How Many Nipples Does a Cat Have?

Hey! How about a casual conversation about nipples? Cat nipples to be specific. A pretty taboo topic to talk about but, as a cat owner, there are things that you need to know about cat nipples. So without further ado, let’s arm ourselves with knowledge about nipples.


cat showing his nipples

Do All Cats Have Nipples?

Regardless of gender, all cats do have nipples just like humans. In actuality, it’s believed that the development of cat nipples happens when the cat is in the womb before its sex is determined.

Similarly to humans, all cats start out as females in the womb then some begin to develop male anatomy when the gesticulation period takes place.

The development of male anatomy is due to the increase of testosterone levels, and when that happens, the male cat stops developing traits such as mammary glands.

How Many Nipples Do Cats Have?

Cats can have anywhere between 4 and 10 nipples, with the average number of nipples being 6 to 8. It’s often very hard to count your cat’s nipples when giving it a belly rub. If you see a variation in the number of nipples that your cats have, there’s absolutely no need to panic at all. There’s a lot of variety when it comes to cats, unlike humans.

The majority of cats tend to have an even amount of nipples. However, there are ones that have an odd number of nipples. Regardless, no need to be alarmed. Even or add, your feline is fine.

But wait, can male cats have the same number of nipples as female cats? Yes! The sex of your cat doesn’t dictate the number of nipples that it can have.

In fact, you may have one male cat that has 10 nipples and a female cat that has just 4. While it seems pretty alarming, it really isn’t. As long as your cat has between 4 to 10 nipples, it’s good. Even if you have two cats from the same litter, it doesn’t mean that they have the same genetics at all. They can vary in size, color, personalities, and also the number of nipples.

Where Exactly Are Cat Nipples?

You can find your cat’s nipples above its pelvis and below its chest. You’ll likely find them if you rub the underside of your cat’s belly. Nipples are distributed between a left and right row.

Like we’ve mentioned, most cats tend to have an even number of nipples, so the left row will be identical to the right. But like we’ve also stated, you can find cats with an odd set of nipples.

What Do Cat Nipples Feel Like?

A lot of people may confuse cat nipples with pimples. Actually, we’ve seen people who confused their cat’s nipples with tumors and ended up taking their cats to the veterinarian.

Talking about how cats nipples feel like isn’t a customary conversation, but you need to be able to tell a nipple from a pimple. Keep in mind that it’s hard to find a cat’s nipples if it’s not pregnant.

Locating a cat’s nipples is pretty challenging because cats have a lot of fur and their nipples are just too small. Cat nipples look like red or pinkish bumps. Here’s a clear picture.

Distinguishing between a cat’s nipple and a pimple isn’t hard since cats tend to have two rows of nipples. If you notice any red bumps that look out of place, you want to get your cat checked up.

What About Nipples and Pregnancy?

When a female feline is pregnant, the nipples become enlarged and swollen. This is totally fine, it’s just the body preparing itself for the feeding that it’s going to be doing.

The swelling and enlargement happen around the 35th day of your cat’s pregnancy. When you notice the swelling, it’s advised to not touch the cat’s stomach as the nipples will be sensitive.

But here’s where the confusion starts to arise, not every cat with swollen red nipples is a female cat. If you’re uncertain or worries about your feline’s health, we recommend visiting a vet.

There are other health matters that may result in swollen nipples like mammary gland infection, Feline Mammary Hypertrophy, Mammary Hyperplasia, Breast Cancer, and Mammary Cancer.

Frequently Asked Questions

So now that we have developed a general understanding of cat nipples, it’s time we get into more details. The more you know the more you’re likely to react with good judgment.

Should I Be Worried If My Cat Starts Leaking Milk?

Just like humans, cats can often overproduce milk, which causes their nipples to start leaking. In fact, it’s very common for cats to leak milk and it's actually a great sign.

When you cat leaks milk, it means that it will have a sufficient supply of milk to offer to its kittens. But does leaking nipples indicate that your pregnant cat is going to give birth soon?

The answer is no. Cats may begin to leak milk at any stage of the pregnancy. However, it’s more common for cats to start leaking when their due date nears.

My Cat Only Has Two Nipples, Should I Be Worried?

It’s very uncommon for a cat to have only 2 nipples. However, there hasn’t been any studies that indicate anything worthy of worry when it comes to this matter.

Not all cats have the standard average of 6 to 8 nipples, some may have 4 and others may have 10. If your cat only has 2, it doesn’t really make it less of a cat.

Do Cats Grow More Nipples As They Age?

No. The number of nipples that a cat is born with is the same number it will have for the rest of its life. When the cat is pregnant, the nipples only get swollen but they don’t increase in number.

Is It Healthy For a Cat to Drink Its Own Milk?

Yes, there’s absolutely no problem with that. And it’s not really that they want to drink their own milk, they just want to be dry and clean. After all, cats are the pinnacle of hygiene.

If your cat notices that its nipples are dripping, it may start licking its own milk because it doesn’t like to be wet for too long. Also, cats don’t like when their fur gets too sticky. So yes, it’s normal.

Why Do Male Cats Have Nipples?

Like we’ve already established, male cats do have nipples as well just like female cats. Actually, all male mammals have nipples as well, but why, if they can’t produce milk?

There are a number of theories as to why male mammals have nipples but scientists aren’t quite sure why. None of the theories have been proven yet, though,

One theory suggests that at an earlier time, male mammals had the ability to produce milk from their nipples due to harsh conditions, which sounds kind of ridiculous but hey, no one knows.

Can You Tell a Cat’s Sex from Its Nipples?

You already know by now that it’s not possible to determine a cat’s gender based on its nipples because both male and female felines have nipples, unless the cat is pregnant, of course.

The only time when you can recognize the gender of a cat through its nipples is when the feline is pregnant. This is because the nipples get red and swollen. Apart from that, it’s not possible.

Is It Possible for a Cat to Have No Nipples?

Is it possible for a human to not have nipples? No! All mammals have nipples, and if they don’t, then it’s definitely not normal. The thing about cats, though, is that their nipples are hard to see.

Take cats such as the Birman, Himalayan, or the British Shorthair, for example, being the 3 furriest breeds of cats, it’s going to be an excavation expedition trying to locate their nipples.

In Summary

  • Both male and female cats have 4-10 nipples that form during early development
  • While it’s highly uncommon, you can find felines that have less than 4 nipples
  • During pregnancy, the nipples of a female feline tend to get enlarged and swollen
  • Males are prone to developing breast cancer, but it’s more common with females

Hopefully, the information we’ve provided today has been insightful and we hope that it wasn’t too cringy and uncomfortable reading about cat nipples. If you feel like something is out of the ordinary with your cat’s nipples, we highly advise visiting a veterinarian as soon as possible.

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