What is the Primordial Pouch?

Is your cat overweight or do they just have a prominent primordial pouch?

That’s what the loose skin is called on the belly of most cats, just in front of their hind legs. You can see this clearly in Shorty’s picture above. But don’t go out and get your kitty a tummy tuck! It’s supposed to be there to protect their abdomen and it also allows easier stretching and longer running strides. It might also have allowed the stomachs of their wild ancestors to expand after eating a big kill. Now they just expand because they like eating and sleeping so much!

But on fluffy cats like Shorty, it can make it hard to determine if your cat is pudgy or just pouchy. It’s actually prized on some cat breeds like the Bengal, Egyptian Mau, and Pixie Bob. On cats like Kodi, it’s barely visible.

cat primordial pouch lacking

Kodi lacks a prominent primordial pouch

Overweight cats can store fat in the primordial pouch, so don’t write-off their possible weight issues as anatomy. When you feel their belly — well, if they allow you to feel their belly — does it feel like a half-empty water balloon or a full bean bag? If it’s the former, then that’s probably just the pouch. If it’s the latter, you may need to examine how much food and exercise they are getting and adjust as necessary. Ensure your cat is of a healthy weight by checking out this article and scheduling a check-up with your veterinarian.

10 thoughts on “What is the Primordial Pouch?

  1. Learn something new everyday. 🙂 How did I not know about the primordial pouch? Now that I do, what I see on my long, lean running machine of a cat makes complete sense. Thanks for the fun fact.

  2. Thank you so much! I have been worried for ages that my Gracie is overweight. She has very regular eating habits and never overeats, except sometimes when she throws up right afterwards. This happens very occasionally. She is a healthy 11-year-old, weighing about 8.5 pounds!

  3. I read an online article just recently where someone was asking what that was. Now I know! With my boys, I don’t need to feel it to know if they’re overweight or not, unfortunately. 🙁

  4. I noticed this in my cats and I couldn’t find an answer back then. They are sphynx cats, so there’s no fur to disguise their flappy pouch. This explains so much, in fact I wonder how they have so little loose skin, because they love stretching until they look like the coffee-room aliens in MIB. Thanks for the explanation!

  5. Daisy gained a loose flap of skin following spaying which I never noticed before that time. It’s in the exact same place you’re describing and people kept asking if she was pregnant for ages after – so is that the primordial pouch or not? Daisy had been quite streamlined up until that point (5 months old) and I kind of assumed she woke up early from the op and slashed the vets to ribbons before they could tuck it in and tidy it up (since that was what she did to me when I got her back home and tried to fasten an Elizabethan Collar on her). At the time they assured me it would resolve itself. Do cats have the primordial pouch as kittens or only when they reach sexual maturity?

    1. I noticed it developing in my two female kittens at just 10 weeks old, but now that they’re 6 months it’s getting very obvious. Neither is overweight. Both were spayed very young.

  6. 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.

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