Here's the Real Reason Why Your Cat Has a Saggy Belly

Many of us have a cat who could afford to lose a few pounds, so it's easy to see that saggy belly and blame it on the extra treats we've given our felines. Still, even some thin cats will sport this saggy pouch in spite of their dieting choices. It's a little perplexing to see an athletic cat with a bit of extra chub around the middle, which leaves many cat owners scratching their heads. So, why do cats have saggy bellies? turned to Dr. Melissa M. Brock, a board-certified veterinarian, for some much-needed clarification on the topic.

Good news: Cats are supposed to have a little extra cushion around the middle! "Cats have saggy bellies because cats are mammals, and mammals have a layer of fat that sits between their skin and internal organs," Brock says. A cat's saggy belly is actually called the primordial pouch. "This fat is called the panniculus adiposus, or subcutaneous fat," she explains. "The subcutaneous fat serves as a sort of cushion for the body's organs, and it also helps to regulate body temperature by insulating the body."

This saggy pouch can usually be found right in front of the hind legs and is a fairly common occurrence in cats. If you've ever seen your cat bunny kick, you'll immediately understand the reason for this pouch. This extra layer of skin can help protect your feline's ribs and internal organs from being shredded by the bunny kick of their enemies. Seems like serious stuff for a house cat, but it's a very useful trait to have when living in the wild.

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Small cat laying on its back

Another common theory about this pouch is that it allowed the stomach to stretch to accommodate more food, since wild cats would sometimes hunt large game and gorge themselves on it for days.

"The panniculus adiposus can be used as an energy reserve if food sources are scarce," Brock says. "The panniculus adiposus is also important in reproduction: It produces hormones that are necessary for ovulation and milk production." The extra skin also allows your cat flexibility for stretching, twisting, and doing other cat-like things.

Playful cat shows its belly

Cat owners should always keep an eye on their cat's weight, as cats are prone to easily becoming too large when living a sedentary lifestyle. Still, if you notice a pouchy belly, don't panic. If you're not sure if your cat is fat or simply sporting a primordial pouch, talk to your vet or consult a weight chart online. If you find your furry friend is getting too large, try using a slow feeder or playing cat games to keep him active.

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