If you’ve ever wanted to read an article devoted entirely to feline nipples, you’ve come to the right place.
While most cat owners probably don’t pay a whole lot of attention to their cat’s nipples, there are some important things we can learn from them about our cat’s health and their sexual maturation.
In this article, we’ll cover the following:
Like all mammals, kittens are born with nipples. While they may be very tiny and nearly indiscernible at birth, they’re definitely there!
In fact, it is thought that all kittens start off as females in the womb, which explains the presence of nipples even in male cats despite the fact that they are pretty much useless.
Because nipple changes in feline pregnancy begin to become apparent during the final few weeks, the appearance of your cat’s nipples isn’t a good way to detect early pregnancy.
However, your female cat’s nipples will definitely undergo some pretty obvious changes during the later stages of her pregnancy.
Her mammary glands will become enlarged and will become more obvious. Her nipples, too, will become more pointed and may change in color. You may also notice that the blue blood vessels around the nipple area will become more evident.
At the very end of your cat’s pregnancy, you may even notice that your cat begins to produce colostrum and milk. You may see a yellowish substance secreting from the nipples. This is called colostrum.
Gently squeezing your cat’s nipple (emphases on gently!) to see if you are able to express any colostrum is a common way for cat breeders to tell whether or not their female cat is close to giving birth.
Don’t stop paying attention to your cat’s nipples after their kittens have arrived! Female cats that are nursing a litter of kittens are at risk for mastitis, which is an infection of the milk ducts.
If you notice that your cat’s nipples are red or excreting blood, discolored milk, or pus, take them to the vet right away, as they may need antibiotics.
Even though she’s pretty furry, this pregnant cat’s nipples are very evident.
Male cats can have anywhere from four to eight nipples. The gender of the kitten is irrelevant when it comes to nipple number. In fact, some male kittens may have more nipples than their female littermates!
Just like male cats, female cats generally have between four and eight nipples. The average is six, but anywhere between four and eight is considered “normal.”
Unfortunately, the presence of nipples is no guarantee of milk production in cats. Some female cats, especially if they are especially young or inexperienced, may not produce enough milk to feed all of their kittens.
Even if a female cat has eight nipples, they still might not produce milk evenly, which can leave some kittens with less nutrition than others.
For this reason, it’s important to take precautions before the kittens are born to ensure that they all receive adequate nutrition.
If you are expecting a litter of kittens in your home it’s a good idea to have kitten milk replacement on hand, as well as the feeding tools and instructions on how to properly hand raise kittens and supplement their feeding.
PetAG offers a Kitten Feeding Kit that includes all of these items in a bundle. Having this on hand before the kittens arrive is very smart, as it will enable you to be ready to feed any kittens that may need a little help.
It looks like these little kittens are getting enough milk!
Both male and female cats have nipples on their abdomen. They are found in two parallel lines, beginning at the base of the front legs and continuing down the abdomen.
The precise nipple placement will depend on each individual cat, partly because some cats have more nipples than others. Nipple placement in female cats only becomes an issue when she is nursing a litter of kittens, as it then becomes it’s important that she have enough nipples to feed all of her kittens.
All cats have nipples, no matter their gender. While only female nipples are functional, the number and placement of nipples has nothing to do with your cat’s gender.
It’s unlikely that you pay much attention to your cat’s nipples unless you’re expecting a litter of kittens, in which case you may monitor them to estimate how close your cat is to giving birth.
Once the kittens are born, it’s important to be sure that your cat has enough nipples to successfully nurse all of her kittens. Just to be safe, it’s a good idea to have kitten milk replacement as well as a feeding syringe ready to go before the kittens are even born. Kittens who don’t receive adequate nutrition are at risk for fading kitten syndrome, which can be fatal.
After moving to New York City from Rome, Italy, I began working in the nonprofit world. Despite my day job, my passion has always been animals, especially dogs and cats, and writing. What better way to combine the two? I’ve been a pet owner for 15 years, and my menagerie includes dogs, cats, hamsters and the occasional hermit crab. My beloved cat, Mozart, who I found as a newborn kitten, sparked my love for felines and is now nearly 15 years old. I am an enthusiastic volunteer at the local ASPCA, where I enjoy spending time with the cats and cleaning up after the dogs. I’ve been writing about pet ownership and care for the past five years.