In this vast world we’re living in, our kitty pals are perhaps one of the coolest pets that anyone can have.
Though most people think of them as the aloof type of animals, some still prefer to adopt cats and welcome them in their homes.
Besides their magnificent and soft fur, their adorable personalities make them a companion that no one can’t resist cuddling up to.
But, has it ever crossed your mind how many nipples our kitty pals have? Well, if this is something new to you, or you’d simply want to know more about it, make sure to keep reading below.
How many nipples do cats have?
There is no exact way to answer this question. But, on average, a cat can have anywhere from as little as four nipples to a maximum of 10. However, a cat’s breed, gender, health condition, or age cannot tell us exactly how many nipples will appear on their rotund bellies.
Facts about the number of nipples a cat can have
As mentioned earlier, a typical feline will have around four to ten nipples regardless of their gender, age, health condition, or breed.
Even if you mull over why the number of nipples varies, there is no specific or even reasonable answer for this variation.
As long as these nipples serve their primary function of feeding milk to adorable little kittens, there’s nothing you can do much about it.
Typically speaking, these mammary glands we’ve been talking about for a while now grow in parallel rows on the cat’s stomach. Thus, we think that our feline pals always have an even number of nipples.
However, contrary to popular belief of having an even number of nipples, sometimes, the oddball cat can grow an extra nipple on them.
Yes, you heard me right there. Felines can have an unpaired nipple lying on their bellies. But, while it’s bizarre, it’s not actually something you should worry about.
Normally, we find that our kitty pal’s nipples grow in rows. We usually locate them by touching their bellies and feeling them all the way to their hind legs.
With this palpation, we can sometimes discover the occasional cat having an extra nipple growing unpaired.
Despite this little oddity, there’s no apparent reason why such a case happens. You can blame it on the genes the kitty inherited from its parents, but there’s no way for you to correct it.
So long as your feline pal’s nipples stay in the belly, don’t look odd, and don’t grow in size in a short time period, you’ve got nothing to fret about.
Just think of it like it’s a little fluke of nature that will all the more make your beloved feline unique from the rest.
Aside from the odd-even nipple number debate going on, don’t you know that felines coming from the same litter can have a varying number of teats growing on them?
Despite coming from the same parents, it isn’t a guarantee that each kitten will have the same number of nipples on them.
Even if you get an all-male, all-female, or combo litter, all the kittens in that particular group won’t have the exact same number of teats on them.
In connection to that, the number of nipples you’ll find on them since their birth will still stay the same throughout their life. The nipples may swell in females when they’re pregnant and lactating, but it doesn’t affect their number at all.
Why male cats have nipples
Physiologically speaking, both male and female cats have nipples dotting their bellies.
But, while it’s clear to us that nipples serve to feed adorable kittens with milk when female felines give birth, such isn’t the case for males.
So, why then do male cats have nipples if they’re non-functional?
Well, you’ll have to go way back to when your furry kitty pal’s still inside its mother’s womb.
As we all know, pregnancy serves as the period for any young mammal (cats included) to develop all their organs before they’re pushed into the world.
Since cats are part of the mammal group, it’s embedded in their DNA that nipples will start forming regardless of what gender it has. So, long before the kitty’s genital organs develop, nipples are already formed.
And, once the gender of the fetus’ already determined, the body then releases certain types of hormones specific to it. In males, their bodies produce high amounts of testosterone.
It is this testosterone that tells the male cat’s developing body to stop growing those nipples. Hence, it’s no wonder that those teats are even called rudimentary or vestigial.
With that, these vestigial nipples don’t serve any functional purpose for our male cat friends. No milk will come out of them at any time of their life cycle.
But, as nipples have a rich vascular and nerve supply, they’re very sensitive touch-wise. Hence, it’s safe to say that nipples for male cats are simply accessory structures.
When to worry about your cat’s nipples
Though nipples aren’t considered to be vital structures of a feline’s body, these seemingly “useless” structures can provide cues if the cat’s experiencing a life-threatening illness.
So, when should you consider nipples to be a problem?
Before we dive right into the worrying changes in a cat’s nipples, you’ll have to have a general idea of how they normally look like.
Typically, a cat’s nipples feel pimple-like to the touch. They’re normally found on the underside of their bellies regardless of their gender.
Usually, you can locate them through palpation from the chest down to their tummy. Sometimes, they can even extend near their hind legs.
As mentioned earlier, nipples tend to grow in parallel rows, giving each one of them a pair.
Though there’s the occasional odd nipple without a partner, it’s nothing to worry about if it stays in the belly area.
And, if your kitty pal’s a female, you don’t need to fret as well if they start growing in size, turning pink, and becoming more sensitive to the touch.
These are just normal changes that these structures undergo during the course of pregnancy.
However, if you find a nipple-like structure growing other than the belly area, that should sound the alarm for you.
If you feel one growing on a cat’s shoulder, back, or neck, it implies an underlying health condition. Sometimes, it can be as simple as benign skin growth.
But, you shouldn’t immediately dismiss this finding as this can pinpoint to the dreaded big C. So, if you want to be sure of your feline pal’s overall health, better visit the vet straight away.
Now that you know all this stuff about feline nipples, you can rest assured that the number of nipples they have doesn’t affect their overall spunky personalities.
As reiterated already, if it doesn’t cause any trouble for your kitty pal, then you’ve got absolutely nothing to worry about.
Just relax and enjoy the company that these adorable creatures bring to your life, and you’re good to go.