Why Does My Cat Have a Saggy Belly?


Our cats are valued members of the family and when we notice things about them that seem out-of-the ordinary, it makes us concerned for their health. A hanging belly on your cat can be one of these things makes you wonder if your cat is healthy, but there is not reason for you to be alarmed about a cat that has a stomach that hangs.

Your cat's saggy belly is known as the primordial pouch. It is an excess layer of skin and fat that is in front of your cat's hind legs. A cat's primordial belly, can be more noticeable when they walk or run. 

Why does your cat have a saggy belly? It is part of your cats anatomy that is used for protection. It helps keeps their stomach protected if they are in a fight with another cat that is "bunny kicking". This is something that do with their back paws that can cause severe damage to their abdomen of their opponent.

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Do All Cats Have a Hanging Belly?

Have you ever noticed how some cats seem to have a belly that almost hangs to to the ground and there are others that seem trim and this characteristic is almost nonexistent? Well the truth all cats have this belly to certain extent. In some it is much more pronounced than others. Since this belly is part of what protects your cat, they will all have a belly that hangs. Some will just have more of a belly than others. 

It is a misconception that this belly is affected by being spayed or neutered. I have had cats that were fixed and that had a saggy belly and some that didn't have much of a hanging tummy at all. Bottom line is all my cats had a saggy belly to some degree. 

What is a Primordial Pouch?

As stated above, the primordial pouch is hanging skin that is in front of your cats hind legs. It is the technical name for your cat's saggy belly. This pouch is part of your cats safeguard against injury from other cats. The primordial pouch's primary functions are protection, food storage and movement facilitation. 

The primordial pouch is not as key to your cats survival today as it was in decades past. Some breeds also have a more obvious hanging belly than others. The pure-breds and exotics are said to have a more pronounced sagging belly than other breeds of felines. 

Is My Cat's Saggy Belly Unhealthy?

A hanging tummy in itself is not unhealthy. It is a natural part of your cats anatomy. The important thing to understand is if the belly is your cat's natural primordial pouch or if it is the result of a few too many treats. 

If your cat has a pouch that hangs down, he is probably okay. If his stomach sticks out at the sides and it is hard to feel his spine, this could indicate that your cat is overweight. If this is the case, the bigger concern would your cats diet and activity level. 

If your cat is not overweight and just has a belly that has loose skin that hangs low, there is no reason to be concerned about him being unhealthy.

Boy, Pixie and Mary - Flabby Bellies

Some cat's sagging bellies are much more obvious than others and Boy, Pixie and Mary are perfect examples of this. Mary was a cat (Maine Coon) we rescued from the streets. She had Boy and Pixie 10 days later. Mary was  spayed a few months later. Mary never had a noticeable primordial pouch even after being spayed. She as was a small cat (8 pounds) that had one litter).

Pixie is a female that was spayed at 6 months of age and has an adult weight of 14 pounds. She has what I would consider a moderate primordial pouch. It is definitely there, but is not large.

Boy on the other hand had a very pronounced hanging belly. He was neutered at 6 months and was a large (16 - 17 pounds) ginger cat. When he ran the swinging belly was quite a sight. 

These cats all had saggy bellies and lived long lives with them.

How to Get Rid of My Cats Droopy Belly?

If your cat has a droopy belly and it concerning, you may want to consider making some healthy changes to your cats daily routine. But keep in mind that if the real issue is loose skin, there isn't any thing that can change this. And if your does lose weight, the skin may become looser. 

For a cat, have a trimmer physique will come from eating a clean diet with real meat and less fillers. But the big difference will come with exercise. Find a toy, string, light or ball that your cat enjoys chasing and let him run around, have fun and burn some calories. 

If your cat is overweight, it is important to take the necessary steps to get him down to a more ideal weight. But if you are trying to eliminate your cat's primordial pouch, that will not be possible.

Final Thoughts

Cats have had saggy bellies for years. They are nothing new and nothing to be concerned about. A tummy that hangs down is part of who your cat is whether it is barely noticeable or hangs to the ground. Having a saggy belly is part of who your cat is! 

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