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Home > Cats > Do Male Cats Have Nipples? Feline Anatomy Explained

Do Male Cats Have Nipples? Feline Anatomy Explained

close up of a cat's belly and nipples

Believe it or not, a common question among many cat owners is whether male cats have nipples like their female counterparts. It may be hard to tell under all that fur, but it turns out, yes, male cats have nipples.

Female cats use their nipples to feed their kittens, but why do male cats have nipples since they don’t need to feed their kittens? We’re going to delve into all things nipple-related as we look at why male cats have nipples and we invite you to come along on this journey of discovery with us.


What Do Male Cat Nipples Look Like?

Nipples on male cats are very similar looking to non-pregnant female cat nipples. They are usually the same color as your cat’s skin and are typically small and round protrusions on the skin. Sometimes they may be a little pinker or darker than the surrounding skin, but they often blend right in with the belly skin and fur so you don’t even realize your male cat has them. Only when you are petting your cat do you realize he has nipples.

Female nipples are very similar to male nipples when they are not pregnant. Once she becomes pregnant, the nipples become larger because her body is preparing to create milk for her kittens. When the kittens are weaned, her nipples may reduce in size, but will still be larger than they were before the pregnancy.

nipple of a small fluffy male cat
Image by: Vershinin89, Shutterstock

The Number Of Nipples On Male Cats

Male and female cats typically have between 4 to 10 nipples spaced evenly in two rows on their bellies. Many cats have an even number of nipples, but some have an odd number. If you’re dying to know how many nipples your male cat has, you’ll have to count them!

Is There A Scientific Reason Why Male Cats Have Nipples?

When a cat becomes pregnant, the egg and sperm meet forming a zygote, which then quickly starts dividing to become an embryo. All mammals develop nipples during the early stages of embryonic development before the sex is determined as the embryo grows into a fetus. Male kittens will develop small mammary glands, but will never produce milk due to testosterone. Female kittens’ mammary glands will someday produce milk if they have kittens in their lifetime.

american shorthair male cat lying on back
Image by: Apisit Hrpp, Shutterstock

Swelling Or Lumps On Male Cat’s Nipples

If you notice swelling or a lump on your male cat’s nipples, check for injury to see if there is an obvious reason as to why the area is inflamed or enlarged. If there is no obvious injury and the swelling doesn’t go away after a few days, book an appointment with your vet. It may be rare for your male cat to develop breast cancer, but it’s a possibility, so a quick checkup at the vet will set your mind at ease.



Like their female counterparts, male cats do have nipples, but they do not serve any function as male cats can’t feed hungry kittens. These nipples are formed during the embryonic stage before sex is determined, so that is why all male mammals, including your cat, have nipples. Cats can have an odd number of nipples, so if you’re trying to determine how many your male cat has, explore his belly to count his nipples and set your inquiring mind at ease.

Featured Image Credit: MR.RAWIN TANPIN, Shutterstock

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