Cats are mammals and have nipples. Nipples are raised areas on a mammary tissue’s surface and allow milk to flow from the deeper mammary tissues of female cats. They are sensitive and when kittens suck on them, the milk flows through tubular canals. In this article, let us get to know more about a cat’s nipples and if all cats have them regardless of gender.
Do boy cats have nipples? How many?
Yes, boy or male cats have nipples just like females. They have the same number of nipples that females have, which is around six to eight. Some will have as many as 10 nipples. The nipples look like small tubular protuberances and pimple-like bumps. They look similar to small cysts or bug bites, often have a light, pinkish color, and look the same as the nipples of non-pregnant female cats.
Nipples on male cats are referred to as vestigial structures. These are cells, tissues, or body organs that do not serve a function and may arise due to a mutation in the genome. It is in the DNA of all mammals that nipples decelop during gestation and before the sex of the fetus is determined. When the sex of a fetus is determined, the sex hormones of males and females are produced. The testosterone in male cats prevents the development of the mammary gland.
Although they have nipples, male cats do not produce milk since these are underdeveloped. The purpose of the nipples remains sensory despite the vascular backing.
Do male cats have fewer nipples than females?
No, they do not have fewer nipples. The gender of a cat does not influence the number of nipples since they are developed before the sex of a fetus is determined.
Cats from the same litter may or may not have the same number of nipples even though they have a similar genetic background.
Where are the nipples of a cat located?
A cat’s nipples are located on the belly and below the chest area. They are often covered with fur which makes them difficult to spot, but they may be visible if you have a short-haired cat. To locate the nipples, touch your cat’s belly all the way down to its hind legs.
There will usually be two rows of nipples distributed evenly on the right and left side of the abdomen. However, some cats will have an odd set of nipples; this is nothing to worry about.
Can you determine a cat’s gender by looking at its nipples?
No, you cannot determine a cat’s gender just by looking at its nipples since they look the same in both males and females. Both have the same number of nipples that are the same size. Pregnant cats are an exception since they have larger or swollen nipples with a heavier vascular backing.
Other reasons why a cat’s nipples become swollen include the following:
- mastitis – inflammation of the mammary glands
- mammary/ breast cancer
- mammary hyperplasia – growth caused by high levels of progesterone
- feline mammary hypertrophy – benign growth near the mammary gland
- dermatitis – inflammation of the skin around the nipples
- galactastasis – milk collection in the mammary gland during the weaning process
Can male cats get breast cancer?
Yes, male cats can also get breast cancer, although it is extremely rare. If you notice any swelling or changes in your cat’s nipples, male or female, bring him or her to the vet so he can administer a thorough check-up.
How do you tell if a grown cat is a boy or girl?
You can tell if a grown cat is a boy or girl by checking its reproductive organs or genitals. In female cats, the genital opening has a vertical slit appearance and is located directly below the anus. In male cats, the penis appears as a small round dot with the testicles located in the middle and at a greater distance from the anus.
Why does my cat not have nipples?
Your cat has nipples, but they may be obscured from view because of her fur. This could be the reason why you think that your cat does not have nipples. All cats, male or female, have nipples. If your cat was spayed when she was still a kitten, the nipples may be poorly developed and could also be hard to find.
Boy or male cats have nipples just like females. These nipples are located on the belly and are arranged in two rows with an evenly distributed number, usually three or four nipples on each row. Some cats could have as many as 10 nipples, but this is not a medical concern.
Image: istockphoto.com / Gyrohype