You may have noticed a bump on your cat’s belly. Looking closely, you may find several bumps lined up in two neat rows. You don’t have to worry as long as they are skin-colored and don’t feel feverish. These are just the teats that your male cat also has.
Male cats also have teats on their bellies. They do not produce milk and have no actual function. The teats are created in kittens in the womb before their sex hormones cause them to develop into males. They are a remnant of the maturation process. Male cats cannot produce milk and, therefore, cannot nurse kittens, but the teats remain.
Kittens may also attempt to suckle in male cats when hungry or seeking comfort, but you should break them of this habit.
The teats can become infected if your male cat is scratched or squeezed in this area. You can tell they are red and inflamed, with no hair around them.
Excessive grooming, flea and parasite infestations, and stress can cause the hair in this area to fall out.
Is It Normal for Male Cats to Have Teats?
It is absolutely normal for male cats to have teats. Like all mammals, including humans, male cats have these useless body parts as a remnant of the developmental process.
There is no need to worry unless the teats are infected or inflamed. Otherwise, they are a natural part of your male cat’s anatomy, even if they are not functional.
Why Do Male Cats Have Teats?
Genetically, male cats’ teats are rudimentary. This means they have no natural function and no biological purpose for them.
Unlike female cats, male cats cannot suckle or raise kittens.
So why are they there in the first place? The answer lies in the development of the cat.
In the womb, cats develop teats before sex hormones are produced.
In female cats, sex hormones instruct the body to develop mammary glands. These glands, in turn, allow the cat to produce milk when pregnant.
On the other hand, male cats produce the sex hormone testosterone. This stops the production of the mammary glands.
So, since male cats only go through half of the process, they still produce teats, but they no longer have a function.
What Do Teats Look Like in Male Cats?
The teats of male cats look similar to those of females, at least when not nursing.
The teats are the same color as the cat’s skin. The color is often a light, pale pink, and they look like little skin bumps on the belly.
An exception to this is lactating females. Lactating cats have larger teats because they store milk.
Teats not used by young kittens shrink back to their smaller size. From this point on, only the teats where the kittens are regularly fed will lactate.
Since this is not true for males, their teats remain the same throughout their lives. Therefore, any change in size or color may indicate disease.
Where Are the Teats in Male Cats?
If you feel that your male cat has no teats, there is no need to panic. He has them, but you can’t see them.
It can be difficult to see a cat’s teats with the naked eye, especially in cats with longer coats.
Male cats also have teats on their bellies. While female cats lose hair around this area at the beginning of lactation, this is not the case with male cats.
The teats also do not change color as in lactating cats, so this excess hair and skin color can hide the teats.
If your male cat allows you to pet his belly, you may be able to feel them. These are small bumps that are evenly spaced apart.
They can be a bit sensitive, so don’t be surprised if your cat is ticklish and tries to squirm out.
How Many Teats Do Cats Have?
Most cats have eight teats in two rows of four. However, some cats have more or less teats depending on their genes.
An average cat has no set number, so don’t worry if your cat has more or fewer teats.
Even cats that come from the same litter can have a different number of teats.
One cat may have eight teats while its sibling has only xis. Although siblings may have the same genes, they are not identical, so such differences are expected.
A cat’s teats are often in even rows of two, but some cats have an odd number.
If your male cat has three on one side and five on the other or some other combination, don’t worry. Your cat is perfectly healthy.
Why Do Cats Lose the Hair Around Their Teats?
There are many situations when a cat loses the fur around its teats. By and large, this is normal and need not worry you.
Pregnant cats naturally lose the hair around their teats, or their hair thins significantly in this area. This is to prepare the mother for the kittens she will nurse.
In cats that are not pregnant, the most common reasons for this are as follows.
If your cat brushes her belly too often, the fur in that area may fall out.
Excessive grooming is often caused by anxiety. A change in the house, inferior food, or a dispute between your cat and another animal can cause this.
When anxiety and stress cause excessive grooming, it is called psychogenic feline lick alopecia. Psychogenic lick alopecia in cats often affects the cat’s belly and the area around the teats.
The good news is that this behavior will go away on its own, provided the cause of the stress is addressed.
However, if your cat is preening to the point of injury, be sure to see your veterinarian. Bring your cat in for an examination if you notice redness, irritation, and scabbing.
Your veterinarian can prescribe sedatives such as calming sprays, essential oils, and calming food or treats. The expert may also prescribe anti-anxiety medications.
Cats develop allergies similar to humans, which can cause their fur to fall out around their teats.
The skin itself may become irritated and fail to hold the hair follicles. The cat may also experience itching and scratch all the hair off its belly.
It would help if you watched for the following symptoms:
- Itchy and watery eyes
It can be challenging to narrow down what your cat is allergic to. Some cats have multiple allergies that affect each other.
If you are having problems, you should see a veterinarian to find out what your cat is allergic to systematically.
Fleas Or Parasites
Fleas and other parasites are a common cause of hair loss in cats. The parasites can weaken the cat’s immune system and deprive it of vital nutrients, causing the hair to become brittle and fall out.
When fleas irritate the skin, your cat may scratch out all of its hair.
If the infestation is left untreated, it can progress to other diseases that cause hair loss. For example, fleas can carry the feline leukemia virus (FeLV).
Even if your cat always stays indoors, fleas can quickly get into your home. They can get infected on the soles of your shoes, clothing, and even through cracks and windows.
Watch for these symptoms:
- Scratching and biting
- Hair loss
- Skin problems
- Behavioral changes
In severe infestations, a cat may suffer from anemia (a lack of red blood cells). Symptoms of anemia include:
- Pale gums
- Rapid breathing
Can Male Cats Produce Milk?
Due to their development in the womb, male cats cannot produce milk.
They do not have mammary glands responsible for milk production and milk delivery through the teats. Therefore, male cats cannot suckle kittens even if they try.
When Male Cats Try to Suckle Kittens
If you have a male cat and kittens under the same roof, you might have noticed a strange sight: a male cat nursing kittens.
Although it may seem like your male cat is intentionally nursing kittens, this is often not the case. Instead, the kittens forcefully try to suckle at the male cat, which acquiesces.
Male cats cannot produce milk and have no maternal instincts. However, your male cat may still want to care for the kittens.
Why Do Kittens Suckle On Male Cats?
Male cats cannot provide food for kittens. Kittens should become aware of this shortly after they begin to suckle.
Also, the pheromones that a male cat emits differ significantly from those of the mother cat. The kittens should be able to tell the difference.
If they still suckle, it is probably due to one of the following reasons.
If an unweaned kitten is ravenously hungry, it will try to feed itself.
Perhaps the mother is unavailable, no longer producing milk, or the kitten has run out of nutrients because of its pushy siblings. In any case, it will be desperate.
Even if the male cat doesn’t smell right to the kitten or produce milk, it will still try to suckle in hopes of getting more food.
In this case, you should take this as a warning sign. Ensure your kitten gets enough food, and consider bottle feeding if necessary.
If you are already bottle-feeding the kitten, this could be a sign that he is eating but not absorbing enough nutrients from the food.
A kitten with a full belly does not necessarily mean it is well-fed. It will be looking for teats, male or female, hoping to find much-needed nutrients.
Nursing is much more for kittens than just a source of food. It is also a form of comfort and a way to soothe themselves.
For this reason, weaned kittens may begin to suckle on other kittens, male adults, and even other species.
Cat owners occasionally report that their several-week-old kittens suck on dogs, human fingers, towel edges, and even their tails.
Kittens exhibiting this behavior were often weaned too early, abandoned by their mother, are stressed or anxious, or were hand-raised from an early age.
When kittens are removed from their primary source of comfort, they seek comfort from other sources. Once this habit is established, the cat may later suckle when bored or stressed.
Can Kittens Be Allowed to Suck On a Male Cat?
As with other misbehaviors, you must teach your kitten to break the habit.
While it is not bad for your kitten’s health, it can escalate to even more harmful behaviors in the future.
It can also encourage the male to fight off the kittens, leading to a fight or a few scratches. So, how can you stop this behavior?
- Every time your kitten starts sucking, remove him.
- Tell it a stern “no.”
- Distract it immediately afterward with a treat or toy.
- Most importantly, be consistent in your training.
Your kitten may take a few weeks to learn, but he will eventually adjust.
Can Cats’ Nipples Get Infected?
Mastitis is a common cause of infection in female cats. This infection of the mammary glands often occurs in lactating cats.
Male cats cannot get mastitis because they do not have mammary glands. Nevertheless, the teats of male cats can also become infected.
This is usually due to a physical injury. To detect this, look for swollen, red, or bleeding teats. You may also sometimes notice bruising in the area.
Usually, scuffles with other cats or other animals are the reason. However, it can also happen that your cat rubs against a sharp object or brushes too much.
If you leave the wound alone, it should heal on its own. You should see a veterinarian if the area becomes red and warm to the touch.
Summary: Do Male Cats Have Teats?
Male cats have teats that don’t serve a purpose. However, it would be best to keep an eye on these body parts to ensure they are not irritated or injured.
Cats don’t usually tend to show their bellies. So, if you check on them occasionally, you can ensure that an infection doesn’t get out of control.