Belly Flop: Groomer Explains Theories Around 'Mystery' Pouch on Cats

Cat lovers tuned in to a viral TikTok that a groomer posted to listen to some theories of the purpose that a cat's pouch serves.

Posted by Whitney Bullock to her TikTok account @whitneybullockcfmg, the video amassed more than 500,000 views and prompted viewers to chime in with their thoughts about what a cat's primordial pouch is for. Bullock said that no one knows what the pouch's function is.

"Maybe one of our favorite parts on any cat," read the caption of Bullock's video. "Who can resist that floppy belly?"

Cat Belly
A groomer's TikTok asking viewers for their theories on what the use of a cat's primordial pouch is has gone viral. Here, a stock image of a cat stretched out on the floor. ramustagram/iStock

Dr. Chyrle Bonk, DVM told Be Chewy that a primordial pouch is the soft and saggy skin under a cat's stomach.

"The primordial pouch is a mix of fat, skin and fur," Dr. Bonk explained. "All cats have primordial pouches—they are just different sizes depending on your kitty."

Dr. Jamie Whittenburg, DVM, also told the organization that it is unclear what the pouch's purpose is, but some theories that were outlined included protecting a cat's abdominal organs, providing additional flexibility when running and acting as a reserve for energy if food is scarce.

"Nobody really knows why cats have it," Bullock said in her video. "Even big cats have it—tigers, lions in the wild."

She echoed the theories that were outlined in the Be Chewy article, noting that the pouch may serve as protection to cats if they were to get into a fight.

"Some people think it's for energy storage, and some people think it gives them more flexibility like when they stretch out, they have extra stuff right here that can stretch," Bullock continued, as she showed a cat's stomach.

Bullock wrote to Newsweek that she has been a certified feline master groomer for three years but has been grooming for about five years.

Before she got her start as a groomer, she said she worked as a veterinary technician at a clinic that specifically catered to cats.

As a groomer, Bullock said the pouch has extra skin, and she is mindful not to nick that area.

"Most cats prefer I don't spend a ton of time there, they can be sensitive near their bellies," she said.

She encouraged viewers to chime in with what they believe the pouches are for, and while there is not yet a definitive answer, people were intrigued.

"Thousands of years of known written civilization and the mystery about a cat pouch [is] still not revealed," a comment read.

Some provided some outlandish guesses as a joke in the comments section.

"It's a signal booster to better contact the mothership," a viewer wrote.

"Parachute for when they call from a high place the 9 lives store," commented another.

One suggested the pouch was where cats stored treats, while a viewer commented it was where cats kept loose change.

Though many joked about its purpose, others weighed in with what they guessed was the pouch's actual use.

Some viewers agreed with the theory that the pouch was there for additional protection.

"Their bellies [are] the most vulnerable area so the pouch is basically extra skin to protect their vital organs in case of attacks and bites to that area," they commented.

"I heard it was to protect their innards," wrote another.

Others, however, were more convinced by the theory that it allowed for flexibility.

"I would go with the stretch theory," one TikTok user wrote.

"Flexibility 100% there is no way they could move like they do without them," a viewer commented.

Bullock said she enjoyed reading all of the theories, though one of her favorites was one that the pouch helps the catch stretch when they are running and jumping.

"Who doesn't love watching cats leap through the air?" she asked.

Plenty of cat-related content has previously gone viral online.

A maggot-infested cat went viral on TikTok after he was found, though he has since recovered.

Veterinarians cautioned against a viral trend on TikTok that involves placing an ice cube on a cat.

One cat's hilarious reaction to meeting a new kitten delighted viewers after it went viral on TikTok.

Updated 06/27/2022, 2:26 p.m. ET: This story has been updated with comments from Whitney Bullock.

Updated 06/27/2022, 3:36 p.m. ET: This story has been updated with a verified video of the incident.