If you notice your cat's belly swinging as he runs and jumps around the room, your first thought may be that your feline friend needs some help getting rid of that cat fat pouch. While you can certainly take steps to make sure your cat maintains a sleek figure and healthy weight, this belly pouch may actually be a normal part of cat anatomy called a primordial pouch.
Cat primordial pouch
The primordial pouch on a cat is a flap of skin that runs under his belly and is most noticeable by his back legs. While you won't see this pouch on all cats, it is perfectly normal in both male and female cats. It is normal for the primordial pouch to become more visible in older cats. There are several theories to explain why cats developed this piece of anatomy.
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The primordial pouch may offer protection for a cat's belly if he is in a fight, and this looser skin allows the cat to stretch and fully extend his body. It is also thought that the fat in the pouch is used to store energy, which is important for wild cats as well as feral and stray cats.
Since this is a normal and healthy part of your cat's anatomy, it is not something you will be able to or should try to get rid of. However, if you notice an abnormal cat primordial pouch lump or swelling, this could be a sign of injury or illness, so be sure to contact your veterinarian.
Ideal weight for cats
While you can't get rid of a primordial pouch, if you notice that your overweight cat has fat pads on his belly, this is an issue you can address. The primordial pouch is loose and is located on the underside of the belly, while an overweight cat may have belly fat on the sides of the body, and the fat won't sway.
To determine if your cat is overweight, check her ribs. You should be able to feel her ribs when you lightly run your hands down the side of her body. In addition, your cat should have a clear waistline when you look down at your cat. If you can't feel the ribs and your cat is developing a rounder body shape, it is time to take steps to get rid of the excess fat.
Getting rid of cat fat pads
It will come as no surprise that exercise and diet are key to helping your cat get rid of his round belly. Aim for 15 minutes of exercise twice per day but understand that if your cat is currently sedentary, you will need to build up to this slowly. Encouraging a cat to exercise can be challenging, as most cats aren't willing to join you for a walk. Introduce toys, feather teasers, laser pointers, and catnip to encourage your cat to move.
In addition, you will want to modify your cat's diet. Cut back on treats and avoid feeding him people food. Avoid free-feeding your cat and offer measured portions two or more times per day. The amount you feed him depends on the food. Different brands and formulas have different calorie densities, so be sure to check the guidelines on the package label.
Consult your veterinarian before changing your cat's diet. This will ensure you are offering him the right amount of food so that he can lose the fat at a healthy rate.