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How Many Nipples Do Cats Have

↯ Key takeaway points

  • Cats typically have 6 to 8 nipples, arranged in a parallel line on their bellies, but the number can vary.
  • Both male and female cats have nipples, and the number of nipples doesn't depend on their sex or breed.
  • Feline nipples can develop health problems, including mammary tumors, inverted nipples, and mastitis.
  • Cats' nipples don't change in number over time, but pregnant cats' nipples may appear larger due to milk production.
A pet lover passionate about educating readers about animal health and care. Love reading studies and recent research.
Published on
Tuesday 9 May 2023
Last updated on
Tuesday 9 May 2023
How Many Nipples Do Cats Have
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As mammals, cats have breasts as part of their anatomy so they can nurture their young. But, would you believe many pet owners aren’t aware of how many nipples they have? Well, this is because their nipples may vary in number. So, how many nipples do cats have? Read further to find out. 

How Many Nipples Do Cats Have 

On average, felines have 6 to 8 nipples. You can find their nipples evenly arranged in a parallel line along the left and right sides of their bellies. They are evenly spaced from each other and each row may include 3 or 4 nipples. When you stroke your cat’s belly, you’ll feel that its nipples resemble tiny pimple-like bumps or cysts. If your kitty has thick fur, it may be hard to spot the nipples. Cats are also protective of their bellies and do not just allow anyone to touch or rub them. No wonder some owners may have not been very observant of their cat’s nipples.

Both male and female felines have nipples which, as previously mentioned, are between 6 to 8. However, some felines may have fewer than 6 nipples while others have 10 or more. Some of them may even have an odd number of nipples. No wonder many owners may have asked, “should I be concerned if my kitty has fewer nipples?”.  But, this is usually not a cause for concern. The difference in the number of nipples in felines is medically normal and doesn’t cause any health issues. So, when should you worry about your cat’s nipples? Well, when you notice any symptoms of common nipple issues which will discuss in a while.

There are many more questions concerning the nipples. Many wonder why felines have a different number of nipples or what are the factors affecting this difference. There is also the concern between normal vs pregnant cat nipples. We’ll tackle that as well including how many nipples a pregnant cat may have. 

Do Cats Have Different Numbers of Nipples? 

Yes, as previously mentioned, they have a different number of nipples. This phenomenon continues to baffle many people. So, let’s check out the factors that could possibly be the reason for the different numbers of nipples. 


Both male and female felines develop nipples even when they were still embryos in the mother’s womb. The number of nipples in felines is not gender specific. This means that the number of a cat’s nipples doesn’t depend on its sex. The only difference between the sexes is that male felines don’t produce milk, despite the presence of nipples.


Kitties don’t gain or lose nipples as they age. The number of nipples they have while they were still kittens stays the same as they get to adulthood. The only change that may happen along the way is when a female cat gets pregnant. Her nipples will grow bigger because of the milk. Yet the number of nipples still stays the same.  


The overall health of the feline doesn’t determine its number of nipples. Whether a kitty is healthy or sickly, the number of nipples remains the same. Although, it’s best to keep your feline healthy at all times regardless of how many nipples your kitty may have. 


Some breeds may seem to have more nipples than others. But, this variation is actually dependent on the cats and not on their breeds. Some felines just develop fewer nipples while another gets more despite being a member of the same breed.


There isn’t any concrete explanation as to why felines have a varied number of nipples. It remains to be a mystery of the feline anatomy. 

Common Nipples Problems In Cats

Cat nipples may also develop health problems like any other part of the body. So, to keep your kitty healthy, you need to examine its nipples from time to time. This will help you spot any issues early on, especially for lactating cats. Here are the most common nipple problems in felines. 

Mammary Tumors

The growth of mass tumors in the breasts is common in cats. In fact, one-third of feline cancers involve the mammary glands according to Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. So, check your cat’s breasts for lumps at least once a week and regularly visit the vet for checkups. The cause for mammary tumors is still unknown but they seem to happen often in unspayed cats. 

Inverted Nipples

You may notice a waxy substance in your cat’s nipples. This may be a result of inverted nipples. This may happen to both male and female cats and don’t cause any pain or health concern. You may softly squeeze it to express the substance similar to a zit. 


If your cat is currently nursing kittens, monitor your cat’s breasts. If you notice any signs of inflammation such as redness, swelling, or a discharge other than milk, your kitty may be experiencing mastitis. This is an infection of the breast tissues that may be caused by blocked milk ducts or by bacteria. Mastitis is not just limited to lactation cats, though. 

How Many Nipples Do Cats Have: FAQs 

Now, we have already discussed how many nipples they have. We also tackled the common nipple problems kittens may encounter in their lives. Let’s take a look at the answers to the frequently asked questions about the number of nipples in felines. 

Should I be concerned if my cat has fewer nipples?

Cats with fewer nipples aren’t any lesser than those with more nipples. Fewer nipples also don’t cause any medical issues or concerns. It’s just part of your cat’s uniqueness! So, no need to worry.

Can you tell a cat’s gender from the number of nipples?

No, you won’t be able to tell a cat’s gender by just looking at the number of its nipples. Cats’ nipples vary regardless of gender. However, if a cat is pregnant, you may be able to distinguish its gender through how its nipples look. A pregnant cat’s nipples are bigger and fuller compared to that of a male cat.

Why do male cats have nipples?

Male cats are born with nipples. However, their nipples don’t produce milk and nurse kittens. They even have mammary glands too, the same as other male mammals but they aren’t functional. 

Does the number of a cat’s nipples change over time?

No, cats don’t lose or gain new nipples over time. The number of nipples they have when they were kittens remained the same. However, due to milk production during pregnancy or when nursing, the appearance of the cat’s nipples may change but the number remains the same.

Is there a difference between normal cat nipples vs pregnant?

Yes, a pregnant cat’s nipples appear bigger than that of a normal cat. During pregnancy, a cat’s body prepares for the kittens’ arrival including its breasts. During the last two weeks of pregnancy,  a pregnant cat’s nipples get bigger due to milk production. Cats need to nourish their kittens for the first 6 to 7 weeks of life through their milk.

When should I be worried about my cat’s nipples?

You should only worry about your cat’s nipples if they are showing signs of swelling or inflammation. If you notice some abnormal lumps or changes in the appearance of your cat’s nipples, it’s best to have it checked by the vet. 

Cats’ nipples, like any other mammal, play a big role in nourishing the life of their young. But, they have also been a topic of interest by many due to their varying numbers. Be rest assured, having more, lesser, or uneven nipples are normal in both male and female kitties. But, if you notice any other abnormality in your cat’s nipples, it’s best to visit your vet. 

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