Do Male Cats Have Nipples? Why Would They Need Them?

Did you know that male cats have nipples? Yes, you heard that correctly, male cats do indeed have nipples. The real question is why would they need them? Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about male cat nipples and why they need them.

How Many Nipples Do Male Cats Have?

Tabby cat outside with blurry green leaves behind him. Cat surrounded by floating numbers.

Just like male humans, male cats have nipples that are non-functioning. Unlike humans, it’s not just two. It is common for male and female cats to have an even amount of nipples that range from anywhere between 4-10 nipples on their body. Most cats have 6 or 8 nipples, but having as few as 4 or as many as 10 is also considered normal.

There is always an exception to the rule. While most cats have their nipples in even rows that are parallel to each other, some cats can have an extra nipple. If you have a cat with an odd number of nipples, don’t fear, your cat is just unique!

Why Do Male Cats Have Nipples?

Strangely enough, there is absolutely no reason for male cats to have nipples.

Male and female cats develop nipples around the same early formative stage when they are a fetus. While in the womb, when the chromosomes determine the gender of the fetus, the development of the male cat’s nipples stops. This is due to the sex hormones in males.

Cat nursing her four young kittens, close up overhead view.

As mammals, after giving birth, female cats’ nipples function to feed their offspring. Male cats’ nipples, however, weren’t designed to produce milk. The testosterone in the male cat stops the development of the mammary glands, which results in male cats with nipples that serve no purpose.

For those who want to go back to evolutionary theories, if you consider the Darwinian theory of evolution, removing nipples from the male cat didn’t give them any sort of survival advantage, so the nipples stayed. From a genetic standpoint, boy cat nipples are vestigial structures.

What a Normal Male Cat Nipple Looks Like

Both male and female cat nipples feel and look the same at first, as they have similar nipple anatomy, but only as long as the female cat isn’t pregnant.



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