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Your Cat's Belly Pouch

All felines, even the big cats; lions and tigers; have belly pouches. A belly pouch is perfectly normal and healthy.  Domesticated cats start to develop them around 6 months old. Some breeds tend to have more noticeable pouches such as Bengal, Egyptian Mau and Pixie-bob. 


What does a Belly Pouch do?

So far, there are several theories.

The most well-known one is that they protect the cat's internal organs during fights. The extra layer of fat, skin and fur gives extra protection between the internal organs and another cat's teeth or claws.

Also suggested is that the pouch gives extra flexibility. It stretches as the cat runs, allowing it to go farther with each bound. Flexibility is vital for cats when evading predators or catching elusive prey.

The belly pouches may serve as extra storage space after big meals. Cats in the wild don't get to choose the time (and the flavour) of their meals.  They eat when they can and need to store the extra fat for leaner times.


Tell Obesity from Belly Pouches

Although belly pouches are perfectly healthy, cat parents need to tell obesity from the normal belly pouches. Obesity increases the risks of heart problems, diabetes, and hypertension, arthritis and cancers.

  • Obese cats have rounder bodies than healthy-weight cats with large pouches.
  • The belly of an obese feline, when looking from the top, comes from the top of the underside and makes its way down. On the other hand, regardless of size, belly pouches go down and are skewed towards the back.
  • Feel your cat’s belly. If it is hard to press; your cat is most likely overweight.

 

Source: "Cat's Primordial Belly Pouches-What is it For?" by Isabella Beltran