curly-haired cat showing his belly while he sleeps on his back

The difference between female nipples and male nipples is what happens during pregnancy. At day 35 of pregnancy, female nipples enlarge and become pink. This is in preparation to feed her kittens when they arrive. That is when it will be much easier to locate cat nipples.

Where Do You Find Cat Nipples?

You probably already know the answer to this one, but let’s explore. Cat nipples are found along the underside of the cat’s belly. There are usually two rows of nipples, and they’re distributed evenly on the right and left sides. There is the occasional cat that will have an odd set of nipples.

What Do Cat Nipples Feel Like?

You may be nervous about exploring this, but don’t be. It’s important to distinguish a cat nipple from something like a pimple. The reason for the confusion is because cat nipples can be hard to find when your cat is not pregnant, so it creates a lot of misunderstanding.

Since cats are so fluffy, and the nipples are small in size, it’s hard to locate them beneath all that fuzz. But once you find them, there’s no mistaking, because cat nipples look like little red bumps. If you’re really lost, go ahead and Google ‘cat nipples’ to see the truth.

Nipples and Gender

One way to tell if your cat is pregnant is to look at their nipples. They become swollen and enlarged. But not every cat with swollen nipples is a female cat. This only makes matters all the more confusing. There are some other health issues that lead to swollen nipples, such as:

  • Mammary gland infection known as Mastitis
  • Feline Mammary Hypertrophy, which is benign but needs to be treated
  • Mammary cancer
  • Mammary Hyperplasia due to high levels of progesterone
  • Breast cancer, both in male and female cats

All this being said, it’s important that if your cat has swollen nipples, you get to the bottom of things. It’s always a smart idea to check with your vet, even if you have a little suspicion that something might be wrong.

Now that you have a general understanding of cat nipples, we’re going to delve in a bit further so that you’re armed with even more knowledge. After all, there’s never too much you can know about cat’s nipples, right? Right.

As we’ve already highlighted, cats are mammals and therefore both males and females have nipples. Often these are misdiagnosed by their owners as a pimple or infection, but in fact, when a cat’s nipples aren’t swollen they’re very hard to find.

You know that cats typically have 6-8 nipples, but odd numbers are possible. If your cat has an unusual set of nipples, there’s no reason to panic. If your son has an extra set of nipples, then it might be time for a bit of concern.

The Most Popular Cat Nipple Questions

Cat struggling to fall asleep while he lays on his back and looks at the ceiling

There are some popular questions about cat nipples, and that’s because deep down everyone is curious. Just as an overview, let’s take a look at the most popular cat nipple questions so that you can finally put an answer to each.

Do Adult Cats Have More Nipples Than Kittens?

The answer to this is no. Cats are born with a certain number of nipples, and that is the number that they’ve got for the rest of their lives. When a cat gets pregnant, they do not grow more nipples.

Should I Be Freaked out If My Cat Has Two Nipples?

Although this is incredibly rare, there is no reason to freak out in this situation. Some cats do not have the standard 6-8 nipples, and if they have 2, that does not make them less of a cat.

Should I Be Concerned If My Cat’s Nipples Aren’t on Its Belly?

Cat getting some rays

Yes, this is a problem. Joking aside, it’s impossible to find cat nipples anywhere other than the belly, If your cat has a nipple on its shoulder, that nipple is actually a pimple or skin growth and you should check with your vet.

Is It Possible for My Cat to Have No Nipples?

No, it is not possible. The reason why you may think that your cat has no nipples is because they’re rather tiny, and under a great deal of fur. When you check the fur thoroughly, you’ll be able to find them. This is more difficult when it comes to longhaired breeds.

Why Do Male Cats Have Nipples?

As you already know, male cats have nipples just like their female counterparts, and that’s because they’re mammals. But the more interesting question is why? Male humans, cats, dogs, you name it; they all have them. They don’t produce milk and aren’t necessary for survival.

Scientists still aren’t 100% sure why it is that male mammals have nipples. Some theories suggest that there was a time when male mammals were able to produce milk during harsh conditions, but none of this has been proven. We’ll just let mother nature keep her secret to herself.

Can You Tell a Cat’s Gender from Their Nipples?

The nipples will not tell you what gender a cat is, but there are several other ways to tell the gender of your cat, no matter their age. The only time that nipples give away gender is when a female cat is pregnant. Otherwise, nipples will not give away gender.

Are Leaking Nipples Common?

Grey cat sleeping on what appears to be a warm, comfortable bed

If your cat is pregnant and they have leaking nipples, there is no reason to panic. Milk naturally leaks through the nipples and this can occur a couple of days prior to giving birth. The amount of lactation varies from mother to mother.

It’s not uncommon for female kitties to produce milk, even when they’re not pregnant. You can also spot lactation in spayed cats. This kind of false pregnancy can even take place in healthy cats. Still, if you see it in your cat, it’s best to check with the vet just to make sure that all is well, especially if it lasts for several days.

Now that you know all there is to know about cat nipples, let’s round things out with some of the funnest facts about cat pregnancy!

10 Fun Facts Regarding Cat Pregnancy

  1. When a cat is preparing to have her children, she’s going through something called ‘queening.’ This is just further confirmation that cats are royal in all respects.
  2. When pregnant, a cat’s nipples ‘pink up.’ In fact, the nipples become red and enlarged, but this is known as pinking up by professionals.
  3. 4-month old cats can get pregnant. This may seem like way too soon, but it is possible.
  4. The cycle of cat pregnancy lasts for 63 to 64 days. With just over two months, a cat has their litter pretty quickly.
  5. Female kittens are always on the prowl for a tomcat. They’ll stand at the door, make noises, and urge themselves upon the tom in order to mate. This behavior goes away when you spay your cat.
  6. The time to go into heat is January through August. Although this is a long time, female cats will only go into heat 7-10 days at a time.
  7. Cats don’t ovulate until after they have mated. This is the opposite of how humans roll, but the male cat’s stimulation through sex actually helps the ovulation process along.
  8. Cats get morning sickness, just like us human females. You can tell when this is happening because your cat will refuse to eat or vomit after a meal.
  9. On average, there are 4 kittens per litter, but often it is fewer. That being said, some cats will have as many as 8 in their litter. Younger cats are prone to having larger litters.
  10. One litter can be produced by multiple fathers. You read that correctly. The kittens in one litter can come from different toms. If more than one tom is mated with during a heat cycle, the litter can have more than one father.
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Mammary Marvels: How Many Nipples Do Cats Have?

Product data was last updated on 2019-11-18.

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