The primordial pouch in cats; what is it and what is it for?

The primordial pouch in cats; what is it and what is it for?

19 September, 2019

Have you ever noticed that some cats have a hanging belly that swings when they walk? Some people think that this flaccidity is due to an overweight feline, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. This is the primordial pouch, and it is common in some cat breeds.

The primordial pouch usually appears in adulthood, it looks like excess skin, regardless of whether the cat is or has been overweight.

We will tell you about all the curiosities of it, so you can also identify it in your cat.

What is the primordial pouch?

If your cat is an adult, it may already have a primordial pouch under its belly. It is right in front of the cat’s hind legs, forming an excess of skin and fat. Although sometimes to the naked eye it is hard to see because of the fur, when you see a cat walking it becomes more noticeable, by its constant movement from side to side.

What is the purpose of the primordial pouch in cats?

The primordial pouch in cats is a genetic characteristic that has been maintained from the first breeds of wild cats. Nowadays it doesn’t have a key function, but it can still be useful sometimes.

  • Storing food. Given its fat content, it is a way to store energy in case the cat has to face a long period without food.
  • Facilitates movement. Since it is excess skin, the cat can stretch more easily, with a more elastic abdomen.
  • Protection. This extra layer of skin and fat serves as protection for the abdomen in case of fights with other cats or animals.

Breeds that tend to have primordial pouches

Due to the evolution of current cat breeds, in some felines the primordial pouch is more evident than in others. It can especially be better seen in pure-bred cats, although this physical characteristic is being lost due to evolution.

The breeds that have the most evident pouches are the Egyptian Mau, Japanese Bobtail, Pixie Bob and the Bengal cat. As well as the mix of these and other breeds, it being more common in male cats than in females.

Does your cat also have a primordial pouch under its belly?

88 Comments

  1. Joy Clowers says:

    My male cat is mixed with siamese and no tail Manic. His name is Jax. His primordial pouch hangs close to the floor. When he runs or trots his belly flops back and forth. He looks strange when he does. He is a long cat with an awesome personality.

  2. Suzanne Faria says:

    I have a male Sphynx cat and he most definitely has a primordial pouch!!

  3. Pege Godfrey says:

    Thank you for this explanation. I thought my cat,a male, was broken because of his pouch.

  4. Jennifer Graham says:

    My purebred ragdoll has one, so did my domestic short hairs.

    • Sebas says:

      Yes! many types of breeds can develop a primordial pouch.

    • Nikki says:

      Thanks for the info! I have an all black cat we adopted from Stray Rescue. He is 7 months old now and I noticed the primordial pouch about a month ago. Other cats I have had before didn’t have that and it worried me. Glad to know it’s normal!

  5. Nancy Tjapkes says:

    Thanks for the info on the pouch!

  6. Mel Skelton says:

    I’ve got 2 cats. They are twin sisters but one has a primordial pouch the other doesn’t

  7. Jonno says:

    I must be part cat then…

  8. Bob Woods says:

    Yes, our two born feral tuxedo cats have it, one more pronounced than the other which sways gracefully from side to side when she walks or trots. And yes, my any people who see her comment on hiw fat she is and that I’m making it up.
    Bob in Shaker Hts, OH

  9. Jean Nowak says:

    My nine years old Calico, who only weighs seven and a half pounds sports that pouch. She is not much motivated by any kind of food and simply eats to live. I’m glad to be able to tell people that she isn’t out of shape now but wears a documented primordial pouch!

  10. Jim Gonyon says:

    Thanks for the info

  11. Joanne Umbrasas says:

    Yes, it very large. He’s a very large cat , solid dark grey .

  12. Daniel Phelps says:

    Yes it does! Quite the gut!

  13. Kathy Caudill says:

    Russian Blue has one she is female…

  14. Marilyn Lynch says:

    Yes, my boy Brodie has it. Thank you for the explanation. It makes sense now.

  15. lou says:

    both my cats have the pouch

  16. Linda Davis says:

    My cat put on a lot of weight after he got fixed. Didn’t change his diet and I don’t give him human food but he got heavy. Any ideas why?

    • Sebas says:

      It is completely normal since the procedure changes and slows down your cat’s metabolism, both male and female cats can experience a sudden weight gain for no apparent reason.

  17. Bob says:

    Yes my cat has that and he was a rescued cat from South Carolina as a kitten and we adopted him at a rescue in Seabrook NH where we live he is tabby that looks like a bobcat with his fur colors

  18. Cindy d. Hart says:

    Yes… I was really concerned after she was spayed, as she contacted an infection. After antubiotics, she was fine but evidently as she grew the rest of her 1st year, this pouch developed. Until I spoke to family member, who had heard of this, I was quite concerned she may have a growth… now so greatful it’s not that!. thank you for all this info!

  19. Marie says:

    Yes. He’s got a HUGE chunk of loose fatty skin . I always grab it and jiggle it. He seems to think its some sort of display of affection. I just do it bcuz it’s all flappy and jiggly! Lol. He’s a light orange cat with very distinctive stripes and dots in a reddish /brown color. He’s my buddy. His name is Rocco Paco

  20. Irene says:

    Yes he has this pouch, his Vet told me he’s fat and needs to be put on a diet. He weighs 19.88 pounds. He is 9 years old i believe. Do you think he needs a diet?

    • Sebas says:

      It truly depend on your cat’s size and breed. But, if you notice that your cat has mobility issues, weight loss could be beneficial for your little friend.

  21. Nina Wax says:

    My cat I believe is an English Bombay cat and has an obvious pouch that sways when she walks. She also has a Bombay sway-like walk that makes her pouch sort of flap back and forth. She also had a very shiny black coat when we first got her.

  22. pepe says:

    my kitty girl has a pouch, we like to joke that she has saggy boobs lol.

  23. Ann says:

    Yes, and the one in eight we now have is a little three year old female. Her sister is less bulky than she with a slender build.

    We have had a number of cats in the years gone by that had this pouch. Thought it was too much food. One old girl was a big Persian mix.

  24. Annette Mackay says:

    My cat has quite large ones. She is 15 years old, and I thought it was from when she was younger and fatter.

  25. Sheela kiran says:

    It’s can remove ? And how ? Pls tell me my cat is female she is 2month only but she have a big primordial pouch in under the back side leg can you please tell me about this problem

    • Sebas says:

      Since it is completely normal for a cat to have a primordial pouch, we do not recommend removing it. What can be done is keeping an eye on your cat’s diet, an excess of weight combined with a primordial pouch could be the reason why your cat has mobility issues.

  26. Denise Alexander says:

    Yes, my cat has this. She was a stray that we domesticated. When we first gained her trust we took her to the vet for shots and whatever treatment she needed. She’s now an indoor/outdoor pet. She is a Bengal style cat. Very finicky but friendly to us. She doesn’t care much for strangers. When I first noticed her hanging belly I thought she was pregnant. It’s nice to know that she is normal.

  27. Sharyn Fernandez says:

    My friend has a polydactyl 8 year old male with this pouch. Thanks, I was wondering if it was normal.

  28. Susan Edwards says:

    Yes, but she is a moggy not a purebred

  29. Roberta Burry says:

    One of my current 4 has a pouch…the others have tight bellies . All are shorthair domestics…all rescues no specific breed bloodlines. 2 oddeyed white males..one with a pouch. The other 2, one black female and one white male have no pouch at all.

  30. Patricia Bell says:

    Female, 4yr old, has pouch. Runt of her litter, small cat. She is short hair, multi colored and her pouch is all rust in color which makes it so obvious. She isn’t purebred, she was born in my yard. Why would she have a pouch? Thanks!

    • Sebas says:

      Having a primordial pouch is completely normal! No particular reason that your cat has it, it will actually helps her in many things such as protection and food storage.

  31. Vanessa Seaton says:

    Yes my flame point ragdoll

  32. Susan says:

    Thank you. So interesting. Some of our cats have them. Funny watching them run.

  33. Morgana MoonOwl says:

    I have a pure breed Devon Rex Cat. She’s a fatty and definitely has this primordial pouch. Although coz she’ is fat hers is very noticeable. She pretty much had it since about the age of 5hrs I think. She’s now 11 yrs old.

  34. stephanie branson says:

    yes and she appears to be a calico mix

  35. Erika says:

    Yes she does. I think she is just an alley cat, but her pouch is quite pronounced and she loves a tummy rub.

  36. Maria Munoz says:

    Yes my 2cats have it it’s funny when he walks it hangs from side to side he’s 8 yrs old and the other 4 yrs

  37. Barbara says:

    My Hannah got her primordial pouch at six months is that unusual very interesting article thank you

  38. Carrie Mccabe says:

    Hi. My cat has a primordial pouch. I was scared he was just so fat and the vet put him on a diet. So it’s normal and I don’t have to worry? Thank you carrie

    • Sebas says:

      When having a primordial pouch it is important to maintain a healthy weight range, since both conditions combined could cause a mobility problem. Make sure to consult your veterinarian to see if your cat is healthy or needs to be put on a diet.

  39. Eileen Wild says:

    Yes, my cat has quite a large primordial pouch. He is just a lovely black and white tuxedo cat and I think he will not have to use his pouch for extra supplies as he is extremely well fed.

  40. Leslie Ann Ratzlaff says:

    Yes, Jasmine, my 8 year old female has a primordial pouch. She has semi long, thick fur and has some dark markings on her sides that have Bengal appearance.

  41. Cheri Lundstrom says:

    My cat is an unusual mixture he mother was a registered Savanah with Egyptian Mau, Siamese and Bengal in her history and her sire was a Japanese Bobtail. I guess that qualifies her for a primordial pouch.

  42. Amy Conway says:

    My cat has this pouch. All along my husband and I thought she was overweight. I’m glad to learn this is common.

  43. Loiselle says:

    We own a 16 month old Ginger coloured cat that has a pronounced pouch. She is a large cat for a female. My husband thought it was abnormal or caused when she was spayed.

  44. BobbieJo Serio says:

    I was watching my links Siamese the other day hunt birds over the fence. And when she started to go over the fence her pouch spread out flat to keep her from falling forward. Strangest thing I’ve ever seen. So they are also used for balance in hunting.

  45. Valerie says:

    Yes and he’s only 8 months old

  46. Hay Hay the Cray Cray says:

    Love is stored in the primordial pouch

  47. Lana Parker says:

    Yes my female cat has a good one!

  48. LaDonna Rodriguez says:

    Thank you for your posting of great information. I have had my cat since she was 6 weeks old and she will be 7 on February 17. She has very prominent pouches as well as her Mom and Dad. I never knew why she had pouches. Thank you again.

  49. Dave Formula says:

    I have a female Bengal and she does have the pouch in the place you describe.
    It’s good to get this information as we’ve talked about it and hadn’t come to a conclusion.
    Kind regards
    Dave Formula

  50. Pam says:

    My little boy is almost 10 months and has had the saggy bag since he was 5 months..of course he looks heavier but we know why now….
    He is adorable and wouldnt have him any other way…

  51. jayanta says:

    Marvellous I wanted to know about Mister Tiggs’ potbelly LOL Fanks jay

  52. Ellie says:

    My 12 year old Gray Domestic Shorthair, Mrs. Pooh, has this dangling belly, which I never knew was a natural feature of cats until today! Meanwhile I’ve been calling her “flabulous” Ther rest of her is lean and muscular but she has this blobby little cute pouch that I like to squish when I pick her up! It’s awesome to know that it’s just a normal feature of cats. More reasons to love cats!

  53. CAT says:

    I LIKE CATS MEOW MEOW

  54. Gooseoliver69 says:

    Yes, my cat rigs has one

  55. dora sumner says:

    My garfield kitty 11 years old has a really big pouch, but he is a big cat.dorasumner

  56. Tammy Barnes says:

    Yes, my female Calico cat has such a pouch. She was a stray cat who came into my house through my doggie door on her own accord.

  57. Cindy says:

    My first cat to have this, she lays prone with feet extended, also a first, don’t think it,s an issue but definitely a first

  58. Josel says:

    Yes, way back April 14, 2020 I saw a stray kitten beside national road not later than 2weeks old instead of accident will happened to her anytime I brought her to my home now she’s with complete vaccine and anti rabbies and already spay.. Will celebrate her birthday this coming April 14 and I noticed that her belly is unusual sometimes I massage her.. This link is very informative now a days many furparents does not educate about this or lack of information all they know is to bring their furbaby in vet.. Will spread this info for the benefit of others.. Thank you so much❤️

    • Sebas says:

      Thank you very much Josel! Your cat is very lucky to have landed you as a mom! Keep reading our blog to know more interesting and useful tips to become an even better owner.

  59. jody hartley says:

    yes but I think hers hangs much lower from getting her spayed

  60. Bob says:

    Yes my cat has one. almost touches the ground.

  61. Beth Cameron says:

    My current and previous cats both have/had primordial pouches. The current cat is a very large neutered male, with a very thick, long coat. Officially he is “domestic long-haired” but strongly resembles a Maine Coon. My previous cat was a short-haired spayed female, black and white but with the head and face shape of a Siamese and a Siamese voice and personality. My vet told me that they were overweight, and each was put on a diet that reduced their overall plumpness but the pouch never disappeared. (The current male now has mild diabetes and has slimmed down a lot, but the pouch is still there.) None of the other cats I’ve had as an adult had this pouch — one DLH male, one purebred Persian male, and one half-Abyssinian female. It seems to be a random genetic quirk.

  62. Melba Sparks says:

    Yes, my 3 females cats all have this primordial pouch. They are sisters and I’m not sure of the breed. They are solid black short hair. Their brother, who I also have, is a tuxedo and he does not have this pouch but he is a big cat otherwise.

  63. Marty says:

    Yes. Marty came to us as a kitten whose mother was férile. The primordial pouch was evident when he joined us at 4 months. He is a grey tabby.

  64. Michele Tokuda says:

    Yes. My 8-month old Orange Tabby female cat has a pouch under her belly and isn’t overweight but has a hanging pouch. She was a feral kitten that I adopted at a shelter when she was 4-months old. I e only been noticing her pouch a few weeks ago. Your article helps me to understand her belly better.

  65. Grawe says:

    Very surprised to read about the primordial pouch being more prevalent on males. I was certain the excess skin was due to our cat having been fat and lost the weight. Our cat is a rescue and was completely matted and malnutritioned when we got him. Since then, he has gained weight and is a lovely animal. He is long haired and does mat easily so that has been a challenge. I never liked cats and would never have had a cat but truly love this cat. We have named him, “Pepper”, he is completely black and is such a good cat that I think we got really lucky. He had no front claws and has never had an accident in the house. I think he must have been a very special cat to someone and I cannot imagine having lost him.

  66. Lloyd Beasley says:

    Mine is a mix breed predominately Maine coons. His is very noticable with 5he long fur. His father was an orange tabby who also has the pouch. Both are high energy breeds it seems. And hefty eaters.

  67. Anne Zenker says:

    Yes. She is an 8 year old domestic shorthair. She developed the pouch about a year ago when we adopted her. There is not much fur on the pouch, in fact hardly any.

  68. Kamal says:

    Yes my kitten is 11 months old she already got this primordial pouch & this makes my kitten look fat x

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