Why Do Cats Have Saggy Bellies?

Posted by Christy Caplan

Why DO cats have saggy bellies?

Is my cat a just a fat cat? Or is there another reason by cat walks with a saggy belly? The 'primordial pouch' is the term for this cat saggy belly. This belly flap was designed to help protect cat's vital organs they get into a fight with predators!

Why Does My Cat Have a Flabby Belly?

Dr. Travis Foster explains it below. This pouch of saggy skin is just in front of the hind legs and fairly common in cats. Cats will "bunny kick" with their back legs during a fight, and this extra skin on your cat's stomach gives your cat's ribs and internal organs an extra layer of protection.

"This bit of loose skin and padding at the belly provides extra protection and insulation to your cat during fights when a cat's practice of "bunny kicking" with the rear paws could result in severe abdominal injury to their opponent. In fact, cats have excess skin covering the entire body which helps them squirm out of the grasp of other predators."

Now cat owners should always be watching to ensure your cat remains at a healthy weight too but don't panic when you see this hanging belly as it has a very specific purpose. Talk to your vet if you think that pouch is storing some extra fat in your cat's saggy belly!

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Have you noticed that your cat has a saggy belly? Kitty hasn't eaten too many treats; it's actually a normal part of your cat's anatomy! The technical term for this belly flap, which can often be seen swaying from side to side when a cat moves, is called the primordial pouch. This loose skin and padding at the belly provides extra protection for the abdominal area during fights when “bunny kicking” with their hind legs. It insulates and protects internal organs and allows a cat to store extra food in its belly. (Important for our ferals who sometimes go days without eating.) It also allows a cat freedom of movement to fully stretch and extend the back legs when running at high speed or jumping. Some people believe that spaying or neutering causes this primordial pouch. This is a myth. All felines, regardless of their size, shape, or sex have this extra flap of skin (including lions and tigers). Even cats who lose weight due to diet or illness still have these belly flaps. @catspaw_catlovers (Many thanks to My Feral Fix for sharing this information!) #TNR #spayandneuter #primordialpouch

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Why Does My Cat Have A Belly Pouch?

Petmeds.com tells us that this flap of skin and fat often feels like a half-full water balloon and you can also observe this feature on some big cats or wild cats like lions and tigers.

When I was in school to be a certified vet tech I learned that another function of the cat's primordial pouch is to allow the domestic cat the ability to fully stretch into those yoga poses you often see them do throughout the day.

"It's also theorized that in our cats' wild ancestors, the flap allowed the stomach to stretch to hold extra food when necessary, such as when gorging after a large kill in the wild."

Did you know this about a cat saggy belly? Let us know on the Wide Open Pets Facebook page!

This post was originally published on September 11, 2019.

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Why Do Cats Have Saggy Bellies?