Why Does A Cat’s Belly Hang? Does It Bother The Cat?

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Have you noticed that your cat’s belly seems to hang lower than the rest of its body? My cat’s belly has been hanging his whole adult life. He is not overweight or ill. Not all cats are like this.

I have even had to defend him from bullying (laughing and commenting from a neighbor) about his low hanging belly.

Now, how ridiculous is that? I am getting offended on behalf of the cat. Well, the cat is part of the family. Here is the cat. Gosh are these my insecurities coming out? Not going there!

The pouch is not hugely obvious in this photo, however it is still visible.

Why Does a Cat’s Belly Hang?

A hanging belly, the type that sways from side to side, is generally considered normal in cats.

It has an official name. It is called a primordial pouch. It may also be known by these names: saggy belly, belly flap, abdominal flap, primordial flap, or hind leg apron. They are not exactly flattering names.

Hey kitty, looking great there, apart from that hind leg apron!

What Is a Primordial Pouch?

A primordial pouch, also known as a “spay pouch” or “spay bump,” is a small, fatty deposit located in the abdominal area of cats.

One theory points to the pouch protecting inner organs when cats are fighting. I’m sure we have all see the ‘bunny kicks’ even just in play. With this picture in mind the purpose of protecting organs does make sense.

Bunny kicking is a behavior that some cats do when they play. It involves the cat using their back legs to hit an object, often a toy or ball, over and over again.

The behavior is often seen as playing, and can be fun for both the cat and the person watching. Cats may do this more when they are feeling playful or energetic.

Tickle this kitty on his tummy and he may bunny kick!

In cats, the primordial pouch is generally small and not noticeable, but it can become more prominent in some individuals.

It may be more pronounced in cats that are overweight or have a sedentary lifestyle. It is possible that the primordial pouch could contribute to the appearance of a hanging belly in some cats.

The size and prominence of the primordial pouch can vary from cat to cat. Some cats may have a more pronounced pouch due to excess or loose skin on their abdomen.

This can cause the pouch to hang down and sway from side to side as the cat walks. The pouch can really swing when the cat runs. In some cases, the pouch may be so large that it covers the cat’s ribs or hangs down over their hind legs.

It is generally located in the lower abdominal region, near the pelvis, and close to the cat’s reproductive organs. In some cases, the primordial pouch may be so small that it is not noticeable. In others, as described, it may be more pronounced and visible.

Are Certain Cat Breeds More Likely To Have A Primordial Pouch?

There is no evidence to suggest that some cat breeds are more likely to have a hanging pouch, or “spay pouch,” than others.

Factors That Affect the Size of the Primordial Pouch

The size and prominence of the primordial pouch can be affected by a variety of factors. These include diet, age, neutering or spaying, and health issues.

It is not necessarily a characteristic of a particular breed.

Diet: A cat’s diet plays a significant role in their overall body size and shape. This includes the size of their primordial pouch. Cats that eat a diet high in calories and fat may have a larger pouch compared to cats that eat a more balanced diet.

Age: As cats age, their metabolism slows down, which can lead to weight gain. This can cause the primordial pouch to appear larger.

Neutering or spaying: Cats that have been neutered or spayed may have a slightly larger primordial pouch. This is due to the lack of sex hormones in their systems.

Health issues: Diabetes or kidney disease can cause the primordial pouch to appear larger. It’s important to consult with a veterinarian if you notice a sudden change in your cat’s primordial pouch size.

The Primordial Pouch in Male and Female Cats

It is worth noting that the primordial pouch is more commonly seen in female cats, especially those that have been spayed. This is likely due to the lack of sex hormones in the body, which can cause the abdominal area to appear softer and rounder.

Male cats may also also have a primordial pouch, but it is generally less pronounced compared to females.

In males, the pouch may be more difficult to notice unless the cat is overweight or has a sedentary lifestyle. But once again, not always, our cat with the hanging belly was not overweight and was an active male.

Is A Primordial pouch The Same As A Panniculus?

It is important to note that a primordial pouch is not the same as a panniculus. While the primordial pouch is a small, fatty deposit located in the abdominal area of animals, a panniculus is a layer of fat that accumulates in the abdominal area, often hanging down over the pelvis.

It is typically associated with obesity in humans.

why does a cat's belly hang?

What Is A Primordial Pouch In Cats Made From?

The primordial pouch is made up of fat cells, which are specialized cells in the body that store energy and help to insulate and cushion the body. Fat cells are found throughout the body, including in the abdominal area, where they can contribute to the appearance of a round or hanging belly.

The Purpose of the Primordial Pouch

The purpose of the primordial pouch is not well understood. Some theories suggest that it may serve as a fat reserve for times of scarcity, similar to the way that marsupial joeys rely on their mother’s milk for nourishment.

Others propose that it may have a hormonal function, as the presence of the pouch has been linked to the lack of sex hormones in the body.

It is important to note that the primordial pouch is not a cause for concern and does not typically require treatment.

The Primordial Pouch in Obese Cats

Obesity is a common health issue in domestic cats, and it can lead to a number of serious health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

In obese cats, the primordial pouch may be more pronounced due to excess fat accumulation in the abdominal area.

This can cause the cat’s pouch to hang down over the pelvis, resembling a saggy belly or abdominal flap.


The Primordial Pouch and Cat Behavior

The pouch is not a functional structure in domestic cats and does not serve any known purpose. However, some cat owners may notice that their cat’s behavior changes when the cat’s pouch is more pronounced.

For example, a cat with a prominent primordial pouch may appear less agile or less able to defend themselves if they get into a fight with another cat.

It is important to note that the size of the cat primordial pouch does not necessarily reflect a cat’s overall health or well-being.

Some cats may have a naturally round or hanging belly due to their anatomy and build, while others may have a more pronounced pouch due to excess weight or a sedentary lifestyle.

People Give Cute Names To The Primordial Pouch

Some people give cute or humorous names to the cat primordial pouch, or “spay pouch,” which are noticeable in some cats. Some examples include:

“Spay Bump”

“Belly Button Bump”

“Kangaroo Pouch”

“Marsupial Muffin”

“Jelly Belly”

The purpose of the primordial pouches is not well understood, and it is not a cause for concern.

If your cat’s belly (primordial pouch) swings around don’t let anyone poke fun of it. Stand up for your kitty!

Think of a cute name for it. Let’s face it the phrase ‘primordial pouch’ does sound positively medieval.

The cat’s ancestors have a lot to answer for. Maybe you have a medieval looking cat. Some black cats have a touch of medieval about them – all wise, all knowing.

If you want to read more, (not too much more) about black cat superstitions, I have collected some superstitions from around the world. Also, meet the black cat who became a mascot.

Well, that explains a few things dear!

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