A note about The Cuddlywumps Chronicles

This blog is written and maintained by Miss Cuddlywumps, a fluffy-tailed calico cat who is both classically educated and familiar with mysteries. She receives creative input from the Real Cats and clerical assistance from She of Little Talent (old SoLT, a.k.a. Roby Sweet). Comments or complaints should be addressed to Miss C rather than to old SoLt (Ms. Sweet). Ms. Sweet accepts no responsibility for Miss C's opinions.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Words with Webster: Primordial Pouch, Plus Friendly Fill-Ins

We have two fun Friday features for you today. First up is Real Cat Webster, who has a poochy word to share. After that, it’s on to Friendly Fill-Ins!

Words with Webster

Words with Webster
Hi, everybody! It’s me, Real Cat Webster. Welcome to Words with Me. Today’s word is “primordial pouch.” You know that sort of loose-skin-looking flappy things you might see hanging from your cat’s belly? Those are primordial pouches. Sometimes they’re just called belly pouches, and some people call them “spay sway” because they might be more noticeable after a cat has been spayed or neutered. Spaying or neutering doesn’t cause the pouches, though.

Why do cats have primordial pouches? Well, it could be a defensive thing. Think about all the bunny-kicking cats do when they fight play (or fight). The extra skin gives some protection to all the important stuff inside the cat’s belly. It’s also handy for wild cats who might get to eat a super-size meal once in a while: the pouch lets the stomach expand to hold all that food. This would explain one other term we found used for the pouch: “famine pouch.”

Surprisingly, I couldn’t find “primordial pouch” in the dictionary. I tried looking up “famine pouch” in Merriam-Webster’s online, and the spelling suggestion it gave me was “flaming poppy,” which is really not the same thing.

Anyway, “primordial” is in the dictionary. The Oxford English Dictionary says it means “primitive” (this is the condensed version of the definition). This word is recorded in English from the late 14th century (about 1398). The Online Etymology Dictionary says the word comes from the Late Latin primordialis (“first of all, original”), which came from primus (“first”). We don’t know why people started calling the belly pouch on cats a primordial pouch. Maybe because it seems to be something primitive.

Funny story: Years and years ago (seriously, like almost 30 years ago—deep time), when Mommy first noticed that her cat Darya had spay sway, she thought something must be wrong. So she came up with all kinds of crazy possibilities: Cancer! Poison! Mutation! She can’t remember now how she found out that it was normal, since this was before everyone just googled stuff. Someone must have told her. Back then she really didn’t know much about cats at all!

Bengal cat
Look very closely and you'll see the primordial pouch
on this Bengal cat's belly.
Photo via Adobe Stock.

(Sources: “Cat Anatomy,” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cat_anatomy;  Nicholas DeMarino, “What Is the Primordial Pouch in Cats?” The Nest, https://pets.thenest.com/primordial-pouch-cats-11178.html.)

Friendly Fill-Ins

Friendly Fill-Ins
And now it’s time for Friendly Fill-Ins, from 15andmeowing and McGuffy’s Reader. They are a fun way to learn a little bit about the authors of the blogs you read. The first two questions, answered by Real Cat Paisley this week, are from Ellen of 15andmeowing, and the next two, answered by old SoLT, are from Annie of McGuffy’s Reader.

Real Cat Paisley’s answers:
1. New catnip toys are the best!

2. I love to sleep on the bed in the spare bedroom, ’cause no one really goes in there.

Old SoLT’s answers:
3. When I was a child, I loved to play with all sorts of blocks, especially Legos.

4. One day, I will get to BlogPaws again. I’ve been having serious BlogPaws envy this week!


  1. Thank you for teaching me a new word Webster. Phoebe used to have that and I would tell her she needed a tummy tuck. Great answers from you both. I know how you feel, I feel like Cinderella not getting to go to the ball with BlogPaws :) Blocks are fun, I still like playing with my great-nieces, but hers are the big ones, I look forward to when she is old enough to play Legos. Have a nice weekend! XO

  2. Webster, very informative about the primordial pouch or spay sway. I knew that pouch was there for a good reason and not just flab. Thanks for the back up. A quiet place to meditate on our paws is a place not to share with anyone. mol


  3. We call Angel"s pouch 'extra floofiness"

  4. Angel Truffles had a primordial pouch! I had never seen it before and it scared me to death too until I researched it. I'm having BlogPaws withdrawl this week too :(

  5. One of TW's old roommates had a cat with a serious pouch. They used to call it a "sea urchin." MOL! TW didn't go to BP this year either but there's no MOFO.

  6. I did not know that....I always thought that pouch was because my cats were overweight! Thanks for setting me straight, Webster!