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Do Male Cats Have Nipples? All You Need To Know!

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By Nicole Cosgrove

male silver tabby american shorthair cat lying on back

Have you ever wondered if male cats have nipples? If so, what function and purpose do they serve? The answer to this question is yes. Male cats do, in fact, have nipples. But why?

Let’s explore the details of male cat nipples and nip this question in the bud—pardon the pun.

Why Do Male Cats Have Nipples?

Let’s start with the basics. Both male and female cats have anywhere from six to eight nipples on their body, usually in even amounts. The females, of course, have them to feed their young and are more pronounced about 2-3 weeks into pregnancy. They will also take on a dark-pinkish color. Males, on the other hand, have them for, well, no reason at all. That’s right; a male cat’s nipple serves no purpose. The nipples are there because they form in the womb. When chromosomes determine the gender of the fetus, the development of the male cat’s nipple stops, leaving the little male kitty with useless nipples.

Where Are Male Cat Nipples Located?

A male cat’s nipples reside on the abdomen in two rows. If you ever decide to go hunting for them, you won’t feel them that easily. They are small, and their fur covers them pretty well.

What Do Male Cat Nipples Look Like?

The nipple will look and feel like a pimple or small bump. The same goes for females.  The only time the nipples will be easily noticeable is during pregnancy, which makes it impossible to tell the gender of a cat just by the nipples.

Do Male Cats’ Nipples Go Away?

While they have largely no purpose, male cats’ nipples remain for their entire lives. Odds are you probably won’t ever see them unless you investigate (if your tomcat will let you), or in rare cases if your cat developed a medical condition that has made them prominent.

domestic cat lying on its back
Image Credit: mrs. pandora, Pixabay

Why Are My Male Cats Nipples Enlarged?

Male cats’ nipples should never be prominent. As mentioned above, male cats can develop a medical condition, such as a cyst or tumor. A catfight could cause an enlarged nipple if the nipple was scratched during the scuffle, which could lead to an infection. Whatever the cause, an enlarged nipple is definitely worth taking your feline friend in for an examination.

Do Male Cats Have Mammary Glands?

To better understand this question, let’s explain what mammary glands are. Mammary glands are part of the reproductive organs responsible for providing milk and nourishment to their young. There are four on each side of the abdomen starting from the head down to the tail. Male cats do have them; although, they are not quite as developed. They are small and do not serve the same purpose as they do in females.

Can Male Cats Get Mammary Tumors?

Although not likely, your male cat can develop mammary tumors. Mammary tumors account for one of the three leading types of cancer in cats. A medical condition known as mammary fibroadenomatous hyperplasia can develop in male cats; however, this affects females 95% of the time. A yellow-colored discharge is usually a sign of infection of the nipple and should be evaluated. The bottom line here is if you ever feel a lump on your cat’s belly, or anywhere for that matter, take your cat in for an examination.

Can A Male Cat Produce Milk?

One would think that the answer to this question is a big fat no; however, hold the phone. Your male cat can produce milk if the nipples are over-stimulated, usually through constant grooming and licking the area; however, this is extremely rare. Can you imagine seeing a male cat nurse his young? If you ever did, you’d wonder what planet you’re on! Mixed thoughts surround this rare possibility, and some argue that there’s no way a male cat can lactate, but hey, anything’s possible.

Conclusion

If you have a male cat, you’re probably holding him right now and examining his nipples, right? Some of you cat owners might have already known this fact, but for others, we’ve set the record straight. Although they serve no purpose, it’s good to know where they are and examine them from time to time to make sure everything is alright. Remember, if your male cat has an enlarged nipple, further inspection by your vet is recommended. And if your male cat ever lactates, then you have a great story to tell your friends.


Featured Image Credit: Apisit Hrpp, Shutterstock

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