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  1. #1
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    Question Do Tomcats Have Nipples?

    OK, this may seem like a dumb question, but I don't have a tomcat, and I just started wondering about this.

    I just saw a web site that purports to answer such questions, but it said that ALL male mammals have nipples. I don't remember ever seeing an udder on a gelding! (Haven't known any stallions well enough to check them out! )

    So will someone who actually knows about male cats please tell me?

    Seems I remember male dogs having them ... don't think I've ever seen teats on a bull tho'!
    Rack on!



  2. #2
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    Yes.

    The explanations are:

    1. Poor planning on God's part. Maybe, too, a way to taking tom cats down a peg. Maybe a reminder that in that species, as in most, the females are really in charge. Everyone wears a uniform that makes a respectful not to her body form.

    2. A selectively-neutral feature possessed by tom cats' ancestors. But! Nipples and the boobs behind 'em were/are quite adaptive feature for females of the whole mammalian persuasion. And they were crucial for the survival of the for the whole milk-sucking taxon over time. Evolutionarily speaking, it was easier to keep these boobs needed badly for half the animals and all of the species (singular and plural), then to create a second body/developmental design that took the nipples off males.

    3. The nipples on tom cats were put there and left there for the day when gender/sex categories would finally become fluid. For our species, I'd say that took until the 21st century. I don't know how long it will take for cats to feel comfortable tell us that they are gay or bi or whatever.

    ETA: Like most things done by tom cats, nipples are a "meh, whatever" feature.
    Last edited by mvp; Sep. 20, 2013 at 01:19 PM.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat


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  3. #3
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    I've heard that geldings/stallions DO have residual nipples but I've never gone exploring. There are enough weird things I either have to do (sheath cleaning) or my horses LIKE me to do (butt-scratching, udder massaging) that I haven't felt the need to come up with any new ones (nipple seeking).

    But my kitties, male and female, are nipple-endowed.

    ETA: so I googled, because this is more interesting than doing work on a Friday. Apparently male horses do NOT have nipples, but male donkeys do. And bulls/steer do. What a weird distinction. The only other male mammals without nipples are mice and rats. Explain THAT, mvp!
    Arrange whatever pieces come your way. - Virginia Woolf

    Did you know that if you say the word "GULLIBLE" really softly, it sounds like "ORANGES"?


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  4. #4
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    I believe it all has to do with when the sex hormones are "given" to the developing fetus on whether or not it will have nipples. Like with humans, all fetuses start out as generically female, but there's a point during growth where testosterone starts being produced in greater quantities and that drives the change into the primary and secondary male sex characteristics.


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  5. #5
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    I'll let Scientific American (my favorite periodical) do the explaining.
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/ar...n-have-nipples
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanuel Kant


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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoZ View Post
    I've heard that geldings/stallions DO have residual nipples but I've never gone exploring. There are enough weird things I either have to do (sheath cleaning) or my horses LIKE me to do (butt-scratching, udder massaging) that I haven't felt the need to come up with any new ones (nipple seeking).

    But my kitties, male and female, are nipple-endowed.

    ETA: so I googled, because this is more interesting than doing work on a Friday. Apparently male horses do NOT have nipples, but male donkeys do. And bulls/steer do. What a weird distinction. The only other male mammals without nipples are mice and rats. Explain THAT, mvp!
    In a debate in the 1890s re: conceptual problems with Darwin's theory, August Weismann and Herbert Spencer went round a bit about vestigial organs. It's an old problem; Chuck (Darwin) knew about it and worried about it even in 1859 in On the Origin of Species.

    The best explanation for some vestigial organs staying and some being "edited out" is the balance of two factors:

    1. The degree of selective advantage or neutrality. In this case, how much does the organ help the individual tom cat go about the business of leaving more offspring than his frenemies?

    1a. Same question for the entire species.

    2. How much does it *cost* the animal to build or maintain an organ that has not appreciable function? In other words, how many more calories does that animal have to procure for himself just to build cat nipples... which do nothing in terms of his leave lots of babies which survive to adulthood raison d'etre. My bet, then (as Spencer argued in effect) is that it costs a cat proportionally fewer calories to build his nipples than it does a horse to build his mammoth ones.

    2a. Does the vestigial, "meh... take it or leave it" organ have another cost? So, if eyes get infected from time to time and kill eye-owners, wouldn't the species living in total darkness and not needing eyes do well to ditch 'em?

    3. Whatever genetic and developmental program builds nipples might be tied to those that build other features that are currently important and adaptive. In the deep past, there was a reason for those being combined (if you are of the "natural selection does everything" persuasion). In modern times, or if your metaphysics allows you to believe in accidents, that genetic/developmental architecture is an unimportant coincident.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



  7. #7
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    Yes they do. I've owned cats all my life, although I prefer queens to toms. My 20 yr old tomcat has nipples, as does my 10 yr old tomcat. (Just as human males have nipples. Although some have "man boobs larger than women have.)

    My male horse, Cloudy, does not have nipples. Of course he's not supposed to still have testicles, but don't tell that to him or his mare. He had a lot of physical relationships with mares before he settled down with one 5 1/2 yrs ago.


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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by VaqueroToro View Post
    I believe it all has to do with when the sex hormones are "given" to the developing fetus on whether or not it will have nipples. Like with humans, all fetuses start out as generically female, but there's a point during growth where testosterone starts being produced in greater quantities and that drives the change into the primary and secondary male sex characteristics.
    I never heard that all fetuses start out female. I have heard that we all start out the same, and then at some point in our development we go one way or the other. Which interests me as only the male ones of us got the Y chromosome so how could those go the female way?

    JoZ, did it say whether or not male mules have them?

    Best answer I ever came across (when I wasn't even looking! ) as to why men have nipples was when I saw a book entitled something like Why Men Have Nipples. It said that men have nipples because they feel so good when women play with them. Works for me!
    Rack on!



  9. #9
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    I guess I'm going to have to pull out the biology books again and double check...maybe I'm confusing mammals with reptiles.



  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rackonteur View Post
    JoZ, did it say whether or not male mules have them?
    I think it said some do, some don't. Which I guess would stand to reason, if any of this is actually reasonable.

    Quote Originally Posted by VaqueroToro View Post
    maybe I'm confusing mammals with reptiles.
    I hate it when that happens!

    Really what I don't understand (veering somewhat off the animal topic) is why nipples would be sensitive to pleasurable (or any other) sensation. I am told 100 times a day it seems (lots of adamant folks on my FB feed!) that breasts are for feeding babies, period. Or primarily. One would think that the best design for baby feeders would be tough, insensate skin. But I digress...
    Arrange whatever pieces come your way. - Virginia Woolf

    Did you know that if you say the word "GULLIBLE" really softly, it sounds like "ORANGES"?


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  11. #11
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    Years ago my over sheltered, sensitive, and naive then fiance got a little boy kitten. One day he discovered little boy kitten had tumors on his belly. Thankfully I intercepted him before he drove little boy kitten to the vet. I turned little boy kitten upside down and observed that the tumors all fell in a pattern of two lines down either side of the abdomen. Yup, nipples. I assured sensitive and naive fiance that the kitten was perfectly normal and unlike to die of cancer any time soon. Sensitive and naive fiance gulped hard and then squeaked, "but he's a BOY." Yeah, hon, so are you and you've got nipples too. It happens.


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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoZ View Post
    I think it said some do, some don't. Which I guess would stand to reason, if any of this is actually reasonable.



    I hate it when that happens!

    Really what I don't understand (veering somewhat off the animal topic) is why nipples would be sensitive to pleasurable (or any other) sensation. I am told 100 times a day it seems (lots of adamant folks on my FB feed!) that breasts are for feeding babies, period. Or primarily. One would think that the best design for baby feeders would be tough, insensate skin. But I digress...
    I would think it has to do with the mother-infant bond to some extent. Oxytocin which is released during childbirth and orgasm (and maybe during other pleasurable activities) is extremely important in forming bonds with other people, so it would make sense to have it released during breastfeeding.

    As for other applications of that, make of that what you will ;-)



  13. #13
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    An interesting aside to the whole topic - there is a saying around here 'useless as tits on a boar'. I found myself corrected by a pig farmer. Apparently, if said boar has no nipples, that is passed on to his offspring, rendering his female offspring useless as anything but bacon, chops and roasts.
    Founder of the Dyslexic Clique. Dyslexics of the world - UNTIE!!

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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rackonteur View Post
    I never heard that all fetuses start out female. I have heard that we all start out the same, and then at some point in our development we go one way or the other. Which interests me as only the male ones of us got the Y chromosome so how could those go the female way?
    All sex organs arise from the same germ cells, regardless of XX/XY status. Presence of testosterone/ androgens promotes differentiation into male organs, and other hormones to prevent development of female organs. Female is basically the "default" setting.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_differentiation


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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoZ View Post
    Really what I don't understand (veering somewhat off the animal topic) is why nipples would be sensitive to pleasurable (or any other) sensation. I am told 100 times a day it seems (lots of adamant folks on my FB feed!) that breasts are for feeding babies, period. Or primarily. One would think that the best design for baby feeders would be tough, insensate skin. But I digress...
    In my unscientific opinon, pleasurable sensations to both participants in nursing would serve to ensure the baby got suckled regularly.
    The pleasurable sensations men get when women play with their nipples (and that we get when they play with ours!) is IMO an added bonus! Increases intimacy ... and that is a good thing.

    I assume your FB feed folks who think breasts are only for feeds do not believe in playing with their mates' nipples. Their loss!
    Rack on!



  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by carp View Post
    Years ago my over sheltered, sensitive, and naive then fiance got a little boy kitten. One day he discovered little boy kitten had tumors on his belly. Thankfully I intercepted him before he drove little boy kitten to the vet. I turned little boy kitten upside down and observed that the tumors all fell in a pattern of two lines down either side of the abdomen. Yup, nipples. I assured sensitive and naive fiance that the kitten was perfectly normal and unlike to die of cancer any time soon. Sensitive and naive fiance gulped hard and then squeaked, "but he's a BOY." Yeah, hon, so are you and you've got nipples too. It happens.

    Rack on!



  17. #17
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    bacon, chops and roasts..yum!
    the NOT!! Spoiled!! Arabian Protectavest poster pony lives on in my heart http://i118.photobucket.com/albums/o...pscc2a5330.jpg



  18. #18
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    Male dogs do also. My boy Mini Schnauzer had 8, but my girl Mini Schnauzer only had 7. I always thought the number difference was very weird.
    You can't fix stupid-Ron White



  19. #19
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    So ... back on topic ... thanks, JanM! (Yes, I know I was one of the ones getting OT with this ... )
    Rack on!



  20. #20
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    When I was in Africa, I observed that even male elephants have nipples and they are up in the thoracic regions like ours. I thought that was interesting.



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