Parents of cats with “saggy bellies” needn’t be concerned with reducing the number of snacks they are handing over in a bid to help them shed some kilos.
That’s because the floppy pouch isn’t formed as a result of excess weight according to the Table View Animal Hospital, instead, it actually performs an important and often vital function.
The loose skin and padding around a cat’s stomach has a special name, the primordial pouch, and it exists in all cats regardless of their weight, the vet said.
“This loose skin and padding at the belly provides extra protection for the abdominal area during fights when ‘bunny kicking’ with their hind legs,” a post from the vet, based in South Africa, to Facebook read.
“It insulates and protects internal organs and allows a cat to store extra food in its belly.”
The extra storage was particularly important for feral cats, who sometimes don’t have access to food for several days in a row, the vet said.
“It also allows a cat freedom of movement to fully stretch and extend the back legs when running at high speed or jumping.”
The post also busted the common myth that the primordial pouch formed as a result of the animal being spayed or neutered.
“All felines, regardless of their size, shape, or sex have this extra flap of skin (including lions and tigers),” the vet said.
“Even cats who lose weight due to diet or illness still have these belly flaps.”
Thousands shocked by revealing post
More than 3000 people responded in shock to the post, with most saying they had no idea their cat’s stomach bulge had a purpose other than storing fat.
“Glad to hear its normal. My cat has it and I was a bit worried, even though I know she's definitely not overweight,” one person wrote in a comment.
“I'm a new cat owner and have been wondering about this. I thought he was a bit overweight,” another wrote.
“I had no idea... but glad to know Betty doesn't need a diet,” a third person said.
Others confessed they had been under the false belief that their cat’s pouch had been caused by a spaying or neutering operation.
“My kitty got fixed and I thought it was because of that. Now I know better,” one wrote.
“I thought my vet botched the surgery. I feel bad that I thought that all these years,” another said.
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