Did you notice that there seems to be a skin flap on your cat’s abdomen that swings each time he or she might be running around in your house? If that’s the case, you’re probably thinking that neutering or spaying your feline friend was not a good idea as your pet is now risking becoming obese.
But the truth is that the hanging belly portion that you’re seeing might just as well be a primordial pouch and not fat.
In today’s article, we’re looking at what a primordial pouch is, what breeds have a higher chance of exhibiting one, and exactly what the purpose of this extra is.
Where is a primordial pouch located?
The location of a primordial pouch in cats is along the length of the animal’s stomach. It is a little closer to the cat’s rear than the center of the cat’s belly.
More often than not, the primordial pouch can be invisible while your cat is completely resting. It might appear visible only when your cat is running, for example. Most pet parents love how it looks as it is swaying from one side to the other as the cat walks fast or plays around the house.
What is the purpose of a primordial pouch?
Vets haven’t reached a consensus regarding the exact purpose of the primordial pouch of cats. However, the truth is that it does make a cat’s anatomy a lot more functional in some ways, all of which we will describe below.
- An extra amount of protection
Technically, the primordial pouch is an additional layer of protection for the cat’s abdomen, but the truth is that it’s thin enough for it to be damaged with ease.
However, if the cat gets in a fight with another animal and that body region is scratched, chances are that none of the peritoneum or internal organs are going to get damaged. So it would not be far-fetched to say that a cat that has a primordial pouch is better protected than one that doesn’t have this extra.
- Food storage
A cat’s weight tends to vary a lot during her life, and this is even truer for those that have no owners or that live outdoors 100% of the time. It might be that on some days, the cat might have access to plenty of food, while on others, she might find none at all.
For days when there’s food aplenty to be had, a cat equipped with a primordial pouch is better designed for storage. Sure, the primordial pouch might hold a bit of fat, but that fat could prove to be essential in times of need, as the animal will effectively turn it into blood glucose and use it as a source of energy when there is no food available.
- Easier movement
Cats that have a primordial pouch are a lot more flexible than those that don’t, at least in their abdomen area.
On top of that, their subcutaneous space is more generous, which means that if your pet goes through trauma and a part of the skin is cut or somehow removed from her body, the veterinarian will have enough skin left on the cat’s abdomen to make the right sutures.
I can say this from experience as I once treated a cat whose body was partially paralyzed and that kept creating wounds on her abdomen from constant contact with door thresholds. If she hadn’t had enough skin on her abdomen, it would have been impossible for me to suture her lesion, especially since it was a rather large one right in the middle of her belly.
- An easily expandable abdomen is necessary for pregnancy
If your cat gets pregnant and she has a primordial pouch, it will be fairly easy for the skin to stretch and accommodate the change in the abdomen size.
What breeds are more likely to boast a primordial pouch?
All cats can have a primordial pouch. So even if you adopt a stray, you might notice this ‘extra’ when she grows up and gets a little chubby, too. But some cat breeds have a higher chance of having a primordial pouch, and they are the following:
- Japanese Bobtail
- Egyptian Mau
- Pixie Bob
Can a primordial pouch negatively affect a cat’s life?
The short answer to this question is no. As you might have seen from the sections above, having a primordial pouch can actually be an advantage, not a con. It is not an extra that can put your cat’s health or life at risk in any way, and it should not be surgically removed for esthetic reasons.
Even if your cat loses a lot of weight (maybe she was diagnosed with obesity, for example), if she has a primordial pouch, it will continue to be visible.