Primordial bag in cats – What is it and what is it for?

Primordial bag in cats - What is it and what is it for?

» My cat’s belly hangs down » is a statement that many feline caregivers can make by looking at their cat’s anatomy and it has a name: primordial pouch or sac. This primordial bag is inherited from the wild ancestors of the cat, since, due to the functions of fat storage, protection, and ease of movement, it allowed the cats to survive in adverse conditions. Most of our little felines currently do not need this structure and therefore not all cats have it, but only those that inherit their genes or belong to certain breeds whose purity requires it.

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What is the primordial pouch in cats?

The primordial pouch in cats, the primordial sac, Cat Belly Flap, Primordial Pouch or Feline Pouch is located between the hind limbs. This hanging belly in cats is due to excess skin and fat not related to being overweight. It is something like a flap or skin that swings and moves with the movement of the little feline.

This primordial pouch usually appears in the adult stage of cats or from 6 months of age. Sometimes it also appears after sterilization. Although it can be related to being overweight or the cat was overweight, it has lost the extra kilos and its skin has hung, as it happens in people, it really has nothing to do with it.

This primordial bag is a trace or genetic inheritance of the first feline breeds in the wild. It served as a form of help to survive in the face of needs or calamities that could come to pass in a free state.

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What is the primordial bag for in cats?


Not all our cats have a primordial pouch, but in cats that have inherited it, it begins to develop from 6 months of age and will last for a lifetime, regardless of whether the cat has all its needs covered or whether the cat is played every day. life in the environment. So, if you wonder why your cat has a saggy belly, as you can see, it is about genetics and now we will see its main functions.


Even though today our domestic cats living in a warm home do not need this primordial bag, among the functions that the primordial sac has been assumed to have in felines we find the following:


Food stores: the primordial sac stores a quantity of fat that is very useful for obtaining energy in times of scarcity. In addition, as they did not know if they were going to eat the next day, this excess skin allowed the stomach to expand more because it was filled with large pieces to be able to have energy and nutrition for a longer time. It is thought that it was a clear function for the wild ancestors of our domestic cats in times of food shortage such as winter.

Facilitates movement: having an excess of skin, the primordial sac allows greater elasticity by having a greater amount of tissue to be stretched and extended before movements such as jumping or extending the limbs for running. Thus, thanks to this structure, cats can perform wider, taller, or longer movements than other animals.

Protects the abdominal area: this excess skin and fat offers added protection of the vital organs that we find in that area of the abdomen against threats, blows or attacks. For example, when cats fight each other, they usually use their claws and hind legs to attack each other, often hitting the abdominal area, but if they have that layer of skin and excess fat, the interior is better protected.


Cat breeds with primordial pouch

Not all cats have a primordial bag, as we have mentioned, it does not depend on sex, age, being of race or mongrel, or on individual conditions or the environment in which they live. It is a genetic inheritance that may or may not affect the cat. However, there are some feline breeds that need to present a primary bag to be considered pure in their standard. These cat breeds are:


  • Egyptian mau
  • Japanese bobtail
  • Pixie bob
  • Bengali

These breeds retain many features of wild cats, not leaving this loophole behind. The crosses of these breeds can also present primordial pouch more frequently. However, due to the evolution of the species, current cats are losing more and more.


Regarding the primordial bag, there are people who think that cats that possess it have a «warrior gene» that gives them courage, determination, and qualities above and beyond what can currently be expected of a cat. The primordial bag is not only exclusive to cats, big cats such as the lion, the jaguar or the tiger also possess it and perform the same functions.





Harvey, A., Tasker, S. (Eds). (2014). Feline Medicine Manual. Ed. Sastre Molina, SL L ́Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain.

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