How Many Nipples Does a Cat Have?

How Many Nipples Does a Cat Have?

How many nipples does a cat have? If you own a female cat and are thinking about breeding it to have kittens, it is only normal to wonder how the little kittens would be fed. Kittens at birth require constant nutrition from the mother cat, and there has to be enough to go round for all of them, or at least most of them, at a time.

So, if you have been wondering how many nipples your cat has, you should find this article helpful. In this article, we will discuss cat nipples, their purposes, the number of nipples felines have nipples, and pregnancy changes. If you have other questions about cats and their nipples, you may leave them in the comments below, and we will be sure to answer them.

Where Are My Feline’s Nipples?

Regardless of their gender, all felines are born with two rows of nipples on both sides of their underbelly. These nipples may be located close to the feline's pelvis or go all the way from back to front. Either way, they are present in all breeds of cats and designed to cater to as many kittens your feline may birth. While male cat nipples usually remain the same, the female feline's nipples may help you tell if it is pregnant or not.

Usually, a pregnant cat's nipples appear pinker or darker than usual when pregnant. The nipples also tend to be larger than what they would usually be. However, even if you suspect that your cat may be pregnant, your vet still has to confirm with a physical examination or lab tests.

How Many Nipples Do Cats Have?

This is a common question among cat owners with female felines. While all cats may give birth to a large number of kittens, cat nipples can range from 4, 6, 8, with some even having up to 10!

Some have more nipples than others, and some less, but usually, the nipples are enough to nourish the entire litter almost at once. And even though male cats have nipples and may be present when the litter is born, kittens generally will not try to get milk from them.

Like all vestigial parts, male nipples serve no purpose, do not produce milk, and are formed before gender is determined in the uterus. Also, like in most mammals, female nipples are usually more pronounced than males.

What Do Cat Nipples Feel Like?

We know all cats are born with nipples, but what do they feel like? How can you tell a nipple apart from growth or bump on your feline's skin? It is simple; while cat nipples may feel and even look like a pimple or bump, especially in young kittens, you can tell by checking if there is a matching nipple on the opposite side.

As feline nipples are in two rows, you should check for two similar raised bumps on both sides to confirm. Or, if you still aren't sure, you can have a vet check your pet for abnormalities and point out the nipples if you want.

What Should I Do if My Cat’s Nipples Are Swollen?

While pregnancy can cause a cat's nipples to swell, not all cats with nipples are pregnant and this is particularly true with male felines.
If your cat's nipples are swollen, it could be due to any of the following health-related reasons:

  • Mastitis (this is a mammary gland infection that may occur while your cat is lactating)
  • Feline Mammary Hypertrophy (benign masses of the mammary glands)
  • Malignancies (mammary cancer)
  • Mammary Hyperplasia (may occur due to unusually high progesterone levels)
  • Galactostasis (commonly occurs during the weaning stage and is a condition whereby milk collects in the mammary gland)

Unless certain it is pregnancy, you should take your feline to the vet if it has swollen nipples.

How Many Nipples Does a Cat Have? Final Words

Here, we discovered it could range from 4 to 10 on different cats regardless of their breeds and genders. We also discussed ways to check for your cat's nipples, location, and what feline nipples feel like. Finally, we outlined the common causes of nipple swelling in felines.

We hope you found this article helpful if you are a new feline owner and have had questions about cat nipples and their issues. If you did, we are sure other cat owners you know will find it just as beneficial as well. To help them find this information, please share using any of the buttons below.

About the Author

Kirsten Heggarty
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Kirsten created The Pet Handbook with the aim of sharing her knowledge about pets, pet food, healthy habits, and more. All of her advice is based on years of her own experience with her pets, and feedback that she has received from grateful readers about her tips. If you want to know more please read the About Me page.