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Old 05-05-2009, 01:09 AM
StarvingButStrong StarvingButStrong is offline
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 5,400
Why do some cats have that big belly flap?

In humans a big flap of 'empty' skin is usually left over from the skin being stretched out over something -- like fat that has been dieted away, or pregnancy with twins or something.

But that doesn't seem to be the case. We have two adult female cats, and both have those big hanging flaps. So much with one that if you are standing behind her as she trots away, you worry that the way it's flapping back in forth might topple the cat over.

We've had them since six weeks. Neither of them have ever been fat, neither have had kittens. They were both spayed around 6-8 months, whatever it was the vet recommended.

OTOH, the female cats from across the street are as narrow-waisted and trim as a high fashion models.

Is it just a genetic difference? Those two cats are siamese, ours are your basic 'domestic shorthairs.'

I was discussing this with my sister, and she suggested that maybe it was due to how the cats are spayed, like maybe one process just chops through belly muscles and leaves the skin unsupported afterwards?

Anyone know?
Old 05-05-2009, 03:04 AM
Renee Renee is offline
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Missouri
Posts: 4,483
I was discussing this with my sister, and she suggested that maybe it was due to how the cats are spayed, like maybe one process just chops through belly muscles and leaves the skin unsupported afterwards?
I don't think it's that--you see it just as often in male cats, and neutering them is a very simple procedure that has nothing to do with abdominal walls.

We have a skinny little 7 lb cat with said belly flaps. When she runs toward you they swing side to side in a very amusing way. I'm pro-belly flap in kitties. (No idea where they come from, though, sorry.)
Old 05-05-2009, 08:01 AM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 24,534
I always assumed fat domestic cats just got fat in their bellies first. Either that or that they're like eunuch guards or something.
Old 05-05-2009, 09:50 AM
Kizarvexius Kizarvexius is offline
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 3,145
They may very well be multiple causes, but in the case of our orange tabby the vet specifically said it was a result of her spaying.
Old 05-05-2009, 10:03 AM
sandra_nz sandra_nz is offline
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Cheshire, UK (since 2006)
Posts: 5,015
We refer to it as Mitzy's banjo. When she runs and it sways, we start doing the Deliverance banjo duel thing in time to the swaying. Mitzy does not appreciate this.
Old 05-05-2009, 11:09 AM
Gaudere Gaudere is offline
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Posts: 6,140
My vet said just some cats were that way.
Old 05-05-2009, 11:13 AM
Malleus, Incus, Stapes! Malleus, Incus, Stapes! is offline
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Location: Middle ear
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My cats developed their bellies after being spayed. Mystery's went away after a few years. Tikva is still flappy, but then again, she's always been on the chubby side.
Old 05-05-2009, 11:33 AM
filling_pages filling_pages is offline
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 1,129
According to Feline Follies:

TEXTBOOK ANSWER — All felines have loose skin over their abdomens. This bag of skin provides room for the cat to gorge. In the wild, a cat may go a long time between kills and feasts — and gorging becomes insurance against lean times. Gorging is also the way a mother cat brings meat back to her young. She vomits the partially digested meal for her weaned kittens to eat.
But according to Discovering Cat Breeds, this is mostly seen in Egyptian Maus (the cats with the M on their foreheads).

Their hind legs are longer than their front legs, giving them more acceleration and power when running than most cats. They also have a loose flap of skin on the abdomen which helps them stretch out further with each stride in the way that a cheetah does. This flap also contributes to their amazing speed. They have been recorded running over 30 miles per hour.
Old 05-05-2009, 12:54 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
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Location: San Jose
Posts: 34,547
My Bengal has the same thing, it's fairly common on Bengals. And he has never been overweight. Bengals are also amazingly fast.
Old 05-05-2009, 01:22 PM
mnemosyne mnemosyne is offline
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Montréal, Québec
Posts: 8,772
My sister is in vet school, and as far as she's been taught (she's finished her second year, and I asked her this a month or two back), the answer is "no one knows". There does appear to be a very strong genetic component, but genetics isn't all of it (belly-flapped parents might have non-belly-flapped kittens). I don't know if there's a lot of research going on in this field, though, since it really doesn't seem to affect the cats in any way whatsoever.
Old 05-05-2009, 06:38 PM
AskNott AskNott is offline
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Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Anderson, IN,USA
Posts: 14,634
Nae, it's not the Egyptian blood, or the Bengal. It's the Scottish ancestry. What you are observing is a sporran.
You might also notice your cat rrolling his R sounds.
Old 05-06-2009, 02:19 PM
goodie goodie is offline
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 206
Only one of our 4 cats has the belly flap, but his is so big that he will occasionally knock things over that are sitting on the top of our piano when jumping from the floor to the shelf above and behind the piano. It's hilarious because it always seems to embarrass him, and sometimes scares him.

His name? Ninja.
Old 05-09-2009, 12:03 PM
kittenblue kittenblue is offline
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Posts: 6,606
I have two belly-flappers and one svelte calico. One of the flappers used to be much larger, but that Indoor Cat Food had slimmed her down considerably, except for the flaps. The other flapper has decided to eat everything the older cat isn't eating, so her flaps are getting flappier. The one time I asked my vet about it, he said that cats are like people...some get a little roll, some don't. Some sag, some stay taut.


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