Why Do Cats Have Loose Belly Skin?

February 15, 2024

While it may look like excess belly fat to the untrained eye, that saggy flap of skin under your cat's abdomen is not the result of obesity. In fact, a floppy pouch of skin and fur is completely normal in cats and serves a very important purpose. That saggy layer, which is also known as the primordial pouch, is actually an evolutionary feature of the feline body.

It stretches, flexes, and swings with the cat's movement and can be more noticeable in older cats and those who have been formerly overweight. The primordial pouch, which is found in all felines (and even big cats such as lions and tigers), runs along the length of the cat's stomach and is more pronounced towards the rear of the animal.

Theories about the function of this pouch include that it provides a flexibility to a cat's stride and enables them to run faster, which could prove useful during a predator attack or when chasing prey. The pouch is also thought to add a barrier between claws and teeth during a fight, as well as to store fat that would serve as an energy reserve.

If you're concerned that your cat is overweight, try feeling for their ribs on the sides and abdomen. If the ribs are visible and you're able to feel them, your kitty is probably healthy. However, if you can't feel the ribs or see an indentation under the abdominal pouch, your cat is likely obese and might benefit from a diet plan and exercise routine.


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