The Star-Herald

Primordial pouch

Have you ever seen a cat with a big sagging belly?  My cat Zoey, whom I had for 18 years, at one time weighed in at 19 pounds and her belly hung and swayed back and forth when she walked.  I always called her “fatty cat.”

Well, the other day I was on Facebook and came across some interesting material about a cat’s belly.  Come to find out, this is not fat.  If your cat’s belly hangs down and swings from side to side as she walks, this is normal. That’s the cat’s primordial pouch, also known as a belly flap or abdominal flap. This pouch presents in cats of both genders and is more obvious in some breeds than in others, and it has a purpose.  

Located in front of your cat’s hind legs, the primordial pouch is really just a bit of excess skin and fat. While many people assume it’s a result of having gained or lost weight, or from having been spayed or neutered, this is not the case.  However, an overweight cat will store extra fat in her belly flap, so it’s important to keep your cat at a healthy weight. 

The belly flap is designed to act as padding and protection during a fight, when cats kick each other in the belly with their hind legs like rabbits. Cats also have loose skin on the rest of their bodies, which allows them to wiggle loose when grabbed by a predator. The belly flap also allows a cat to stretch and move easier when running, walking, twisting or jumping.  

Wild cats have primordial pouches for the same reason, and biologists now think they also allow extra expansion room for gorging on their kills. To learn more on the cat’s primordial pouch, go to 

If you are looking for that special cat or dog, check out the Central Aroostook Humane Society’s Facebook page for pets that are available for adoption.  We have some wonderful animals looking for their forever home.  

Because of COVID-19 we are still closed to the public, but welcome your call or Facebook messages to set up an appointment.  

Please remember to be responsible pet owners: spay and neuter.

“Dogs come when they’re called; cats take a message and get back to you later.” (Mary Bly)

Gail Wieder is a member of the board of the Central Aroostook Humane Society.

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