Do you find it difficult to differentiate between male and female cats?
You’ll be utterly confused if you use nipples as a factor if differentiation. Like all mammals, male cats have nipples and like all male mammals, they lack mammary glands under them. Unlike females, males do not produce milk so the function of feeding their kittens using nipples is ruled out.
In fact, findings reveal that the nipples on male cats have virtually no use; they are like rudimentary, vegetal organs that are there to serve no purpose.
Raises a lot of questions in your mind? Read on to know the answers!
Why Do Male Cats Have Nipples?
As a part of the evolution process, mammals still possess nipples owing to a consistent part of their DNA. During the primitive parts of the fetal stage, when the male or female reproductive structures aren’t well developed, both male and female cats develop nipples.
The difference arises during the developmental stages. As the cats develop, female cats’ bodies produce hormones that develop the nipples and prepare them for after childbirth. In males, on the other hand, the nipples remain dysfunctional and only verify their mammalian characteristics.
Let’s just say mammals are a long way from an evolution advanced enough to completely do away with organs with no functional use.
How Are Male Cat Nipples Different Than Female?
Nipples of male cats are in fact quite similar to those of females. If you were to point out the difference in gender on the basis of their nipples, you wouldn’t be able to.
Male and female cats are both born with a similar number of nipples. The number doesn’t change on the basis of gender but only individuality. This means that even cats in the same litter have different numbers of nipples ranging generally between 6 to 8.
These nipples are found on the chest and belly, are usually of skin color, and small enough to hide inside the fur of your pet. Unless it’s a female cat that is pregnant, you will have to touch your cat’s belly to see and feel these nipples.
Although they look similar, beneath the nipples, the females develop mammary glands, which the males lack. However, both develop breast tissue. The only time when male and female cat nipples show a difference is during and after female pregnancy as they get swollen and developed enough to feed their litter.
Can Male Cats Contract Nipple Related Diseases?
The above-mentioned information becomes extremely important because in any case if you observe swelling in your male cat’s nipples, it’s a sign of trouble.
As heartbreaking as it may sound, cats irrespective of their gender, and despite the rare possibility can develop breast cancer. Besides that, another important and common disease of the nipples is Mastitis. It is a painful disease that generally happens in new mother cats causing their mammary glands to get blocked.
A cat’s nipple may not seem important if it’s a male or a neutered female, however, it’s necessary that we keep a check on our furry pet’s parts to ensure the diseases are at bay.
Lastly, did you know that cat’s nipples are generally in even numbers but some cats have an extra odd nipple?
How many nipples does your cat have? Share your numbers with us in the comments section!