Have you ever tried locating your cat’s belly button? If you did not have much luck locating it, you may presume that your cat does not have one.
Do cats have belly buttons?
Yes, cats have belly buttons just like all placental mammals. A belly button, also called the navel or umbilicus, is a circular scar where the umbilical cord was attached to the abdomen during a cat’s natal development. It is smooth, has a slight indentation, is located midway down the abdomen and approximately five millimeters in circumference. Upon giving birth, mother cats lick the umbilical cord until it separates from the placenta leaving a small scar just like with a human’s belly button.
If you had no luck finding your cat’s belly button, it could be that you were looking for something that resembles yours. A cat’s belly button looks entirely different since while you have an innie or outie all she has is a small and thin scar, safely hidden underneath all that fur. If you have a dark-colored cat though you could be in luck.
Dark-colored cats have a more visible belly button compared to light-colored ones where the scar tends to blend in with the skin color. Hairless cat breeds like the Sphynx also tend to have very visible belly buttons.
Do cats have outie belly buttons?
No, cats do not have outie belly buttons or buttons that look like a knot sticking out and neither do they have innie ones that look like a dent or shallow hole in the stomach. Their belly buttons do not adhere to the button form since they are more like a flat and thin scar that marks where the umbilical cord was once affixed. If a cat looks like it has an outie belly button she may have an umbilical hernia, an opening in the abdominal muscles caused by the incomplete closure of the cat’s umbilical ring when it was born.
An umbilical hernia would appear as a soft swelling under the skin that protrudes when the cat is crying, meowing, standing or straining in the litter box. This could also be due to hereditary causes or trauma. The symptoms of umbilical hernia may include pain, vomiting, loss of appetite, umbilical swelling and depression. Surgery is required to correct this condition.
These are the two types of umbilical hernia in cats:
- Complicated umbilical hernia – intestines or other parts of the abdominal cavity stick out through the umbilical opening
- Uncomplicated umbilical hernia – the abdominal cavity is not protruding through the navel but there is soft swelling in the umbilical area
Newborn kittens can also develop umbilical infections and the symptoms include swelling, redness and oozing pus. Contact your vet if you have a kitten with this condition.
Where is a kitten’s belly button?
A kitten’s belly button is located around midway down her abdomen, just below the ribs and between the nipples. You cannot easily spot a kitten’s belly button since it is flush against the skin and hidden from view because of her belly fat and fur, unlike humans who have a visible belly button.
How is a cat’s belly button formed?
Kittens are attached to their mother by the umbilical cord and once they are out of the womb the placenta is delivered while attached to them through the cord. While they are already out of the mother, they will still rely on oxygen and nutrients from the placenta until they give a loud meow. This indicates that they are breathing on their own. It also signifies that the cord is no longer needed since the flow of blood will discontinue.
Their mothers will lick the cord until the placenta is detached and will then eat it. Eating the placenta is meant to deter predators lurking nearby, keep the nest clean and provide mothers with extra nutrition. The umbilical cord will still be attached to the kittens until it dries up and falls off. This is how the belly button is formed and its appearance is a flat, thin and circular scar.
Cats have belly buttons just like humans although. They do not have an outie or innie belly button but only a small, circular and thin scar that is safely hidden underneath the fur for most breeds.
Image: istockphoto.com / ramustagram