Do Cats Have Belly Buttons? Should I be able to Feel My Kitten's Belly Button?
This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.
Do cats have belly buttons? According to science, all mammals have belly buttons as this is where the umbilical cord connects them to their mother in the womb.
Cats are mammals, just like humans and dogs. All mammals have a belly button, the leftover scar tissue where the umbilical cord is connected to the fetus while it develops inside its mother in the womb. You may not be able to feel your cat’s belly button as it’s covered in fur, but cats do have navels.
In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the topic of cat belly buttons and explore the evidence for their existence. We’ve also researched umbilical hernias and will help you identify whether there’s something wrong with your pet. Stay tuned!
Do cats have belly buttons?
There is some debate about whether or not cats have belly buttons. Since they are mammals, they definitely do. Most people will never see their cat’s belly button since it’s located on the underside of their body and is covered in fur. However, the scar left on a kitten is likely to be so small (around 5mm in diameter) that it will be hard to find or feel.
All unborn creatures are connected to their mothers through umbilical cords to receive nutrients and grow from a fetus. The umbilical cord provides the kittens with water, nutrients, and oxygen while preventing the accumulation of fetal waste.
Every fetus has its own placentas and umbilical cords. In the case of a litter of kittens, each fetus will be in a separate placenta. When identical twins are conceived in any species of mammal, the two fetuses will share a placenta.
How is a cat's belly button formed?
As with every species of mammals, when the newborn comes into the world, it’s able to breathe oxygen through its lungs. This oxygen is pumped through its bloodstream, and so the cord and placenta are no longer required.
In humans, the blood vessels of the cord are normally clamped or tied to prevent excess bleeding. This gives humans a more obvious belly button which is described as either an innie or an outie. Eventually, over time, the cord disintegrates and disappears, leaving the belly button behind.
Cat’s belly buttons generally aren’t tied, so only leave a small scar that is flat or only slightly raised. The belly button is located in the middle of a cat’s abdomen and is visible on bald cat species such as the Russian Peter Bald or Sphinx.
The role the mother cat serves
Shortly after birth, the mother cat bites off and eats the placenta. This leaves a short piece of umbilical cord which will eventually dry out, wither and fall off. When the umbilical cord is cut, varying sizes of scars are formed based upon the healing process. The mother cat has an enzyme in her saliva that helps to stop the bleeding of the cord and clean out any bacteria.
Related Article: How Many Kittens Do Cats Have?
Are cats and dogs born with umbilical cords?
Most mammals are born with umbilical cords, not just cats. Of course, these cords will be cut soon after birth, and a small scar remains as a reminder of the kitten’s umbilical cord.
Which mammals don’t have belly buttons?
All mammals have umbilical cords and, therefore, belly buttons due to how they grow and develop in the womb. The only exception to this is platypus and echidna. These animals develop inside a fertilized egg with a soft shell that’s inside the mother. They will feed on the egg while they grow and develop and are then born live.
How old is a kitten when it still has an umbilical cord?
Kittens will remain attached to their umbilical cord stump until they dry up and fall off. This will take between two days and a week. It will take slightly longer for the hole to scab over and heal completely.
In most cases, the kitten’s cord will heal and fall off by itself without medical intervention. The belly button may get infected in rare cases, or a hernia could occur. If your cat has kittens and you notice that the area around the umbilical cord is swollen, looks red, smells, or is oozing pus, then please take them to their veterinary for a check-up. It’s important to act fast as very young kittens can quickly die from infections.
Are umbilical hernias painful in kittens?
There is a chance that your cat could develop an umbilical hernia. A veterinarian can perform a simple operation to fix the issue. If you notice anything unusual with your cat’s belly button, then consult your vet immediately. Cats shouldn’t have ‘outie’ belly buttons, and if you can feel a lump on your pet’s abdomen, this is likely a hernia.
An umbilical hernia refers to a weak spot in the muscles of the cat’s belly where the belly button is. The small intestine may protrude from the weak area if the belly button hasn’t healed correctly. This will cause pain for your cat, and you may notice that he is straining to poop, but nothing is happening. The pressure could cause the hernia to bulge.
What is umbilical sepsis?
What does an umbilical hernia look like on a kitten?
You may notice a swelling or lump around the belly area, which may be more noticeable after feeding. Hernias vary in size from approximately 5mm (1/5 inch) to 18mm (3/4 inch). They also vary in severity; sometimes, cats will have a small hernia, which will naturally close up and heal on its own. Other cats will suffer a larger hernia which requires medical intervention.
If you notice anything unusual on your kitten, then consult with your veterinarian for advice. A small operation can treat and repair the issue before it gets any worse.
The image shows a cat x ray of a herniation of the intestines through the abdominal wall defect.
Here are symptoms to look out for:
- The belly button will protrude more than it should
- The area feels firm or hard due to internal blockages
- Kitten will strain to poop, but nothing happens
- Swelling and pain
- Stomach area may feel very warm
- Vomiting and loss of appetite
- Depression and lethargy
What causes an umbilical hernia in cats?
Umbilical hernias happen for two different reasons; they are either inherited or acquired. Inherited hernias are generally considered to be slightly less severe and less prone to complications. They are most likely to heal over in the first six months of the kitten’s life. Sometimes this doesn’t happen, and the kitten will need to have an operation.
Umbilical hernias can also acquire due to human behavior. If the owner is helping a birthing cat, they may accidentally pull on the umbilical cord. Sometimes if people are handling very young kittens or fostering orphaned kittens, they will cut the umbilical cord off very close to the kittens’ bodies. It’s best to limit the handling of newborn kittens and avoid cutting or pulling off the cord.
Types of Umbilical Hernia
Umbilical hernias can be described as either reducible (simple) or non-reducible (complicated). There are also a few complications that can happen with an umbilical hernia.
Reducible (simple): The protruding intestine can be pushed back into the cat’s body through the abdominal wall with a reducible hernia. Sometimes the act of turning the kitten onto his back will be enough for it to move back inside.
Please note that if your cat or kitten has a hernia, it’s not recommended that you try to push it back inside. You may hurt your kitten if he has a more complicated condition. Instead, take your pet to the vet for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Non- reducible (complicated): In some cases, the hernia will be more complicated and won’t easily return back through the abdominal wall. The intestine may be adhered to the wall or skin, making it unable to be moved without medical intervention. There may also be an obstruction that’s stopping the intestine from moving back into place.
Do Cats have belly buttons: Final Thoughts
In conclusion, cats do definitely have a belly button, but you will be unlikely to see it due to the cats’ thick fur.
Thank you for reading the article. We hope that you learned something new about cats!
Related Article: New Kitten Checklist