Did My Cat’s Nipple Fall Off?

What happens if your cat’s nipple falls off? It seems to be a strange thing to happen and in that context, just does not seem possible when you think about it. What is happening with your cat’s nipple is not quite what it seems and actually fairly common for overweight felines, especially males. So what is going on?

Your Cat’s Hygiene

Cats are known for being very keen on their grooming habits. They will clean themselves after meals, treats, using the litter box, or even being pet. Some cats will groom each other when they are raised under the same roof as a means of bonding and affection. When your cat is licking itself, it is not only brushing and cleaning the fur but removing build up of dead skin tissue on the surface of the skin. When a cat goes without grooming for a few weeks (do to age or illness) you will notice the fur becomes very oily, dirty, and dull. This is because the sebum that is normally cleaned away with your cat’s tongue is creating a build up of oils and dead tissues.

Your Cat’s Nipples Need To Be Cleaned

One of the few areas where your cat has more skin exposed is around their nipples. In these patches, a lot of sebum collects because of the lack of fur to absorb some of the oils. When your cat is not properly cleaning their nipples, this sebum will continue to build up and create a dry encasement over the nipples that are not being groomed. This build-up can lead to issues for your cat which includes:

  • Clogged pores/Blackheads
  • Nipple inversion
  • Inspissated secretions
  • Growths or cysts beneath the effected nipples
  • Bacterial infections of the nipple
  • Skin irritation
  • Pain and swelling of the surrounding area
  • Fur loss of the surrounding area

Your Cat’s Nipple Didn’t Fall Off

If you have experienced what appears to be a nipple falling off of your cat, what has fallen of was actually that sebum build-up mentioned earlier. It covers the nipple and appears to be the nipple itself when in reality, the nipple has become retracted beneath the surface of your cat’s skin. The build-up will force the nipple to invert itself and will appear as a smooth flat surface after the encasement of build-up is removed. You will usually notice a small hole or slit in your cat’s skin. If you gentle pull it, the nipple will be seen under the surface.

What Causes Inverted Nipples?

The most common cause of build-up and inverted nipples in cats is poor grooming habits which are almost always brought on by a weight problem. Cats who are overweight can’t properly groom the surface of their belly and tend to miss 2 or more nipples if they are further up on the belly. This is more common in males than females but it can happen to both.

Treatment

Inverted nipples are susceptible to infections if not properly cleaned. You will need to clean each nipple that is inverted on your cat every week to prevent further build-up. Once or twice a week is good but daily is better if you can. You can use pet-safe cleansing wipes or a warm wet washcloth. Apply virgin coconut oil to the area to further prevent fungal and bacterial infections.

Infections Can Be Deadly!

At the first sign of an infection, your cat should be taken in to see a Vet right away. An infection can quickly become life-threatening if not treated.

Will the Nipple Go Back To Normal?

Inverted nipples can go back to normal if you cat loses weight and they continue to be properly cleaned. So long as the areas are kept clean, there is no reason to be worried about the health of your cat. If there are any signs of infection, however, they should be taken to a vet right away.

For more answers about cat nipples, read Common Questions About Cat Nipples

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