Cat’s Primordial Stomach Pouches– What’s it For?

Chunky cats are adorable, but not always overweight. Although part of a cat’s lower abdomen vibrates, it doesn’t always look that way.

The truth is, some cats have belly pouches. But what is it for?

Ur-pouch for cats

The primordial pouch of a cat consists of skin, fur and fat. It is a protective layer that is positioned along the length of your belly. According to Jose Arce, the president-elect of the American Veterinary Medical Association declares that cat bags are normal and healthy.

Every cat has a belly pouch that is different in size. Some have virtually undetectable pouches, while others are easy to spot when the cat is flying back and forth. A cat’s original pouch is often more noticeable in older cats.

Big cats like lions and tigers also have belly pouches.

(Photo: Photo by Anel Rossouw from Pexels)

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The purpose of a cat belly pouch

There are three main theories regarding the purpose of a cat’s primordial pouches, Arce tells Live Science.

The first known theory is that belly pouches protect the cat’s internal organs during a fight by adding an extra layer of protection between the cat’s insides and another cat’s teeth or claws.

A second theory speculates that the pouch gives cats additional flexibility as it expands as the cat walks, allowing them to go further with each bond. Flexibility is an important trait in cats that is required to evade predators or catch elusive prey.

Finally, there is the possibility that the cat’s original bag serves as additional storage space after large meals. In the wild, cats often do not receive two meals a day. Cats eat when they can and tend to store fat from larger kills in their pouch to feed on for days to come.

Cat breeds like the Egyptian Mau, Bengal, and Pixiebob are known to have primal pouches.

Contrary to popular belief, primordial bags are not only reserved for domesticated cats. Big cats like tigers and lions have belly pouches for the same reasons.

Domestic cats typically develop primordial pouches in female and male cats around 6 months of age, according to Arce.

Differentiating between obesity in cats and abdominal pouches

Owners need to be able to differentiate between obesity in a cat and their belly pouches. As with humans, obesity in cats can lead to many health problems including heart problems, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Obesity in cats increases cats’ risk of arthritis and some forms of cancer, according to Arce.

One way for owners to differentiate between the two is to note the shape of the cat. Orce explains that obese cats tend to have more rounded bodies than healthy-weight cats with large primordial pouches.

An obese cat’s belly, when standing from the top of the cat, comes from the top of the bottom and goes down. On the other hand, primitive bags, regardless of their size, tend to sit further down and are inclined towards the cat’s hind legs.

Another option is to feel your cat’s tummy when it’s hard to squeeze. Your cat is most likely obese.

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