Pregnant cats are usually self-sufficient mothers known to birth kittens through all types of difficulty. But, there’s always a but when we’re talking about cat pregnancy. Before you freak out over the possibility of your cat being pregnant, you might want to learn more about pregnant cat nipples.
Pregnancy comes with a myriad of symptoms that can tell you what to expect when your cat is expecting, and your cat’s nipples are one of them. Male and female cats can have nipples, but female nipples are known to change during and after pregnancy to accommodate the little ones.
Cats can become pregnant early on, and you might be surprised to see your four or five-month-old cat going through the heat cycle, mating, and getting pregnant. Whether you’re confused about your cat’s sudden changes in behavior and appearance or you’re curious about pregnancy, we’ve got you.
We’ve gathered quite a few facts about pregnant cat nipples, as well as normal cat nipples, to ensure you’re ready for the period that awaits you. What’s the tea on pregnancy? What’s the best way to tell whether your cat is pregnant? What’s the difference between pregnant and normal nipples?
All that and more down below!
What’s the tea on cat pregnancy?
Now, cats can go through pregnancy on their own, but there are many things that you, as a pet parent, can do to make the process safer and easier for your cat. We mentioned beforehand that cats can get pregnant from a young age, as soon as they reach maturity or start experiencing heat cycles.
Considering the fact that heat cycles repeat every two weeks, cats can get pregnant multiple times a year and give birth to multiple litters. Cats can get spayed to ensure they don’t get pregnant, as well as to keep them as happy and healthy as possible – spaying can be quite a great move for cats.
Cat pregnancy goes on for approximately two months and can be divided into three “trimesters” of twenty days each. When your cat gets pregnant, you probably won’t be able to differentiate between trimesters, but with a little help from us, you’ll be able to understand what’s going on early on.
What’s the best way to tell whether your cat is pregnant?
Detecting pregnancy can be challenging for first-time pet parents because the first two trimesters typically go unnoticed. More often than not, nipple changes are the first notable signs of pregnancy you might be able to spot at about sixteen to twenty days into the pregnancy.
Cats are known to become more friendly throughout the first two trimesters and you might notice your cat demanding attention, snuggling next to you, and sleeping on your lap more often than before. When she reaches the end of pregnancy, you’ll notice her belly getting bigger and her nipples changing – again.
When she’s ready to give birth to her kittens, you’ll notice her grooming her belly more often than before, licking the area under her tail, and preparing a “nest” for her kittens. Cats go through the “nesting phase” the same way we do and your cat might start searching for a quiet, secluded place, too.
Pregnant cat nipples vs. normal cat nipples
OK, nipple changes can be the first thing you notice when your cat gets pregnant and that’s why you need to know everything about them. On one hand, both male and female cats have multiple pairs of nipples that are usually hidden by fur. On the other, female nipples are the ones that change.
Pregnant cat nipples are different from normal cat nipples, and that’s great news because that’s the best way for you to figure out whether your cat is pregnant or not – early on. During pregnancy, female cat nipples turn pink or red and become much bigger than before.
1. What do normal nipples look like?
Most cats come with a set of six or eight nipples, lined in pairs down their bellies. When you’re rubbing your cat’s belly, you might be able to find the nipples and feel them under your fingers. Moreover, cats can sometimes have more or fewer nipples or even an odd number of nipples.
Why do cats come with so many nipples, you wonder? Cats typically give birth to multiple kittens at once and they need to be able to nurse them all at the same time. When female cats aren’t pregnant or nursing, their nipples are very small (almost like a little pimple) and often hidden by fur.
When you take a closer look at them, you might be able to notice a little circle around each nipple that’s hairless. Normal nipples are typically pale, and they’re almost always the same shade (or a little darker) as the rest of the cat’s skin.
2. What do male nipples look like?
Male cats have nipples, too. When you’re playing with your tomcat, you might be tempted to search for nipples under the fur and you’ll probably be able to spot them. Male nipples look exactly the same as female nipples – they’re small, pale, and hidden by fur.
A male cat’s nipples do not go through any changes, unlike a female cat’s nipples. Although a male cat’s nipples have no function, they’re there because nipples typically develop before gender anatomy is established in the womb. And once the hormones determine the gender, male nipples stop developing.
Male cats can get mammary cancer, too, and that’s why any changes need to be checked by a vet promptly. With that out of the way, what changes do female cat nipples go through during pregnancy? What do pregnant cat nipples look like throughout different stages of pregnancy?
What changes do cat nipples go through during pregnancy?
One of the most obvious signs of early pregnancy in felines is nipple changes. A female cat’s nipples start to make changes as soon as a few weeks after pregnancy occurs. And, to make matters even more interesting, these changes occur throughout the pregnancy and after birth, too.
1. Early pregnancy
When your four-legged friend gets pregnant, you might not be able to notice any of the changes before she reaches two to three weeks of pregnancy. One of the most noticeable changes happens to be the “pinking-up” stage, where the nipples gradually become darker and more pink over time.
During early pregnancy, you might be able to observe your cat’s nipples swelling up, doubling, or even tripling in measurements, and developing a more prominent ring around them. We mentioned beforehand that a cat’s nipples have a ring of hairless skin around them – the ring changes, too.
We suggest keeping a close eye on your cat’s nipples during early pregnancy. While some cats might experience a fluid discharge from their nipples due to lactation, that’s not common among most cats. It might be better to have a professional check to ensure there are no severe issues.
2. Late pregnancy
During late pregnancy, your cat’s nipples go through another round of changes. Depending on the course of your cat’s pregnancy, you might notice them growing even bigger and becoming even darker over time. On top of that, the ring around the nipples becomes even more swollen and prominent, too.
We can’t forget that your cat’s belly will likely swell up around the same time, too, and you might have trouble tracking the nipple changes. Now, as the pregnancy approaches its final ten to fourteen days, you might notice a little bit of a fluid discharge from your cat’s nipples – as we mentioned beforehand.
When that happens, there’s no need to freak out. We’d argue that discharge is a positive sign because it indicates that the cat’s mammary system is fully prepared to nurse the kittens once they are born. With the discharge present, you know that your cat has reached her peak in readiness for motherhood.
3. After giving birth
Pregnant cat nipples might be big, but they’re even bigger when the mother cat gives birth to the kittens. After giving birth, cats produce milk to feed the kittens. And when that happens, cats’ nipples become stimulated which makes them grow even bigger and appear even more full.
As the mother cat walks around, you might notice her nipples hanging at the bottom of her belly. Worry not, that’s completely normal considering it happens due to the weight of milk dragging them down.
When the mother cat stops nursing the kittens, her nipples will slowly return to their normal size and appearance. While the nipples might remain swollen and full throughout the entire nursing period, they’re likely to go back as the kittens slowly wean off their mother’s milk and start eating solid food.
We do need to mention that sometimes the nipples might not fully shrink back to their pre-pregnancy measurements, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Not all cats are made the same, and some cats might not “bounce back” after going through pregnancy, giving birth, and nursing a litter.
As long as the mother cat and her kittens are happy and healthy, there’s no need to worry about the measurements or the appearance of her nipples.