Comments

  1. mechanotransduction says

    Cats usually have eight nipples, but like humans, there are anatomic variants. Supernumerary nipples are not all that uncommon.

  2. gingerest says

    According to some random veterinary embryology lecture slides I found online, just like the rest of us mammals, cats develop two lines of ectoderm – mammary ridges – running from their armpits to their groins along which we all get buds. At the buds, the ectoderm induces development of the mesoderm which induces epithelial cell development into cords that invade the mesoderm and form a set species-specific number of ducts into each mammary gland. It’s common in mammals to get the occasional extraneous bud that doesn’t regress but doesn’t develop.
    So, yes, and the number of ducts per teat for cats is six, and the number of teats per cat is usually eight.
    (page 48 of this pdf: http://vanat.cvm.umn.edu/vanatpdf/EmbryoLectNotes.pdf)

  3. Tsu Dho Nimh says

    Usually 8 … it’s easy to miss the ones closest to their “armpits”.

    Kittens will consistently nurse from the same nipple, so in a nursing female the unused teats (not tittes unless you are Elizabethan) regress.

  4. jakc says

    The number of nipples on placental mammals usually corresponds to the normal maximum litter size, with the normal litter size being half the number of nipples. Yeah, a woman can have triplets without being a three-breasted Martian hooker, and cows have four teats and usually one calf (not sure if bison have two or four teats – I’ve never tried to milk one). This is only a rule of thumb, so litter sizes can vary (and the number of nipples can vary from cat to cat – doesn’t mean the cat with more nipples will have a bigger litter).

    The montremes (the egg-laying mammals) lack nipples, and the milk lacks milk sugars. It’s kind of an oily sweat that gets licked off of guard hairs, and I imagine if you churned it, you’d get margerine.

  5. gingerest says

    “It’s kind of an oily sweat that gets licked off of guard hairs, and I imagine if you churned it, you’d get margerine.”

    URGH. Now there’s a thought.

    I’m sorry I forgot about the monotremes. They’re just so very freaky, with their 10 sex chromosomes and their egg-layingness.

    This says that the mechanics of milk production are old, old, old: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22436214

  6. F says

    Oh, I’m sorry, I thought you said titles.

    Interesting, though, and a much better question than the fractally wrong How many prongs on a chicken’s paw?

  7. Kate from Iowa says

    Since we’re discussing the underside of cats…has anyone ever found a cat’s navel? They’re placental mammmals…so they should have umbilical cords right? Right! Who’s going to be the first to shave thier…

    …okay, I’ll be good, since I’m at work. Who’s willing to shave thier cat’s beer belly?

  8. arrzey says

    And in some mammals there is variation in the quality of milk delivered as one goes from anterior to posterior. Thus the expression “sucking hind teat” is scientifically supported.

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