Do Male Cats Have Nipples?

The short answer is yes, male cats do have nipples. But since you asked, don’t you want to know more about cat nipples? I mean, who doesn’t?

do male cats have nipples - close up of Ragdoll caymus' nipple - cat tits

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Why do male cats have nipples?

do male cats have nipples a male Ragdoll laying on his back with his nipples uncovered
Do Male Cats Have Nipples

Like all mammals, including humans, male cats have nipples. But they do not serve the same purpose as the ones of female cats. For females, nipples are extremely important because they are involved in the feeding of the kittens.

The milk is produced by the mammary gland, commonly known as the breast, which the nipple is a very important part of. Nipples are very sensitive and when the kitten begins to suck on them, the milk is released through tubular canals.

As for males, the nipples lack a clearly-defined purpose.

So, why do they have them then? It’s all related to fetal development. It’s in the DNA of all mammals that nipples be developed before the sex of the fetus is determined.

So, it’s all in the order of things. For males, the nipples do get developed, but the process is not completed, as it is in females.

Nipples on male cats are vestigial structures, from a genetic standpoint. After the sex of the fetus is determined, different types of sex hormones in males and females are produced. The testosterone in the male cat halts the development of the mammary gland.

Do male cats produce milk?

No, male cats do not produce milk.

Even though they have nipples, as well as mammary glands, these are undeveloped and cannot produce milk. This is the same for all mammal males. The nipples do have a very heavy nervous and vascular backing, but their purpose remains sensory.

What do male cat’s nipples look like?

male cat nipples close photo uncovered from long fur

Male cat nipples look like small tubular protuberances. They bear the color of the cat’s skin, so they are a pinkish light color.

They look the same as the non-pregnant female cat nipples, even though you might expect to find differences between them. It is only after the female cat becomes pregnant that its nipples become larger.

Where are cats’ nipples on their bodies?

Triggs ragdoll male photo collage showing where nipples are located

The cat’s nipples are located on their bellies, well below the chest area, where you would normally expect to find them. They may be difficult to find because they are usually covered in fur. 

However, 2 nipples are found easily among the fur fine line on the lower belly. The male and female cat has two parallel rows of nipples that run parallel to the side of the abdomen toward the pelvis.  

In short-haired cats, these may be visible, but in longer-haired cats, these are usually completely covered. To locate the nipples on the cat’s body, you have to touch its belly and touch it all the way down to its hind legs. You will find them on both sides, in even rows.

Can you tell if a cat is male or female by looking at the nipples?

do male cats have nipples Triggs laying on his back with nipples showing

No, you can’t determine a kitten’s sex by looking at its nipples because they look the same in both males and females. They both have the same number of nipples, they look like normal cat nipples and they are the same size.

The only exception is the pregnant cat, which has larger nipples with a heavier vascular backing. However, in this case, the cat’s sex is obvious.

Can male cats get swollen nipples?

While this is quite rare, male cats can get swollen nipples. If only one nipple is swollen, then it might be caused by a local injury. You should examine the area for:

  • Scratches
  • Bruises, or
  • Other signs of injury.

If the swelling is present in all of the male cat’s nipples, then it is time to go to the vet. The likeliest cause is hormonal and the doctor will have to do an examination and blood work.

How many nipples do cats have?

male cat nipples uncovered from long hair feline

The answer to this frequently asked question is between 4 and 10. This is a lesser-known fact about cats – there is no exact number of nipples that is normal for them. While most cats have 6 nipples, there is plenty that has 8 or 10, or as little as 4 and it is all normal.

Most cats have an even number of nipples, but there can be exceptions to that as well.

Can cats have an odd number of nipples?

do male cats have nipples odd or even numbers

Yes, they can. While most cats have their nipples in even rows, placed one parallel to the other, some cats have an extra nipple, which does not have a correspondent on the other side. This is perfectly normal.

If your cat has an odd number of nipples, there is no reason to worry.

Do male cats have fewer nipples than females?

No, they do not. Both male and female cats have the same number of nipples. As we mentioned above, the nipples are developed before the sex of the fetus is determined, which means that the number is not influenced by sex.

Do all cats from the same litter have the same number of nipples?

male Ragdoll cat tummy close photo showing nipples

Cats from the same litter have a similar genetic background, but not an identical one, which means that they can have a different number of nipples. It is perfectly normal for one cat to have 6 nipples and its brother to have 8.

Can male cats get breast cancer?

Yes, unfortunately, they can.

Breast cancer or mammary cancer in male cats is extremely rare, but it is not impossible. This is why it is very important to take your cat to the vet if you notice any swelling or modification around the nipple, even if you have a male cat.

This is also the reason why your doctor checks the nipples on your cat, even though it is male.

What are the common health issues with male cats’ nipples?

The most common health issues are:

  • Mastitis
  • Galactostasis
  • Feline mammary hypertrophy
  • Mammary cancer.

Do cats get infected with mastitis?

Mastitis is a common infection in cats. The udder area swells and becomes painful. If your feline friend has swollen nipples, you might assume it’s mastitis.

But remember, if male cats have nipples but they don’t have milk ducts. So, they will never develop mastitis. The teat injury may occur in a male cat due to physical trauma.

Mastitis is a painful and sometimes life-threatening infection that occurs in the milk glands of the queen. A bacterial infection, mastitis, is often caused by blockage or clogging of the milk ducts due to a teat nipple that has become infected or inflamed. 

We can differentiate mastitis from galactostasis.

In galactostasis, the milk is collected during the weaning period from the nipples and leads to engorgement of nipples. Pet owners confuse it with mastitis, but it’s a normal process.  

Can a Tomcat develop Feline mammary hypertrophy?

No, as they do not have milk ducts, they cannot develop feline mammary hypertrophy. It is a benign or non-cancerous growth that develops along with milk ducts.

However, a cat’s udder is prone to getting infected and enlarged. It is also considered a hereditary disease that is treated with surgery. However, male cats have nipples but don’t have milk glands, so this problem does not exist for them.  

FMH is also described as a condition in which the cat develops an enlarged udder due to the overproduction of milk. In most cases, one can find no underlying cause for this condition. Treatment generally involves removing the excess tissue via surgery.

What is the significance of male cats’ nipples?

A male cat typically has nipples, but these are not for milk production and you can’t count on your boy to nurse newborn kittens. Male cat nipples result from a mutation that causes the formation of teat ducts.

Feline share the same gene for nipples development, so if one is present in one sex, it will be present in the other. A male cat’s nipples are not functional because they don’t produce milk or any other fluid to feed kittens with. They serve no purpose to their reproductive system.

Do all mammals have nipples? 

No, not all mammals have nipples.

The platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) is a semiaquatic mammal endemic to eastern Australia, including Tasmania.

Together with the four species of echidna, it is one of the five extant species of monotremes. The only mammals that lay eggs and do not have nipples instead of giving birth to live young.

But if you’re asking yourself “Do male cats have nipples?”, the answer is yes.

Characteristics of a male kitten’s nipples 

In general, a male cat has 4 to 5 nipples in a row. These are usually smaller than a female’s nipples, and they can be difficult to see without a closer look.

How many nipples does a male cat have?

Usually, cats (both male and female) would have 8 nipples. But the number can vary, some cats have 4, some 10. There are even felines with an odd set of nipples.

However, in male cats, you may find them harder to spot on your cat’s belly because they are smaller than in female kittens.

How to tell if a male cat has nipples?

If your feline friend is an adult, you can look for the nipples on your cat’s stomach. To answer the question do male cats have nipples? you need to check your kitten’s belly, just below the navel. If you don’t see any bumps, these are your cat’s nipples.

Male cat nipples are those small bumps or protrusions on the cat’s breastbone, found at the end of the sternum (breastbone). The nipple-like projections are not true nipples because they do not contain milk ducts or mammary glands.

Differentiation between male cat and female cat nipples

Nipples are found in both male and female felines.

Male cat nipples are not the same as females’ nipples. They are often smaller than females and they don’t produce milk. The nipples in the male cat are vestigial or evolutionary leftovers from their cat ancestors. The same is true of human males’ nipples, as well.

Male cats, just like human boys, have nipples. Both male and female kittens have mammary glands, but the male cat’s nipples lack a milk-producing gland. That means a boy cat can’t nurse kittens.

What is nipple sensitivity? 

Like all other parts of the body, nipples have their function.

Nipples are made up of a group of tissue that surrounds the tip of the breast and extends to the areola. The nipple contains many nerve endings that make it very sensitive to touch. Nipples also secrete milk when stimulated.

Genders distinguish factor – Pregnancy 

It is difficult to distinguish between queen and Tomcat simply by looking at their nipples.

It’s only when the queen is pregnant that the changes begin to occur, and you’ll be able to discern differences. The difference will appear about 35 days’ pregnancy because she is prepping to nurse the kittens. 

Male cats have nipples, but they do not have mammary glands. The mammary glands are located in the cat’s chest below the front legs and in front of the hind legs.

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. Both genders 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 development. The Queen’s ovarian hormones like estrogen (E2) and progesterone (P4) allow the mammary glands to enhance and develop milk production.

Lactation in the queen is influenced by estrogen and progesterone, which are absent or in very low levels in a male cat. Did you know that male cats have nipples even during their embryonic life? Yes it’s true.

As in cats, the embryo develops inside the uterus, and male and female embryos look the same. So it means that both genders develop nipples during embryonic life, in their mother’s womb.  

Does a tom get mammary tumors?

Mammary tumors are common among queens, but they can also occur in a male cat.

Tumors that occur on the mammary glands are called mammary fibroadenomas. They usually grow slowly and may not cause any symptoms in male cats. Mammary tumors in male cats usually happen in:

  • Middle-aged to older males who have been neutered and
  • Cats with a high incidence of other health problems and
  • Cats, who commonly suffer from infections.

How to differentiate between male and female kittens? 

It’s good to be able to differentiate between both genders early. In determining the gender of a cat, there are some necessary factors that you should consider.

First, there are differences in male kittens’ appearance, behavior, and habits compared to female kittens. But if you want to guess which kittens are boys and which are girls, seeing their nipples won’t help. Do male cats have nipples? Yes, they have.

If you want to determine the genders of baby kittens, you need to inspect their genitals. For example, the genital opening looks like a vertical slit located directly below the anus in a queen kitten.

While in the male kitten, the testicles are ball-like structures located in the middle below the tail and have more distance from the anus. It is the point by which we can differentiate a kitten’s sex.

What does a nipple feel like? 

The nipples in the cat feel like a pimple, just like small bumps, small cysts, or bug bites. If you feel a bump on your pet cat belly, do not panic; it’s a normal structure. These are the nipples; a simple way to describe the cat’s nipple is like a bump.

Why do male kittens have nipples?

Male cats have nipples because they are genetically programmed to grow female reproductive organs. Feline with two X chromosomes in their DNA will develop queen reproductive organs, udder, and nipples.

When the cat has only one X chromosome, it will be a male cat and may develop rudimentary nipples or mammary glands due to testosterone. But male cats do have nipples when they’re mature; however, they’ll never produce milk from their nipples. 

In Conclusion

So, yes, male cats do have nipples, and you can feel them when you touch your cat’s belly.

Give it a try! Can you find them? How many nipples does your cat have? Tell us all about your findings in the comments section below.

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Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,

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3 Comments

  1. M. T. Tombs says:

    Well then I have a very unique orange and white miniature tabby cat that is male. Why is he unique? Because we found a small kitten roaming around with no mama in sight or any other kittens. We took him in, he was around maybe 3-4 weeks old at a guess. He wasn’t ready for canned or dry kitten food. We only had a few spayed females at the time and none of them could produce milk to feed the kitten. We bought a kitten feeding kit so we could bottle feed him, but he kept rejecting it.
    Along comes our male cat, who is also neutered, but somehow, and in some way he managed to produce milk and feed the kitten! I actually have photo’s and I believe a video, maybe a few of him “nursing” the kitten! I checked his nipples after the kitten fed on him and sure enough, he was lactating milk for the kitten. I had the milk on my fingers when I checked his nipples. The kitten nursed on him until Merlin Pendragon {what we named him} weaned the kitten off him, taught the kitten how to use the litter box, where the food dishes and water bowl was located when Casper {name we finally gave the kitten} was ready for dry and wet food. Strangest cat experience I’ve ever seen. Sadly we lost Casper just under a year after we found him and took him in. He apparently was bitten by a black widow spider and his small body couldn’t handle the toxins. We didn’t know he’d been bitten by anything, just woke up one morning to find he had passed away sometime during the night. Before we went to bed, we checked on our cats and he was fine, playing, drinking and eating. So we were shocked and saddened when we found him dead the next morning in his favorite sleeping spot.
    But I’d never heard of anything like this Mhappening. Don’t know if it will ever happen again, but something strangely unique that happened. Believe it or not, its 100% true.

  2. Thank you for sharing this. I have brothers from the same litter and had noticed prominent nipples on one boy but not the other. Also, because one boy is bigger in statue and slightly heavier I questioned whether the smaller cat could possibly be female. There are lots of other contributing factors such a a high pitched meow (he sounds like a door is squeaking when he meows) and he is much more and affectionate and gentle than my other cat. I have to say, through your articles, I learn something new every time I read them.

  3. SUPER FABULOUS & PAWESOME POST, Jenny honey! Very educational! Lurve the included pics, too! I learned A LOT! TYSVM!!! 🙂 <3

    Big hugs & lots of love & purrs!

    Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3 <3 <3

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