You've noticed a slight swinging in your cat's tummy area when he goes bounding across the room -- a pocket of loose skin that seems at odds with the rest of the cat's lean and supple body. This pouch isn't actually fat. Rather, it's a flap of thick skin, called the primordial pouch, that all cats, wild and domestic, carry. This pouch evolved to protect cats during fights with one another. While it isn't possible to get rid of the primordial pouch, it is possible to help your cat trim and tone this area with regular exercise and proper diet -- and to rid himself of actual fatty deposits.
Assess whether your cat simply has a prominent primordial pouch or if he's actually fat. The pouch should feel like a loose apron of skin along the cat's lower abdomen. Press the pouch between your fingers and check for any lumps or nodules. Take your cat to the vet immediately if you feel any irregularities. If your cat is simply pudgy in the belly, he needs high-quality food, plenty of water and increased exercise to diminish his poofiness.
Feed your cat a dry food that has an AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) statement on the package. The food's package must state that it meets AAFCO requirements "for adult maintenance" if your cat is over one year of age, "for growth and reproduction" if your cat is under one year old, or "for all life stages" for cats of any age. If a food doesn't have an AAFCO statement, it does not meet basic feline nutritional requirements. Your cat's diet directly affects his physique, including that fat pouch on his tummy. Sometimes feeding the recommended amount of food noted on the bag isn't the best way to go, so ask your veterinarian to help you calculate your cat's daily calorie needs.
Choose foods that list animal proteins first. Pet food packaging requires that ingredients be listed in order by weight. Cats are obligate carnivores who thrive on meat and meat by-products. By-products include organ meats and other soft tissues -- the parts predators consume first in the wild. Supplement your kitty's kibble with small amounts of an AAFCO-labeled canned food. If your kitty has a weight problem, keep canned portions small -- around 1 teaspoon added to kibble.
Refresh your cat's water daily. A 10-pound cat needs between 1/3 and 1 cup of water per day, depending on age, health, temperature and weather, activity level and diet, but many cats shy away from drinking water regularly. Encourage your cat to consume adequate water each day to help his kidneys function properly. If you cat ignores the water dish, try purchasing a kitty water fountain -- about $35 -- to coax him to drink. Always use glass, metal or ceramic bowls as food and water dishes, since many cats have an allergy to plastic.
Exercise your cat daily. Indoor cats can quickly get fat and lazy with too much food and too much sleep. Play laser tag with a pet laser toy -- about $8. Throw the plastic ring or bottle cap from a milk jug on the floor and encourage a game of kitty hockey. Grab a fat rope or scarf and run around the house in a game of cat chase. Exercise will burn excess fat and help tighten up your cat's belly, but won't eliminated loose skin completely.
Consult your vet if you feel you must put your cat on a diet. A proper physical, full checkup and veterinary assessment will provide the best information on how to improve your cat's physique. Your vet can also check your cat's fat pouch for lumps or bumps.