The Reason Why Cats Have Belly “Pouches”

Cats come in all shapes and sizes. There are small ones, big ones, fat ones, and thin ones. Something may have noticed on some cats is a belly pouch, which is particularly obvious if it swings when a cat is running. A belly pouch does not mean that a cat is overweight, as it is something that all cats have. However, it is more evident on some felines than others, as the pouch’s size can vary significantly. The pouch is called a primordial pouch, and here is an overview of what this pouch is and some of the theories as to why cats have them.

What Is a Primordial Pouch?

A primordial pouch is a protective layer that consists of fat, skin, and fur, says Live Science. Both males and females have primordial pouches, and they begin to develop in domestic cats when the cat is around six months old. Primordial pouches are not just something that domestic cats have, as wild cats, including big cats, also have these pouches. Here is a look at the different theories about why cats have this part of their bodies.

Theory One

One theory about the purpose of the primordial pouch in cats is that it provides additional protection for the cat’s internal organs. As there is an extra layer of fat, skin, and fur, it is harder for the claws or teeth of another cat or other animal to tear through the cat’s belly and damage its internal organs. If this theory is correct, then the primordial pouch is particularly important for cats that live in the wild, as they are more susceptible to fights with other cats or to becoming the prey of other animals.

The Second Theory

Another theory is that the primordial pouch helps cats to move faster, says Jose Arce, the president-elect of the American Veterinary Medical Association ( When a cat runs, the primordial pouch stretches, so it makes the cat more flexible. It also makes them more agile and gives them the ability to move further with every move they make. Again, the ability to move faster is particularly useful to wild cats. When a wild cat is in a dangerous situation, such as when they are under attack from another animal, moving as quickly as possible is sometimes a life and death situation.

An Alternative Theory

The final theory as to why cats have the primordial pouch is that it is a fat-storage area, says Sepicat World. If you are a responsible cat owner, then you will make sure your cat gets enough food each day. However, cats in the wild cannot always guarantee that they will get food every day. Sometimes they hunt a large animal that provides plentiful food for a cat or a family of cats for several days. On other occasions, a wild cat may go days without food if the prey is limited. When cats in the wild have food, they eat as much as possible so that they have the energy to cover the days when food is not available to them. A primordial pouch is a place that their bodies can store the extra fat as energy. Again, this theory applies mostly to wild and feral cats, and domesticated cat breeds have simply retained these physical features.

A Big Pouch or Overweight?

It is essential that cat owners can identify the difference between a cat with a large primordial pouch and a cat that has become obese. If your cat is eating a healthy and balanced diet, gets enough exercise, and is within the healthy weight range for its size, breed, and age, then it is most likely that a large belly that sags is simply a large primordial pouch. Experts say that one way to identify the difference is to look at your cat’s body shape. An overweight cat will usually have a rounder appearance throughout its body, while a cat with a large primordial pouch will simply have a part of its belly that hangs down further than the rest of its belly. An obese cat’s belly covers all of its underside, while a primordial pouch starts lower down on its belly and is then skewed towards the back legs. Feeling for your cat’s ribs is an easy way to tell the difference. If you can easily feel the cat’s ribs, then it is likely that your cat’s belly is simply the primordial pouch. On the other hand, if you have to press hard to feel the ribs, then the likelihood is that your cat is overweight.

It is also likely that your cat is obese if you know that they are eating too much food, snacking on unhealthy items between meals, and not getting enough exercise. Your vet can offer guidance about your cat’s appropriate weight range and how to help them maintain a healthy weight. Making sure that your cat does not become obese is essential, as it can lead to your cat suffering from many conditions, some of which are potentially life-threatening. According to International Cat Care, some of the health conditions of which there is a higher risk due to obesity include diabetes, joint problems, heart conditions, hypertension, urinary tract infections, fat deposits in the liver, skin diseases, low energy levels, and even some types of cancer. To avoid your cat becoming obese, feed them a healthy diet and make sure they get enough exercise. If you have an indoor cat, encourage them to play and get active by buying your cat a cat tree and toys.

A Cat’s belly Pouch – The Final Verdict

A cat’s belly pouch is called a primordial pouch, and scientists have several theories about this part of a feline’s body. It is essential to identify the difference between a large primordial pouch and obesity, as obesity is potentially harmful to your cat’s health.

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