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Skin flaps or fat? Does your cat have them?
d_caitlin posted:
As a first time cat owner, I was terrified I was making my kittens fat at only 6 months old, then my vet told me they were both in their ideal weight range. I had mistaken the skin folds under their legs for fat. I read that they could be to accomodate for how flexible cats were or something... I don't know. Almost one year old now, those flaps of skin on my cats still freak me out. It's only when they stretch out that I realize they're both lean, healthy and not close to overweight. They have hips and I can feel their ribs and spine easily enough. Both are very active- destructively so- and never eat all of what I put out for them.

I'm just curious how many cats have these skin flaps? Are they genetic or anything? Can these flaps become fat storage pockets like I thought they were, or does fat pop up on the belly first? The two cats I knew growing up didn't have them, and neither did the two I rescued before mine. My boy and girl are litter mates, so genetics would make sense.

Does your cat have them? I'm just curious how prevalent it is.
shellgg responded:
Are you talking about the flap , of what looks like fat, flying from side to side when they run? LOL. My cats have this and we always joke that its their big belly, but I am also curious to know what this actually is.
d_caitlin replied to shellgg's response:
That's EXACTLY what I'm talking about, haha. When they stalk each other, there's no clearance between the floor and their skin. Instead of a tuck up, they look square. Totally disppears when my boy rolls over for belly rubs though. The girl isn't quite as much of an attention hog, but I'm sure it's the same for her.
rohvannyn replied to d_caitlin's response:
My cats have them. Even my long lean monsterkittyen has them. My older female has gotten fat recently (from stealing kitten food) but she grew her fat on her belly first. Yes, I'm working on getting her weight down. She got it around her midsection, they didn't fill her flaps. *giggle* That sounds funny!
Drew Weigner, DVM, ABVP responded:
Great question! Almost all cats have "cat flaps," some more than others. They're also more pronounced as they get older as their skin loses elasticity, just like older people. That said, there is a fat storage area just between them, so if that fills your hand when your cat is standing, they're getting overweight. Another sign is if you can't feel their ribs when you pet them on the side of their chest. It also helps to look at them from above, facing away from you to see if they have a "waist." But the best way is to weight your cat monthly by picking them up, weighing both of you, then subtracting your weight. If it starts increasing, it's time to discuss weight management with your veterinarian.

Drew Weigner, DVM, ABVP
The Cat Doctor
Board Certified in Feline Practice


William Draper, DVM, better known as "Dr. Will," is a well-known small animal practitioner in the Atlanta, GA area. He grew up in Inglewood,...More

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