"Catitude" is a word not found in Webster's dictionary, but any cat owner or cat lover knows what it means. It may be defined by how a cat enters a room, how a feline diva or debonair Tom commands attention with head held high, tail swishing, and occasionally, a belly that swings to and fro.
The Primordial Pouch
The excess skin on the underside of a feline's belly is most commonly called a primordial pouch. This pouch or "belly flap," is present in many breeds, in both males and females, but not all cats have this excess skin. There is much speculation as to the origin of this pouch, and many believe it to be most beneficial in larger breeds of wild cats, such as tigers and leopards, as it allows the abdomen to distend after the consumption of a large kill.
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Similar to their human counterparts, a cat who was once obese may have a presence of sagging skin. Despite this appearance, it is beneficial for an obese feline to experience a reduction in body weight. Feline obesity is dangerous and contributes to health issues and a reduction in life expectancy.
Spaying For Good Heath
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Female cats who have had kittens may also have excess stomach skin. The best way to avoid this is to have your female cat spayed. Spaying helps to avoid breast, uterine and ovarian cancer in felines, and helps to control the immense problem of pet overpopulation. Females who are not spayed attract unneutered males, and if allowed to leave the house, either by choice or accident, may return with far more than a friendly "hello."
Excess or sagging skin differs from abdominal swelling. Sudden changes in the appearance of your cat's abdomen are cause for concern. Bowel blockages are dangerous and require immediate veterinary care. Tumors, which most frequently occur in older cats and are typically malignant, should also be seen by a vet. Proper veterinary care is imperative for your cat's health and well-being, and ensures a greater experience with your feline friend.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.