Cosmetic Surgery Tips

Cat Tummy Tuck

Your cat’s tummy tuck surgery is a unique procedure. While some people might think that their cat only has loose skin, cats actually have abdomens that are quite similar to ours. The condition of your cat’s skin around his or her waistline affects not only the way they look but also their quality of life. A cat with a flattened abdomen may have trouble exercising or even walking.

In this guide, we review the aspects of Cat tummy tuck, my cat doesn’t have a primordial pouch, when do cats develop primordial pouch, and primordial pouch cat.

Cat tummy tuck

The problem is common in brachycephalic (flat-faced) breeds such as Persians, Himalayans, Angoras, and British Shorthairs with this anatomical feature that’s sometimes referred to as a “smushed face.”

Brachycephalic cats can be respiratorily challenged on a number of levels and, as MacPhail points out, the nose itself is often just the tip of the iceberg. In many cases, the cat may have an elongated soft palate at the back of the throat that makes air passages narrower, or she may have a smaller trachea. X-rays, an endoscopic evaluation of the airways, and even a CT scan will allow a veterinary surgeon to make a proper evaluation.

“For cats, it can be hard to tell if stenotic nares are actually causing a problem,” says MacPhail. “But if a cat tends to open its mouth to breathe or makes a stertorous noise while breathing through the nose, this is often likely the issue.  Your veterinarian may use a glass slide or a piece of cotton ball held up to the cat’s nose to see how much air is coming through, if at all,” she adds.

Apart from the noisy or open-mouth breathing and snoring, other signs that could denote serious breathing difficulties include frequent panting, difficulty eating or swallowing, coughing and gagging and inability or reluctance to perform physical activity.

The Nose Job — Alar Fold Resection

The “nose job” surgery to repair stenotic nares is called an Alar Fold Resection.

“The surgical procedure is relatively simple and involves cutting a wedge of tissue on the outside of the nostril out (the alar fold) and then suturing that tissue back together, making the nostril more open. It is typically only one or two absorbable sutures that will fall out in a couple of weeks. An alternative technique is to simply cut away that tissue to make the nostril more open, but it is argued that this may be less cosmetic,” says MacPhail.

A Boob Job and a Tummy Tuck

Removal of mammary tissue in cats is most often performed because of cancer.  Their best chance at improved survival is to remove all mammary tissue on both sides (bilateral radical mastectomy). 

“This is best performed in stages,” says MacPhail. “If it’s done all at once, recovery can be more difficult for the cat and there is more potential for incisional complications.”

Fighting Breast Cancer in Cats

Recent research by an animal advocate organization called Marian’s Dream that spearheads an initiative called Feline Fix by Five has shown that it is best to spay and neuter cats by the time they are five months old. This initiative has the support of feline organizations such as the American Association of Feline Practitioners, the Association of Shelter Veterinarians, the Cat Fanciers’ Association, The International Cat Association, and The American Animal Hospital Association.

“Leaving it later not only means that a single cat can produce numerous litters,” says Esther Mechler, founder of Marian’s Dream. “But the importance of appropriate timing of feline spays and/or neuters cannot be overstated, as this procedure can be critical in lessening the risks of significant morbidities in later life stages for individual cats, including the risk of malignant mammary tumors.”

Liposuction for Your Portly Feline?

No! In the veterinary world, liposuction is not a “quick fix” for extreme obesity, which sadly is on the rise among cats.

“As with people, diet and exercise are key,” says MacPhail.

Consult your veterinarian to explore underlying health conditions and other reasons that may contribute to weight gain or an inability to lose weight. Your veterinarian can also help determine your cat’s ideal weight and calculate how much food your cat should be eating daily.

Eye Lifts

In some pets, if their eyelids roll forward, their eyelashes can rub against the eye, causing discomfort and irritation.

“It’s typically a dog issue, but can also occur in cats,” says MacPhail. “A crescent-shaped piece of tissue is removed allowing the eyelid to roll back out.” 

The Tail End

The tail is a very important part of a cat’s anatomy. Apart from aiding balance, tails allow cats to  communicate that they are scared, nervous, upset, or happy. Unfortunately, accidents happen, and a tail can get caught and damaged if, for example, it’s caught in a closing door.

Surgical fixes depend on the location of the injury. If it’s near the tail tip, a small section can be removed at the injury site, allowing the cat to keep most of the tail. Injuries closer to the tail base may involve nerve damage.  This is referred to as a tail-pull injury.

“The tail is limp and may not have any sensation. In severe cases, there can be injury to the nerves of the bowel and bladder, leading to incontinence,” says MacPhail. “In these cases, the cat is often just given time to recover (weeks to months), or definitive repair of the fracture at the tail base may be attempted.  However, the tail may ultimately need to be amputated if recovery is limited and sensation doesn’t return, and the cat continues to soil itself.”

State-Of-The-Art Equipment and Costs

Veterinary surgeons who perform reconstructive surgeries have access to the same state-of-the-art equipment as surgeons performing complex human surgeries. Costs of such intricate veterinary surgeries can vary greatly. MacPhail estimates that in a university veterinary hospital setting, procedures could range from $3,000 to $5,000 and those numbers could double at a private veterinary specialty hospital.

However, because the surgeries outlined in the article are deemed to promote a better quality of life, pet parents may have access to financial help and loans from organizations such as Waggle, the pet-designated crowdfunding platform; The Pet Fund, a nonprofit organization that provides financial assistance to people whose pets require non-basic, non-urgent care treatments. Scratch Financial Inc. (also known as Scratchpay) offers loans to pet parents up to $10,000 with a choice of three payment plans, including an interest-free (not a deferred interest) option. It’s also worth a discussion with your veterinary insurance provider to see what is covered.

Facelifts, tummy tucks, nose jobs, breast reductions, testicular implants and cosmetic dentistry — it sounds like the line-up for an extreme-makeover reality TV show. Well, get ready for a fresh dose of reality: those going under the knife to be nipped and tucked are not people but pets.

“Pets are no longer considered property, but family members,” says Dr. Alan Schulman, a board-certified orthopedic veterinary surgeon who performs plastic surgery and also sees general practice cases at the Animal Medical Center of Southern California in Los Angeles. “With the evolution of this emotional bond, people with a discretionary income are taking advantage of technology and veterinary expertise to give their animals medically indicated reconstructive surgery resulting in a better quality of life.”

But are these procedures really medically necessary or are pets undergoing surgery simply to appease their owners’ vanity? Dubbed in Hollywood as the “Veterinarian to the Stars,” Schulman sees many pets belonging to celebrities and says he gets his fair share of requests to perform unnecessary cosmetic procedures.

“I gently explain that unless there is a real medical reason for me to do some touch-up work, I won’t recommend it or proceed,” says Schulman. Liposuction for pets is not an option, he adds.

Skin-fold problems
There are, however, many bona fide medical instances, especially among certain dog breeds, that necessitate reconstructive procedures that amount to an eyelift, full facelift, rhinoplasty or abdominoplasty. The costs are about $1,000 per procedure and the pet is usually hospitalized overnight in order to be properly monitored after anesthesia.

The most common concerns are skin-fold problems, particularly around the eyes, lips, tail and vaginal area.

“It’s not uncommon to have skin folds surgically reduced in size or eliminated in order to help the animal from chronic discomfort and infection,” says Schulman.

In some cases, a dog’s skin folds can become prone to bacterial infections because it’s difficult for the owner to keep the areas between the folds clean, he explains.

“Bulldogs have a trademark wrinkle over the nose and below their eyes. Sometimes, it is so deep and recessed, it also becomes difficult to manage. Topical antibiotics don’t always work to fight bacteria,” Schulman adds.

Nose jobs and chin lifts
Pugs, bulldogs and Boston terriers are frequently candidates for nose jobs to alleviate breathing problems. And eyelifts are a very common reconstructive procedure in breeds like the sharpei and the chow to correct a congenital defect that causes the eyelids to roll inwards and the eyelashes to rub against the cornea.

A chin lift is often performed to curb excessive drooling problems in big dogs like mastiffs, bloodhounds and Newfoundlands. While droopy lips are normal in these breeds, excessive drooling can cause chronic mouth infections, which can lead to further complications in the kidneys and liver, and even cause heart-valve infections.

Orthodontics for dogs
When it comes to a pronounced overbite, veterinary dental specialists have a full array of techniques to combat the problem, including orthodontic braces, bands and retainers. (There are, however, no elastic-band color choices for Fido.)

Dental work can also be required as a result of an injury to the mouth.

“Fractured teeth, caused by dogs chewing on horse and cow hoofs, tennis balls and even ice, are a big problem and often result in a dog having root canal treatment and a crown fitted,” says Dr. Jan Bellows of the All Pets Dental Clinic in Weston, Fla., one of only about 70 certified veterinary dentists worldwide.

“The costs are the same as in humans,” says Bellows. “I find the average pet owner is prepared to spend money to ensure their pet is not in pain. Pet dental insurance is always a good idea. Also, patients should never be shy to ask if their vet has an easy payment plan. Many do.”

Cats don’t seem to require the array of reconstructive surgical or dental work that dogs do, but Bellows has performed root canal treatments on ferrets.

Neuticles, anyone?
While most cosmetic procedures performed on pets are medically necessary, there are some that aren’t. Take “Neuticles,” for instance. Invented nearly 10 years ago by Gregg Miller, an innovator in cosmetic devices for pets, Neuticles are testicular implants designed to give neutered pets a more “masculine,” unneutered look.

To date, about 148,000 implants have been fitted worldwide. The recipients are mainly dogs, but Miller now has three implants available that range in softness and size to fit cats as well as horses and bulls. Prices range from $79 to $400 a pair.

“The implants are FDA approved and are inserted at the time of neutering. It’s like changing a light bulb; it takes less than three minutes,” says Miller. Veterinarians usually charge around $60 in addition to the neutering operation, he adds.

“The animal doesn’t know anything is missing or changed and the owner has a pet that retains his identity and self-esteem in the dog park. … Every day I get e-mails … from people claiming they would not have neutered their pet if not for Neuticles. Consequently, I feel I am helping control the pet population,” says Miller.

‘Consumer demand’
Other cosmetic implants designed by Miller include a silicone eye implant for animals that have lost an eye and would otherwise have a sunken or lopsided face, and his latest development, a micro-thin silicone ear implant for pets with drooping or sagging ears.

“I take my cues from consumer demand,” he adds.

And there does appear to be demand, at least for Neuticles. Wendy Ryan of Annapolis, Md., wanted to neuter her Italian greyhound named Pony so that she could get a female puppy. But her husband, John, would only agree if the dog had Neuticles implanted.

“He licks them like they’re real, and I can tell he would rather have them than nothing,” says Ryan. “I would have removed them if the dog was in pain. But it’s like nothing changed.”

And is her husband pleased with the results? “Yes. Definitely. But he would have preferred a bigger size,” says Ryan.

Many veterinarians like Schulman are skeptical of the need for such implants and urge owners to consider whether they’re projecting their own anthropomorphic concerns onto their pet at the animal’s expense.

“I don’t ever recollect working with a dog that felt less male because he was neutered,” says Schulman. And, he adds, “This is such a politically correct country, what about the female canine population? We have totally dismissed any female feelings with regards to them being ‘fully female.’ Is it a case of out of sight, out of mind? Why aren’t there Ovacles?”

Cat Tummy Tuck Cost

When it comes to cosmetic procedures for pets, cat tummy tucks are becoming increasingly popular among pet owners. Just like humans, cats can also benefit from a tummy tuck to remove excess skin and fat from their abdominal area. This procedure can help improve the overall appearance of the cat and also prevent health issues such as skin infections and mobility problems.The cost of a cat tummy tuck can vary depending on various factors such as the location of the veterinary clinic, the experience of the surgeon, and the complexity of the procedure. On average, the cost of a cat tummy tuck can range from $500 to $1500. This cost typically includes the pre-operative consultation, the surgery itself, anesthesia, post-operative care, and follow-up appointments.During a cat tummy tuck procedure, the surgeon will make an incision along the cat’s abdomen to remove excess skin and fat. The muscles in the abdominal area may also be tightened to create a more toned appearance. The incision is then closed with sutures, and the cat is monitored closely during the recovery period to ensure proper healing.It is important to note that a cat tummy tuck is considered a cosmetic procedure and is not typically covered by pet insurance. Pet owners should be prepared to cover the cost of the procedure out of pocket. However, some veterinary clinics may offer financing options to help make the procedure more affordable for pet owners.Before deciding to proceed with a cat tummy tuck, pet owners should consult with their veterinarian to discuss the potential risks and benefits of the procedure. It is also important to choose a reputable veterinary clinic with experienced surgeons who specialize in cosmetic procedures for pets.

Cost Range Details
$500 – $1500 Includes pre-operative consultation, surgery, anesthesia, post-operative care, and follow-up appointments


In conclusion, cat tummy tucks can be a beneficial procedure for cats who have excess skin and fat in their abdominal area. While the cost of the procedure can vary, pet owners should be prepared to cover the expenses out of pocket. Consulting with a veterinarian and choosing a reputable veterinary clinic are important steps in ensuring a successful outcome for the cat.

my cat doesnt have a primordial pouch

You know your cat’s not overweight, but you might’ve noticed his belly seems saggy or swings when he walks. So what’s the deal with that?

That’s what’s called his primordial pouch, and it’s not technically his belly.

The Dodo spoke with Dr. Cristina Bustamante, an associate veterinarian with Caring Hands Animal Hospital in Florida and founder of Dr. B. Vet, to explain everything you need to know about this pouch you’ve probably never heard of.

What is a primordial pouch?

While it looks like a big belly, a primordial pouch (aka a cat’s belly pouch) is actually a layer of fat that covers your cat’s abdomen.

Over the years, professionals have come up with a few theories as to why your cat might have this big pouch surrounding his tummy.

“One that I find convincing is that cats have the extra fat to protect their internal organs from trauma such as those caused when fighting with other cats,” Dr. Bustamante told The Dodo.

Another theory suggests the primordial pouch can help your cat run faster, claiming the stretchy skin will make each stride longer because it enhances flexibility. A third theory claims the primordial pouch will give your cat’s stomach some extra space to expand after eating a lot.

Do all cats have a primordial pouch?

All cats do have a primordial pouch, but the size will vary from cat to cat. Some cats might have super pronounced pouches, while you can hardly spot them on others.

“Even fit and lean cats can have a primordial pouch,” Dr. Bustamante said. “Obese cats have more noticeable pouches since they have more fat.”

When do cats develop a primordial pouch?

Your cat will develop a primordial pouch as he’s aging out of kittenhood and becoming an adult, which happens at around 6 months old.

“Adult cats have pouches; young kittens don’t have them,” Dr. Bustamante said.

Should you get your cat’s primordial pouch removed?

Your cat’s primordial pouch is perfectly normal and shouldn’t be removed, especially since it doesn’t cause any discomfort or health issues.

“The biggest concern should be to make sure that your cat has an appropriate weight and is not obese,” Dr. Bustamante said.

Is my cat overweight or is it just his primordial pouch?

If your cat has a noticeable primordial pouch, you might be wondering if he’s still a healthy weight.

The best way to figure that out is to have your vet run a test called a body condition score, which is a visual and physical exam that allows professionals to determine whether your cat is underweight, overweight or perfectly healthy.

So now that you know all about your cat’s primordial pouch, you don’t have to let those questions about his saggy belly keep you up at night.

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when do cats develop primordial pouch

Fat cats are cute, but not every cat that looks like it has a big belly is overweight. Although the part of a cat’s underside that swings when it walks may look like a paunch, it’s actually not a tummy at all. So what is it?

That bit of skin, fur and fat is a protective layer called the primordial pouch. It’s positioned along the length of a cat’s belly. These pouches are perfectly normal and healthy, said José Arce, president-elect of the American Veterinary Medical Association. All cats have primordial pouches, but they vary greatly in size; some are almost undetectable. It’s easiest to see a small pouch when it flops back and forth as a cat runs.

There are three main theories as to why cats have primordial pouches, Arce told Live Science. The first is that it protects the internal organs in a fight by adding an extra layer between claws or teeth and the feline’s insides.

A second theory is that the pouch allows cats to move faster. It stretches as the felines run, giving them extra flexibility and the ability to go farther with each bound — qualities that can help them evade predators or catch prey. 

Another possibility is that the pouch is an extra space for storing food after a big meal. In the wild, cats don’t get two square meals a day; they eat when they can and may store fat from a large kill in their pouch for sustenance days later.

Primordial pouches aren’t unique to domestic cats. Big cats, such as lions and tigers, have them for the same reasons, Arce noted. In house cats, the pouch starts to develop around 6 months of age in both males and females.

It’s important to be able to tell whether your cat has a large primordial pouch or is overweight. Just like in people, obesity can lead to heart problems, diabetes and hypertension, Arce said. Being overweight can also increase cats’ risk of arthritis and some types of cancer, he added.

—Why dog breeds look so very different, but cats don’t

One way to differentiate between the two is the cat’s shape, Arce said. Obese cats have rounder bodies than healthy-weight cats with large pouches. If you’re standing above the cat, you should be able to see an indentation at the hips, which is the cat’s waist. The belly of an obese cat comes from the top of the underside and continues all the way down, but primordial pouches start farther down and are skewed toward the back legs. Another way to tell is that if you have to press hard to feel your cat’s ribs, your pet is probably overweight. Finally, bellies don’t swing the way pouches do when cats walk or run.

If you suspect that your cat is overweight, ask your veterinarian. They may suggest feeding your feline a low-fat, high-fiber diet, Arce said. To keep your cat healthy, make sure it hits the recommended target of 15 minutes of exercise per day by encouraging it to play with toys. If your cat isn’t used to exercising, start slowly. If it’s panting, it’s probably overexerting itself.

primordial pouch cat

Fat cats are cute, but not every cat that looks like it has a big belly is overweight. Although the part of a cat’s underside that swings when it walks may look like a paunch, it’s actually not a tummy at all. So what is it?

That bit of skin, fur and fat is a protective layer called the primordial pouch. It’s positioned along the length of a cat’s belly. These pouches are perfectly normal and healthy, said José Arce, president-elect of the American Veterinary Medical Association. All cats have primordial pouches, but they vary greatly in size; some are almost undetectable. It’s easiest to see a small pouch when it flops back and forth as a cat runs.

There are three main theories as to why cats have primordial pouches, Arce told Live Science. The first is that it protects the internal organs in a fight by adding an extra layer between claws or teeth and the feline’s insides.

A second theory is that the pouch allows cats to move faster. It stretches as the felines run, giving them extra flexibility and the ability to go farther with each bound — qualities that can help them evade predators or catch prey. 

Another possibility is that the pouch is an extra space for storing food after a big meal. In the wild, cats don’t get two square meals a day; they eat when they can and may store fat from a large kill in their pouch for sustenance days later.

Primordial pouches aren’t unique to domestic cats. Big cats, such as lions and tigers, have them for the same reasons, Arce noted. In house cats, the pouch starts to develop around 6 months of age in both males and females.

It’s important to be able to tell whether your cat has a large primordial pouch or is overweight. Just like in people, obesity can lead to heart problems, diabetes and hypertension, Arce said. Being overweight can also increase cats’ risk of arthritis and some types of cancer, he added.

—Why dog breeds look so very different, but cats don’t

One way to differentiate between the two is the cat’s shape, Arce said. Obese cats have rounder bodies than healthy-weight cats with large pouches. If you’re standing above the cat, you should be able to see an indentation at the hips, which is the cat’s waist. The belly of an obese cat comes from the top of the underside and continues all the way down, but primordial pouches start farther down and are skewed toward the back legs. Another way to tell is that if you have to press hard to feel your cat’s ribs, your pet is probably overweight. Finally, bellies don’t swing the way pouches do when cats walk or run.

If you suspect that your cat is overweight, ask your veterinarian. They may suggest feeding your feline a low-fat, high-fiber diet, Arce said. To keep your cat healthy, make sure it hits the recommended target of 15 minutes of exercise per day by encouraging it to play with toys. If your cat isn’t used to exercising, start slowly. If it’s panting, it’s probably overexerting itself.

Originally published on Live Science.

Tyler Santora is the Health & Science Editor at Fatherly and a Colorado-based freelance science journalist who covers everything related to science, health and the environment, particularly in relation to marginalized communities. They have written for Popular Science, Scientific American, Business Insider and more. Tyler graduated from Oberlin College with a bachelor’s degree in biology and New York University with a master’s in science journalism.

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