Have you ever noticed your cat has a pouch of loose skin that tends to wobble while he or she walks? You might find yourself wondering if your cat has been putting on extra weight or that their hanging belly is a sign of something wrong, but there is no reason to worry! So, why does a cat have a hanging belly?
Cats naturally develop a hanging belly over time, typically around the age when they become fully mature. This loose skin is just a natural part of your cat’s anatomy, and it is officially referred to as the primordial pouch.
That pouch of hanging skin and fat serves a lot of purpose for cats. Most importantly, it’s entirely normal and nothing to be concerned about.
Is It Normal For A Cat To Have A Saggy Belly?
While there are always exceptions, for the most part, a saggy belly is entirely reasonable for both male and female cats, and there is a scientific reason they are built that way! Cats have been biologically equipped with those pouches for thousands of years, and you might notice some of your cat’s bigger feline relatives such as the cheetah and mountain lion are similarly built.
Cats have always been hunters, and their stomach pouches are built-in protection for them from predators. The pouch of loose skin protects their internal organs if they find themselves in a dangerous fight.
Another theory that scientists have is that the extra saggy belly area is there in case your cat needed a little extra space. We have all witnessed the crazy flexibility of cats before. One idea is that that excess skin allows them to bend, jump, and twist in all sorts of crazy ways!
How Do I Get Rid Of My Cat’s Saggy Belly?
If you feel like your cat is overweight or you are concerned, something is not right with your cat, the best course of action would be to ask your vet. They will be able to examine your cat, and better tell you whether further action needs to be taken.
You can usually tell if your cat’s saggy belly is indeed correlated to a weight problem by watching the way your cat moves. Take note the next time you see your cat walking across the room.
If their saggy belly is swaying right to left, it’s probably their primordial pouch. If they are overweight, you would not see as much movement, and your cat would usually look solid and thick through their middle.
The truth is that there is really no way to get rid of your cat’s saggy belly. Once you have taken steps to ensure your cat’s primordial pouch is normal and there is not another underlying condition, it’s best to accept the extra belly skin as something to love about your kitty!
When Do Cats Develop The Primordial Pouch?
Cat owners often comment on how their cat did not always have a hanging belly, which is why they grow concerned when they begin to notice it changing. This is ok! It is true that the primordial pouch may not have been prominent when your cat was a baby, but expect it to grow in as they reach adulthood.
You should also know that the primordial pouch will be more pronounced for certain cat breeds. Specific cat breeds such as the Bengal that are bred from wild cats are required to have a primordial pouch to officially be considered one of the breed.
How Should A Cat’s Tummy Feel?
When a cat is healthy, and at a normal weight range, their stomachs are usually soft, malleable, and squishy. A cat’s underbelly area is often referred to as feeling like a full water balloon. A cat’s stomach should not be hard to the touch, nor should there be any protrusions or hard lumps on their belly region.
You want the exact opposite for your cat’s tummy. There is no reason to worry if your cat has some loose skin or things are floppy in their abdominal region.
Cat’s love a good belly scratch, so the next time your kitty comes around looking for a tummy rub, take a second to evaluate if their stomach is feeling normal.
How Can I Tell If My Cat Is Bloated?
Similar to humans, some cats struggle with self-control when it comes to food! If you have a very food-motivated cat, you may be worried that they have overindulged and are now bloated or ill.
Bloat or abdominal enlargement can be related to a lot of different issues, ranging from very mild or too much more serious. Before panicking, consider whether it could be any of the following items.
Cats can tend to overeat or to eat items that do not agree with them. Please take note of whether they are throwing up or trying to get sick. This could indicate they have been overeating or ate something they shouldn’t have.
Is your cat a female, and could she be pregnant? That bloated stomach could be a growing belly in female cats. Another option to look into is whether your cat has contracted a parasite. This sounds serious but is easily treatable with medicine.
Outside of those less severe reasons, your cat could be experiencing abdominal enlargement due to a tumor or a problem with one of their organs. Sometimes inflammation can cause the abdominal cavity to swell in cats.
Before jumping to the worst conclusions, look for changes in your cat’s behavior. If they have been acting differently or feeling off for a few days in a row, it is wise to call the vet.
How To Treat Bloating For Your Cat
The next question is how to help your cat feel more comfortable and treat the bloat if you have identified the cause of your cat’s bloating to be food-related. One way to do this is to ensure your cat isn’t overeating during mealtime by only putting out a set portion of food at a time.
Make sure your cat always has fresh water available and is drinking enough water to stay adequately hydrated throughout the day. If you find your cat still gets bloated after eating, consider whether you have recently switched their food, which could be upsetting their stomach.
For some cats, it’s also best to avoid vigorous playing or high energy activities after mealtime, as this can lead some cats to bloat or throw up. To prevent this, wait a few hours after your cat’s feeding to playing with them.
If you have pinpointed that your cats bloating is not related to food issues, you will likely need to get your vet involved to recommend treatment options.
What Are The Symptoms Of Abdominal Distension For Cats?
Typically, the phrase abdominal distension is used to refer to more extreme cases of bloating. The main symptom of abdominal distension is if your cat’s abdominal area is sticking out much further than the rest of their body.
Also, please make a note of how this area of their body feels. Is it firm to the touch or much harder than the rest of their body? These are also other indicators that your cat is having an abdominal problem.
Cats are unique creatures, and their bodies have adapted and evolved for centuries. When people notice cat’s floppy bellies and loose skin, they often assume it’s a sign of a weight problem, and we know that’s not true! The primordial pouch is not something to worry about and is just there to keep your cat healthy and safe.