It’s quite common to notice loose skin fold on your cat’s abdomen as your cat’s belly pooch sways as they walk. But this might raise the question, is it just a flabby belly or not? And what exactly might it be?
While some people think that this might be a result of your cat being overweight resulting in flaccidity, this is never the case. This slightly hanging belly is what is known as a primordial pouch common in some cat breeds.
The pouch is usually evident when a cat’s an adult and looks like excess hanging skin. Let’s dive deeper and debunk the myths from the facts.
All you need to know about the primordial pouch
What’s a Primordial Pouch?
The hanging pouch is what is called a primordial pouch or cat belly flap and is part of a cat’s anatomy. It’s not related to any conditions like overweight, spaying or neutering. Most cats and cat families like lions and tigers have this skin flap, though it’s of different sizes.
An adult might already have a primordial pouch on its abdomen. The pouch is usually at the front of the cat’s hind legs, resembling an accumulation of skin and fat. Sometimes the pouch is hidden from the naked eye due to excess fur, but it’s usually noticeable when your cat walks since it tends to sway from side to side.
The Range of the Primordial Pouch
The pouch is along the length of the stomach at the front of the cat’s hind legs but is most noticeable closer to the rear. All felines have this belly flap, but the size will vary from one cat to another. In much older cats and formerly overweight felines, the pouch is sometimes more pronounced.
Since it’s not directly attached to any muscles, it’s movable and somewhat elastic and can also feel slippery or jellylike when you gently pat it. But, this depends on how much fat is deposited in the area.
As your cat ages, they tend to lose some muscle tones resulting in pouch droop. However, you should understand that this is part of your cat’s anatomy, and you shouldn’t worry about your feline friend needing plastic surgery to improve her figure.
The Function of the Pouch
The primordial pouch is more of a genetic characteristic that was present in the first breeds of wild cats and still exists until now. While it doesn’t have a major function, it can still be useful sometimes. Some of its functions include
The pouch has some percentage of fat content making it an effective way of storing energy in case the cat has to go for long periods without food. Concerning the relation to food storage, some experts believe that another reason cats have a pouch is that they have genes from a wildcat ancestor who might have needed a stretchy stomach to store food for a while.
Remember that wildcats, strays and ferals don’t know when and where their next meal will present itself so they have to sustain fats.
Movement and Stretching
The pouch facilitates movement as a result of the excess fats and skin. This allows the cat to stretch more easily since the abdomen is more elastic. The ease in movement can also aid in your feline’s running abilities and allows her to stretch out farther while taking long strides.
The excess skin and fat deposit in the pouch protects the abdomen during fights with other cats or animals. Abdominal organs are quite delicate and can be damaged from injury if a cat is in a fight. The belly flap can protect a feline’s sensitive lower belly shielding vital organs from sharp tearing claws when they are fighting with predators and other cats.
Even with all these functions, the primordial pouch of skin has one setback. It can make it difficult to evaluate your cat’s weight. Also, while your cat might still have an attractive shape when looked at from above, the belly pouch doesn’t look pleasant when it sways as your cat moves. This might not seem that appealing to some cat owners.
Cat breeds with the pouch
In general, the Egyptian Mau, the Bengal cat, Japanese Bobtail and Pixie Bob are among the top breeds that have the most evident primordial pouches. You might also find it in a mix of these and other breeds, though it’s more evident in male cats than in females. But, you’ll only notice the primordial pouch once your cat is an adult.
It’s quite evident that the primordial pouch is not a bad characteristic nor is it a sign of an overweight cat. It has primary functions that can be quite useful for your cat. Some breeds tend to have primordial pouches and others don’t while in some felines the primordial pouch is more visible than in others. But, the pouch is quite visible in pure-bred cats, although with evolution the pouch is not that common.