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Do All Cats Have a Primordial Pouch? Vet-Reviewed Facts & FAQ

Written by: Brooke Billingsley

Last Updated on February 2, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

Fat Cat On Floor

Do All Cats Have a Primordial Pouch? Vet-Reviewed Facts & FAQ


Dr. Maxbetter Vizelberg DVM Photo


Dr. Maxbetter Vizelberg DVM

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Cats can be a real mystery for a lot of reasons. They’re unique and independent creatures that often leave us scratching our heads. One of the unusual things you may have noticed about cats is that it seems like they appear to have a big, dangly belly regardless of their weight. That unusual belly dangle is called the primordial pouch, and all cats have them, even non-domestic cats.

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What Is a Primordial Pouch?

Whether you’re looking at your pet cat or a tiger at the zoo, you’ll almost certainly be able to spot the primordial pouch. It can vary in size, so it may be more difficult to see in some cats than others, but it is present in all cats. So, if all cats have a primordial pouch, what is its purpose?

Primordial pouches consist of little more than skin and a small amount of fat. They’re similar in structure to the extra skin, or “scruff,” on the back of your cat’s neck. Cats are born with their primordial pouch intact, but they may not be particularly noticeable in newborn kittens.

british shorthair
Image Credit: FotoMirta, Shutterstock

Why Do Cats Have Primordial Pouches?

There are three factors that explain why cats have primordial pouches:

  • The first reason relates to flexibility. The flexible nature of the primordial pouch allows cats to fully extend their bodies in a way that lets them perform some impressive acrobatics, like jumping and redirecting their bodies in midair.
  • Although your housecat likely eats multiple meals daily, wildcats and feral cats only eat one meal per day or less. It’s essential to their survival to make the most of food when it’s available. The primordial pouch allows for greater flexibility and expansion of the abdomen after a cat has consumed a large meal, as is typical for wildcats.
  • It may serve a role in defense. If you’ve ever seen two cats wrestling, you’ve likely seen the famous bunny kick they do to each other. Domestic and wildcats will perform this move in a far more dangerous manner in actual fights. The primordial pouch is an extra layer of protection between an attacker’s claws and your cat’s internal organs. The flexibility of the primordial pouch can make it difficult for an attacker to cause more than a superficial break in the skin.

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The primordial pouch is an interesting part of cat anatomy that is present in all cats, including wildcats. It may play an important part in your cat’s natural defenses and contribute to cats’ acts of agility, like leaping and twisting. The breed standard for some domestic cats, like the Pixie Bob and the Bengal, includes a conspicuous primordial pouch, while other cats may have less noticeable primordial pouches. Even if your cat’s primordial pouch isn’t noticeable, rest assured that they’ve had one since the day they were born.

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Featured Image Credit By: islandworks, Pixabay

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