While a slightly unusual cat-related question, it’s an interesting one – do male cats have nipples?
The answer is a definite – Yes.
Male cats do have nipples, although the number of nipples can vary. It’s actually an interesting topic, well at least I think so. So I’ve done some additional research and found out some other interesting facts for you.
Why Do Male Cats Have Nipples?
The more you think about it, the more questions it raises.
Why do male cats have nipples? In fact, why do male humans have nipples?
It’s obvious why female cats have nipples, they are used to nurse their offspring. It’s basic biology.
Males do not need to, and in fact, can’t feed their young milk from their nipples. So, it sent me down a path to find out why, if at all there is a known reason, they have nipples.
I’m a really inquisitive person like that, and once something is on my mind I just have to know the answer.
The best answer I could find regarding humans is that according to the Scientific American (source), it’s that much like some other physical features we have such as our tail bones and appendix. While not needed, nipples also have no reason to have disappeared through evolution.
I found this interesting. It’s almost certainly going to be the same answer when talking about cats.
Can Male Cats Lactate?
If they have nipples, it’s natural to wonder if they can lactate.
The answer to this is actually, yes, male cats can lactate under certain circumstances (source). It is very rare however.
In that article it’s explained that male cats can lactate due to massage-type stimulation of their mammary area.
It happens when a male cat is grooming another, or even if a cat grooms that area often himself. It’s nothing to be concerned about, however.
Another reason can be due to medications the cat is taking. If your cat is on any medication read the instructions or give your vet a quick call to see if it’s a known side-effect if you’ve noticed they are lactating.
Generally speaking, if it’s happening on occasion it’s nothing to be concerned about. You should speak with your vet if you want the peace of mind that there are no underlying issues, however.
Do Male Cats Have More Than Two Nipples?
I’ve been making comparisons between male humans and male cats. So, you may be thinking that male cats have two nipples too.
This is actually not the case. Male cats have more than two nipples.
How Many Nipples Are on a Male Cat?
The answer to this is actually 6, 8….4,5 or even 10…not all male cats are created equal!
Most males will have either 6 or 8 nipples, this seems to be the ‘norm’. They are in two lines too, just like female cats.
It is, however, possible for male cats to have any number between 4-10 (with very few exceptions outside of that range).
They can even have an odd number of nipples!
Why Not Check Your Cat and Count His Nipples?
By now you must be curious enough to go and take a look at your cat and count his nipples to see how ‘normal’ or weird his genetic makeup is.
You might have to subdue him with some fussing and tummy rubs while you’re at it. But that’s the least you can do for using him as a little biology project.
If you find anything interesting or weird please drop me a comment below, I’d love to hear about it. 🙂
I went at found one of my cats, Perry, he’s 19 years old and hates having his tummy touched. I distracted him with some head fussing and took a quick look, he has 8!
I even took a pic, just in case there is someone out there who wanted to see what a male cat nipple looks like. Or, you may have been questioning if I was bothered enough to actually go and look.
Can You Tell If a Kitten or Cat Is Male or Female by Their Nipples?
The answer to this question is no.
There is no way by looking at a nipple if it belongs to male or a female. They look very similar, and as I explained, they have similar numbers.
There are other ways to tell if a cat is a male or female involving other parts of their anatomy. But counting or looking at their nipples is not going to give anything away.
Interested in other kitty characteristics and cat anatomy? You might be interested to read:
- Why do cats open and close their paws?
- Which cats have mauve footpads?
- Why do some cats have different color eyes?
..and you’ll find loads more cat-related facts and interesting information over in the blog.