When it comes to cat ownership, there are often a lot of questions that can be raised by prospective or first-time cat owners, especially when it comes to the more niche stuff, like a cat’s anatomy.
In fact, one of the questions we see asked rather frequently is regarding a cat’s nipples, and whether or not male cats have nipples. Although it might sound rather strange at first, it’s a very valid question to ask, especially if you’ve never spent much time with a male cat before.
So, if you’re a new cat owner, you’re thinking of owning a cat, or perhaps you just have some questions about a cat’s anatomy, then here’s our guide to everything you need to know about a cat’s nipples!
Do Male Cats Have Nipples?
It might shock some people, but the answer to this question is actually yes! Male cats do indeed have nipples.
The nipples of a cat are developed whilst they are in the early stages of growth as they reside in the mother cat’s uterus, and much like most other animals that have nipples, their nipples are formed long before the sex of the cat is determined, which is why both male and female cats have nipples!
A male cat’s nipples are much less pronounced than a female cat’s nipples, which might be why you’ve never seen a male cat’s nipples before, but it’s worth noting that a female cat’s nipples aren’t especially large either!
Why Do Cats Have Nipples?
It might be obvious as to why cats have nipples, but just in case you’re still not sure, allow us to explain!
Cats are mammals, which means their babies grow inside of them and are then birthed, which means that these babies (called kittens) then need to be fed by their mother, which is done through the milk produced by the mother, which the kittens take through the nipple.
Unlike female cats, male cats can’t actually produce any milk at all despite having mammary glands, which means that when it comes to feeding a litter of kittens, it’s all up to the mother cat to do her job and ensure that her young are fed and healthy!
How Many Nipples Can A Cat Have?
Mother cats (which are called queens) often give birth to numerous kittens at once, so it’s important that they’re able to feed them all when they need it, which is why they have so many nipples!
Typically, a cat will have 6 or 8 nipples on average, but it’s not impossible for a cat to have more or fewer nipples than others, so don’t worry if you notice that this is the case with your cat!
Despite this, what is interesting is that cats will always have an even number of nipples and that the variation in their number of nipples is actually completely random, and isn’t down to anything to do with their gender, breed, health, or age! So it’s totally random for each cat!
Where Are A Cat’s Nipples?
No matter whether your cat is a male or female, their nipples will always be in two rows, that will run parallel to one another on the underside of the cat’s abdomen, and how close they come to the pelvis depends entirely on how many nipples your cat has, it’s not impossible for your cat’s nipples to run all the way from the front to back!
Can You Tell If A Cat Is Pregnant By Its Nipples?
Unsurprisingly, male cats can’t get pregnant, so their nipples will be no indication at all as to whether or not they are pregnant.
When it comes to female cats, the answer is somewhat complicated. At first, no, the nipples will provide no sign or indication that your cat is pregnant.
However, if you believe that your cat is pregnant, then from week 3 onwards you’ll be able to tell as their nipples will be enlarged.
In addition to their nipples being slightly enlarged in comparison to normal, you will also notice that your pregnant cat’s nipples will also change their color slightly, becoming either darker or even pinker.
This change usually happens at the same time as the enlargement too, so you’ll soon be able to tell whether or not your cat is pregnant!
Why Are My Pregnant Cat’s Nipples Leaking?
If you notice that your pregnant queen’s nipples are leaking then at first it can be extremely concerning, however, there is absolutely no need to panic at all!
If the nipples are leaking just a little bit of milk, all it means is that the queen’s body is just increasing the production of milk in anticipation of the arrival of her kittens!
Does Leaking Nipples Mean The Kittens Are Due Soon?
A cat’s pregnancy is on average around 9 weeks long, and it's between days 60 and 70 that the kittens are usually born, and whilst leaking nipples definitely isn’t a sign that the kittens are due to be birthed anytime soon, you will notice the queen’s nipples becoming much larger and more prominent as the birth draws nearer.
It’s also completely natural for milk to start flowing from the queen’s nipples a couple of days before the birth, so this is a sign that your queen might be ready to be giving birth soon if you do notice it.
In addition to milk flowing, there’s a good chance that your queen will begin licking around her nipple area if they happen to leak. Again, there’s nothing to worry about, as it’s completely normal, all she is doing is grooming and cleaning herself, so it’s completely natural!
So to summarise, yes, male cats do have nipples. We hope you’ve enjoyed this small guide to a cat’s nipples and anatomy!
At Love4Cats, our practice involves consistent collaboration with licensed veterinarians and reputable industry experts. However, it's important to note that the content provided on Excited Cats is not intended as veterinary advice. While we strive to enhance your understanding of feline care, the information presented on this blog should not replace professional veterinary guidance.