top of page

What Is Your Cat’s Adorable Belly Flap? The Primordial Pouch!

“Jelly belly” or “coin purse" or “love paunch”. Whatever you'd like to call it, but the loose skin under a cat's body is officially known as a “primordial pouch.”

What is a primordial pouch?

A primordial pouch is a small pocket of loose skin that is present in some cats, typically located near the base of the cat's tail. It is a normal, congenital (present at birth) structure in certain breeds of cats, such as the Sphynx.

Why Do Cats Have Primordial Pouches?

The primordial pouch is thought to be an evolutionary remnant of a larger pouch that was once used by cats to store food while hunting. Some cats have a more prominent primordial pouch than others, and in some cases, it may be filled with fat, making it more visible.

  • Protection: One theory is that the pouch and its fatty cushion offer protection to the cat’s internal abdominal organs, which would be especially beneficial for wild cats. "This protection could be useful in fighting situations, as well as for injuries," says Dr. Whittenburg.

  • Flexibility: Another theory is that the pouch provides extra flexibility while running, enabling the cat to cover more ground with each stride. This flexibility could also aid a cat in cutting from side to side quickly when they are escaping predators, or while they are chasing prey.

  • Energy: It's also possible the primordial pouch comes in handy when food is scarce. "Some theorize that the pouch may act as a fat reserve, storing fat that can be later used as energy if reliable meals are unavailable," says Dr. Whittenburg.

Does a Primordial Pouch Mean My Cat Is Overweight?

Many pet parents assume the primordial pouch is akin to a kitty “love handle.” However, even a sizeable cat pouch doesn’t necessarily mean your pet is overweight. The size of the pouch has a genetic component and can vary with breed, as well as with individual cats. A healthy cat that has a balanced diet can also have a large pouch.

Not sure if your cat is overweight or simply pouchy?

If you’re concerned about your pet’s weight, check in with your veterinarian.


bottom of page