Cats are lovable, yet peculiar creatures. Take their bellies as an example. They love to show you their belly, but that does not always mean that they want you to pet them. This is much different than dogs. As you know, dogs love to have their bellies rubbed. Start rubbing a dog’s belly and they never want you to stop. It is a perfect way to make a friend. Cats, however, do not need you as a friend in that way. While you might interpret them rolling over on their back as the perfect invitation to reach over and scratch their tummy, that is not the way the cat sees it at all. What that in mind, you might be wondering why cats show you their bellies in the first place. Here are a few of the many reasons why this is believed to be the case.
Your Cat Trusts You
Remember that cats are not always the most trustworthy of animals. It can take a long time for some cats to warm up to you. That is why a cat will show you their belly. When they finally begin to trust you, you will discover that they are much more likely to roll over and bare their stomach for you to see. This is a sign of respect and trust that is directed right to you. It is important to remember that a cat is both a predator and prey. Since that stomach region is delicate and vulnerable, it is no wonder that cats will not typically show you their belly until they really begin to trust you. For that reason, you should actually feel quite special if your cat starts to show their belly to you on occasion. At the same time, do not feel insulted if your cat is not willing to show their belly to you. This is hundreds of years of instinctive behavior in the making here. You cannot expect them to reverse course that quickly.
You might have two cats who show you their bellies at different times and with varying levels of frequency. One cat, for example, may show you her belly quite often because she feels safe and secure. When the cat is happy, off she goes on her back for you to see her belly. That is an indication that your cat is feeling good about her environment, so you should feel good about it as. Another cat, however, might not show you her belly at all, or at lease very sparingly. It might happen when you least expect it. This is when you know that the cat is comfortable in her surroundings, so that is a good thing.
It Could be a Defensive Measure
It could also be that your cat is active in a defensive manner when it shows its belly. This is especially true when it is in a fight. You may have seen cats playing together. Sometimes they are play fighting. When your cat flattens its ears or begins to make certain sounds that make it obvious he or she is aggravated at something, it is best to leave them alone. This means that a fight may be about to happen, or they just need their space. Liken it to a child who is about to throw a tantrum. You know there are times when the kid just needs to be left alone, no matter how much you want to intervene. That how it is at times with your cat as well. Cats under stress may show their belly. This is not the time to rush over to them and try to pet them. You might find that your adorable cat swipes a paw at you in retaliation. You just never know, so it is better to err on the side of caution.
They May Just be Relaxing
Another reason your cat may show you its belly is that it is simply relaxing. It could also be that it is stretching. This is understandable. We humans look a bit odd at times when we are stretching as well. It does not mean that we are looking for a hug from our significant other. When a cat is stretching, it often rolls over on its back. It is also a comfortable position for a cat, so if you go over there to pet your precious feline on the stomach, you might be disturbing its afternoon nap. You should be very careful and respectful of their space during this time.
Your Cat May Be in Heat
Another possible reason behind this behavior is that your cat may be in heat. During this time of the year, cats often show their bellies as an indication that they are available. You certainly do not want to mess with your female cat during this time, even when they have been sufficiently neutered. It is best to just leave them alone.
No matter how affectionate your cat is with you, it is still possible that they could try to bite you when you go to rub their stomach. This may happen even when your cat fully trusts you. They are not like dogs. They do not need you to rub their bellies. This is not something to take offense at. It is just something to learn about your cat. Now, that is not to say that you can never rub your cat’s belly. In fact, they may be many such occasions to do so. To begin, however, you will want to ask permission. Just get close to your cat and have your hand ready to rub their stomach. If you sense no resistance or hesitation, then proceed slowly. However, stop if the cat expresses that they are anything but happy with the action. You will find that this can be a great bonding experience if done correctly, so just learn the nuances of your cat and go from there.