Cat Adoption, Cat Questions, Cats

How Many Nipples Do Female Cats and Male Cats Have?


One of the popular questions people ask about cats is how many nipples do female cats and male cats have? As funny as this question seems, it is an excellent question to ask, especially when you observe that cats have more than two nipples.

Are you curious to know why animals should have nipples like humans? Is there any comparison between the female and the male cat nipples? Well, you are at the right place to tame your curiosity!


The Number of Nipples in Female and Male Cats

On an average, cats have six nipples and some as four, eight, and sometimes 10 or an odd number. You cannot determine cat’s gender through the number of teats. The nipples are part of the gene, irrespective of cat’s gender.

Cats develop nipples from the womb either male or female since they both share the same genetic blueprint. And immediately after the kittens are born (young cats) the nipples begin to get visible.

If you have more than one cat, you will observe the variations in the number of nipples your cats have even if they come from the same parent. The variation in the number of nipples is often a case of genetics. A kitten may develop the number of nipples based on the female cat (mother) or the male cat (father.)


How to Locate the Nipples in Cats?

To check for the nipples on cats is easier said than done. That is the reason most people ask how many nipples do female cats and male cats have.

It is not easy to locate the nipples because of the fur. Still, you can find it in an area below the chest, and nipples are about 2 inches away from the pelvis. The nipples are in two rows with an arrangement that wholly depends on whether the number of nipples is odd or even. By the way, what are nipples?


What Are Nipples?

Nipples are the small knob projection on the chest of males and at the center of the breast of females. For animals with nipples, they are found on their bellies.

In female mammals, nipples are the medium at which the milk exits the breast after the ducts transmit the liquid from the mammary gland to the surface of the chest. The nipples of males are, however, vestigial, which means it has no vital function in comparison with the female nipples.

Apart from humans, some set of animals have nipples too. But, do they share the same function with human nipples? Let’s find out!


Why Do Animals Have Nipples?

First of all, let’s clarify some misconceptions. All animals are under the kingdom Animalia, but, not all animals are mammals. Mammals are animals that have mammary glands, so they have nipples to secrete the milk, except for the monotremes.

The monotremes too are mammals, but, they lay eggs and hatch them to produce younger ones. Although they don’t have nipples, they secrete milk through an opening in the skin. The liquid pours inside a container to be available for the babies to lap. Male monotremes too do not have nipples. It is because the female monotremes also don’t have. And male horses also don’t have nipples.

With this information in hand, female mammals have nipples to secrete the milk for the offspring to suck. On the other hand, male mammals with nipples have them due to the genetic factor, and it has no vital function, unlike the female nipples.


The Female Cat Nipples

The female cat nipple is not different from the human female nipples, which produces milk for the newborn babies. Another similarity between female humans and female cats is nipple transformation during pregnancy.

The female cat nipple too undergoes visible changes during pregnancy and after birth. Changes such as swollen nipples, darker nipples, and the nipples can likewise protrude. Using these signs, you can determine if your cat is pregnant or not. Leaking nipples is also a sign, but, it happens when the time of delivery is fast approaching.


Female Cat Nipples Diseases


Mammary tumor

The mammary tumor is a growth occurring in the mammary gland. If you perform spay surgery on your cats, then it is much likely your cats won’t experience mammary tumor.
Otherwise, there is a high possibility they will have the disease. If you notice such disease with your female cats, consult your veterinary doctor immediately!



It is a bacterial disease that commonly occurs in the milk ducts during lactation. It is most familiar with older cats. You can treat mastitis with antibiotics prescribed by your veterinary doctor.


Mammary Hypertrophy

It is an abnormal enlargement of the mammary gland, and this disease is common with unsprayed, young cats.

Although the disease is not life-threatening, many cats with this disease can experience discomforts. For example, swelling, pain and gland infection. Sometimes the solution is to remove the progesterone coupled with spaying, but it is better to leave the treatment for a specialist.

If you detect any of these signs in cats or any behavioral changes as a result of ailment, you should contact your veterinary doctor for help.


Male Cat Nipples

Male cat nipples don’t have an important function; it does not produce milk for breastfeeding. It develops because both the male and the female cats develop from the same gene. Similar to female cat nipples, male cat nipples can swell or bleed. Moreover, male cats can develop mammary cancer too, but, this case is rare in male cats compared to female cats. However, you should also keep an eye on your male cat’s health as you do with female cats.


Comparison Between the Female Cat and Male Cat Nipples


Milk Production

The nipples of a female cat produce milk to breastfeed the newborn cats, while the male cat nipples do not lactate, i.e., it does not produce milk.



The female’s nipples are more prone to diseases especially the unsprayed female cats, conditions such as a mammary tumor, mastitis, and Mammary Hypertrophy.

The male cats are prone to diseases, but, not as much as female counterpart. They too can have a mammary tumor; their nipples can swell and bleed (if you notice any of this, do visit your veterinary doctor immediately).



Both female and male cats have a different number of nipples. However, the number of nipples on cats, whether female or male, vary from four to ten, or an odd number. But, eight nipples is the most common number of nipples found on cats.


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