In some cats it is particularly easy to see when they are lying on their side: there is a small belly peeking out. It looks like excess skin or a fold of fat with fur on it. Is this simply excess weight accumulating in this area? Or was the cat’s skin sewn together incorrectly after an operation at the vet’s office?

Far from it – at least when it comes to a cat of normal weight. Because this little potbelly is completely normal in cats and even fulfills important anatomical functions. And not only domestic cats have it, but also their wild relatives and ancestors such as wild cats or tigers.

In articles about this phenomenon there are a whole series of expressions for the small pad on the underside of the house tiger, two of which are primal belly or fat apron. In English-speaking countries we speak of a “primordial pouch”, which means something like “original bag” or “original bag” and therefore sounds much more elegant than something with “pouch”.

Since we are not posh Englishmen, let’s try the “fat apron” – and get a little closer to the function of the small area: The additional flaps of skin on the stomach actually serve to protect the cat’s internal organs and act like a kind of cushion to ward off attacks – for example from hits from other animals or sharp claws. The cat has extra protection in sensitive areas of its body thanks to the small pad of fat. Anyone who has ever witnessed a cat fight can imagine that an additional crumple zone is a good idea.

But the “primal belly” doesn’t just serve to protect the cat, as explained in a number of articles. It actually gives the pet tigers more freedom of movement. The additional skin with the small fat pad allows them to stretch and expand better, which is helpful when climbing, for example.

Some people think that the small fold of fat on the stomach of female animals is specifically caused by castration (keyword: “not sewn together properly after the operation”). This is wrong, but the small “floppy belly” only occurs in adult animals. And the older the tom or cat, the weaker the connective tissue. In addition, castration changes the animals’ hormones, which further weakens the connective tissue and thus promotes the formation of abdominal folds, writes the Dortmund cat care service, for example.

Adult cats with small, flabby bellies are generally very healthy and anatomically well built. However, too much fat should not accumulate there. Obesity is just as unhealthy for cats as it is for people. And if the abdomen swells or if, for example, changed tissue can be felt, you should definitely take your cat to the nearest veterinary practice.

Sources: Cat Care Dortmund, “”,

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