Does Your Cat's Belly Hang Low? It's Just Their Primordial Pouch

6 comments

Growing up, I had a black cat named Smokette. She lived to be 20 years old, and one of my clearest and fondest memories of her is how her flabby belly would swing back and forth as she walked.

We always found it so funny to watch and we called it her cookie pooch or even her udders because she looked almost like a cow! I had always wondered why her "pooch" was so prominent when she wasn't overweight.

It turns out this belly flap is actually called a primordial pouch and all cats can have them, regardless of their weight. 

Photo Featuring Shyanne, a rescue cat at the Good Luck Cat Cafe who has found her forever home!

If your cat's belly swings from side to side, your first instinct might be to get your kitty started on new exercise routine. But your cat probably isn't fat, they've just got a big primordial pouch - a completely normal part of kitty anatomy! 

So, why exactly do cats have this pouch and what purpose does it serve? While there is no solid consensus amongst veterinarians and cat experts as to its exact purpose, there are a few theories.

1. Protection

When cats fight with each other, they tend to aim for the vital organs with their sharp claws and go right for the belly! (It turns out our house cats aren't as domesticated as we like to think.) If you've ever seen your cat grabbing hold of a kicker toy and "bunny kicking" with their back paws - this is what they'd do to an an enemy cat in the wild! Ouch. That's where the primordial pouch comes in. It's theorized that this extra layer of skin might serve as added protection for your cat's vital organs. So even if your cat's li'l pooch gets injured or scratched up, their vital organs may still remain unharmed.

2. Extra Storage

Interestingly, this belly flap may also allow for extra "storage" of fat and energy reserves for when times are lean. Our fluffy family members are descended from wild cats, after all, and in the wild your next meal is never guaranteed. Wild cats may gorge themselves or overeat so they have extra fat stores. The primordial pouch might serve as a way to store those extra fats for when times get tough.

3. Room to Move

Some experts believe that the primordial pouch is excess skin that allows cats more freedom of movement when running or hunting, allowing them to stretch further without discomfort - sort of like wearing a favorite pair of stretchy yoga pants when exercising. When hightailing it after prey (or their favorite catnip toys), you may notice how far cats extend their front paws and hindquarters. This excess skin may be allowing them to stretch further without strain or discomfort.

 

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6 comments


  • Cqrolyn

    Some have said it’s the emresults if having your cat neutered or spayed. But I’m not sure about that either.


  • Page

    My mom always called this pouch their “tutu”


  • Amanda

    My sisters always tease that my Emmett is fat because of his pouch and his aprons, and because they know it bugs me. He is a large sized cat but by no means fat, lol.


  • Linda Ann Key

    My cat Jess Squeakers Darling, has this pouch and it makes me laugh when she runs or trots. She is a a great companion for me.


  • Heather

    You didn’t even mention the theory that it also acts as ballast to help them stay balanced while doing their hilarious acrobatics, similarly to and in combination with their tail! I think we could all learn from our cats and find new appreciation for having a little bit of tummy fat. It’s good stuff!


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