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Why Some Cats Look as if They Have a Flabby Belly


As your cat walks by, you can’t help but notice what looks like a flabby belly that seems to sway with every step he takes. Does all that loose skin mean he’s fat or out of shape? Has your mighty feline hunter gone soft? Not at all. That loose flap of skin and fat on his belly is called the primordial pouch and it actually serves important functions.

Protection During Cat Fights

The abdomen is a very vulnerable area because injury can cause severe damage to the delicate organs located there. Having that loose skin provides extra protection during a fight in case the opponent engages in bunny kicking by raking his hind claws down the other cat’s stomach.

Primordial Pouch Helps with Stretching

The loose skin of the pouch may help the cat stretch out his limbs to the max when in full stride. Cats are extremely flexible and the looseness of the skin may enable them to have more extension.

Mealtime Help

The primordial pouch may have been crucial to your cat’s ancestors when consuming prey after a hunt. The pouch’s ability to expand may have enabled the feline hunters to stuff their stomachs to maximum capacity since they wouldn’t know when they’d eat again.

Watch Your Cat’s Weight

The primordial pouch is seen on even slender, active cats. This pouch is not the same as a cat having too much fat. It’s important to not confuse this flap with feline obesity. Your cat may have a large belly that is actually due to being overweight. If you’re in doubt about whether your cat is at a healthy weight, have him examined by the veterinarian.



For more information on cat behavior and training, refer to the articles on our website and the best-selling books by Pam Johnson-Bennett. If you have a question about your cat’s behavior or health, contact your veterinarian. This article is not intended as a medical diagnosis nor is it a replacement for your cat’s regular veterinary care. This article is for general information purposes only.