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How Many Nipples Do Cats Have? This Is What You Need To Know

How Many Nipples Do Cats Have? This Is What You Need To Know

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Many cat owners think that their cat doesn’t have nipples, as they’re sometimes difficult to spot. However, this isn’t true.

Almost every mammal has nipples, and cats are no exception. Cats are also known for being able to have a lot of babies at once, but how do they feed so many kittens? How many nipples do cats have?

Cats have 6 to 8 nipples. The reason for having this number of nipples is so that every kitten can have its own nipple to “fuel up”.

Each individual cat may have a different number of nipples. Usually cats have an even number, but don’t be surprised if your cat has an odd number of nipples; this is completely normal.

So, if you want to know more about cat’s nipples, then stay with me because a lot of interesting discoveries are awaiting us in the article!

How Many Nipples Do Cats Have?

This is the question that brought you here: how many nipples do cats have? In short, a cat usually has between 6 to 8 nipples. However, the number of nipples depends on the individual cat. Some factors that may influence the number of cat’s nipples include cat breed, gender, health condition, and age.

Cat’s nipples form in the mother cat’s womb before the sex is decided. So, whether a male or female kitten is born, it already has nipples.

Sometimes, the nipples can be very hard to find, especially in long-haired cat breeds, because of the thick fur. They can’t disappear or fall off, they’re just well hidden, and you don’t need to worry!

However, if you think you found a nipple anywhere other than the belly then we’re probably not talking about a nipple anymore. Usually, this is a growth that may be dangerous, but doesn’t necessarily have to be. However, if you find a growth, you should contact your veterinarian right away.

Can Cats Have Only 2 Nipples?

No, the number of nipples that a cat usually has is 6 to 8. Some have more, and some have fewer.

Can Cats Have 10 Nipples?

Yes, cats can have 10 nipples. As we have established, the number of nipples can vary. So, female felines normally have 8 nipples, but it’s completely normal if she has more or less than this.

What Do Cat Nipples Look Like?

Now we know how many nipples do cats have, but what do they look like?

Nipples are small, raised pink areas on the mammary tissue that all mammalian species have. It looks a little like a pimple and is located on the cat’s belly. If you look closely, you’ll see two parallel rows of nipples. Some cats may have bigger nipples and some may have smaller nipples.

Nipples change most during a cat’s pregnancy. At this time, they become bigger, swollen, and more sensitive. If you notice changes in the nipples of a cat that’s not pregnant, you should take your feline friend to the vet as it may have some health issues!

Female Cat’s Nipples Function

What does a cat’s nipples feel like? Let’s find out! So, some cats have smaller nipples and some have bigger nipples. It’s normal if you can’t see your cat’s nipples. They are small, and well hidden in the fur, especially if the cat has never had kittens.

The most important thing about feline nipples is that they have a very important purpose, and that is feeding the kittens. Read on to see how this happens!

Pregnant Cat’s Nipples

Cat’s nipples go through major changes during a cat’s pregnancy. They’re the main source of the food for the new kittens. At the beginning of your cat’s pregnancy, you probably won’t notice changes in the nipples, but later, after around 35 days, the cat’s nipples will become swollen, bigger, and more pink.

This is the most common sign that she will deliver soon, especially if you notice signs of lactation – milk leakage caused by swelling.

When the kittens are born, they’re completely blind, therefore it’s the mother cat’s job to take care of their every need.

With their mother’s help, kittens manage to find the nipple and hook onto it. The mammary glands and nipples are responsible for feeding the kittens until they receive the necessary strength to feed from a bowl, and that happens after around 12 weeks.

Do Male Cats Have Nipples?

Now you know how many nipples do cats have and something new and interesting about female cat’s nipples and their purpose. But what about tomcats? Do male cats have nipples?

The answer is yes, of course they do!

Almost every mammal has nipples, no matter if it’s a male or a female. You probably wonder why and how?

In this case, the cat’s nipples are being formed in the womb along with the rest of the body, before the biological sex is even decided. This is why both male and female cats have nipples.

The main difference between a male and a female cat’s nipples is in their function and purpose.

We already discussed female feline’s nipples function, but what about tomcats? Do they have any role to play? Well, we’re about to find out!

Male Cat’s Nipples Function

First, how many nipples does a male cat have? Well, male cats also have 6 to 8 nipples. Once more, the number of nipples can vary, and that means that some male cats may have more nipples than females.

The important thing is that male cat’s nipples are simply useless. They don’t produce milk for kittens or do anything that could be beneficial to a cat’s health.

Here comes the question: why do male cats have nipples if they don’t have any function?

A cat in the womb forms nipples, but if the Y chromosome, which denotes male, appears, there are no other changes in the breast and nipples. But, if the X chromosome appears, which denotes female, mammary glands will continue to form and attach to the nipples.

Health Conditions In Cat’s Nipples

Let’s take a look at some of the health issues that may affect both male and female cat’s nipples.

Mammary Tumors

Mammary tumors are one of the most dangerous and complicated health issues. Female hormones influence the swelling of the mammary glands. This is normal if it’s a pregnant cat and the swelling is caused by the milk.

The growth of the glands may lead to a mammary tumor that may be cancerous or benign, and you should contact your veterinarian immediately. Luckily, mammary cancer or breast cancer is a very rare disease in male cats, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen.

What about spayed cats? It depends on the age when the cat was spayed. It’s important to spay your cat before 6 months of age in order to reduce the risks of having a mammary tumor.


Mastitis is an infection of the mammary gland which can happen to both male and female cats. This may happen because of constant licking and scratching. This is more frequent in male cats if they have inverted nipples.

Mastitis can cause nipples to change color from pink to red or purple, following itching and leaking fluid. So, pay attention to your kitty because mastitis is treated only with antibiotics so your pet will need veterinary attention.


This is a condition when milk doesn’t stop collecting in the mammary glands during the weaning process.

False Lactation

False lactation is when normal or spayed cats, without kittens of course, experience milk leakage.


This is a condition where a cat loses the hair around the nipples due to excessive licking.

Inverted Nipples

A condition where a cat’s nipples grow inwards.

Mammary Hyperplasia

This happens when growth appears due to the high level of a hormone called progesterone.

Feline Mammary Hypertrophy

This is non-cancerous growth that appears around the mammary gland.


What Are The Differences Between Nipples And Teats?

Primates, rodents, and carnivores have nipples through which milk ducts pass and they are emptied on the surface of the nipple.

On the other hand, teats are located on udders; the milk flows through the duct to the end of the teat. These can be found on horses, cows, and similar animals.

Does A Cat’s Gender Affect The Number Of Nipples It Has?

No, a cat’s gender doesn’t affect the number of nipples it has. The answer to the question: how many nipples do cats have simply comes down to the individual cat.

Normally cats have an even number of nipples but it’s not unusual for a cat to have an odd set of nipples. In addition, it may happen that male cats have more nipples than female cats.

Even kittens from the same litter may all have a different number of nipples.

Why Are My Cat’s Nipples Swollen?

Your cat’s nipples may be swollen due to the milk, if she’s pregnant, or due to other health issues because of which you should react fast!

Final Thoughts

Now we know how many nipples do cats have and, most importantly, every cat lover should now be aware of the possible health issues that may affect a cat’s nipples. It’s important that you’re familiar with it so that you can seek prompt medical attention if necessary.

Almost every female and male mammal has nipples and cats are no exception. Of course, female cats have an important job to do with their nipples – feeding their babies.

You have to pay attention carefully to medical conditions that may impact a cat’s nipples. Even though male cat’s nipples don’t function and don’t have any purpose, they may still develop serious health issues!

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