Why Do Cats Roll On Their Backs?

My cat seems to do that when he is contented, and that’s practically all the time. :slight_smile: But he doesn’t want me to rub his tummy. If I try to, he will scratch me. :frowning:

Both of my cats do that and I just assumed it was to get belly rubs and part of their stretching routine.

If there’s a sunbeam, I always thought it was to warm up the tummy.

My smokey cat was like that - you try and rub his tummy and he tries to bite!

Here’s some theories: http://www.suite101.com/blog/shaya_weaver/why_does_my_cat_roll_in_his_back_when_he_greets_me

It’s Felinenese for “I trust you”.

The body language literally means, “I trust you not to disembowel me while I’m in a vulnerable position.”

This does not mean the cat actually wants you to touch its soft bits. Even if Fluffy doesn’t feel threatened, it might trigger his “kill it” reflexes.

When Edison does it he’s saying, “Look, bitch, this belly ain’t gonna rub itself!” You can tell, because he also says “EEERA!”

I’m confused. If a cat attacks your hand when you rub its belly (and mine does, every time) does that mean they want to play, or they’re pissed off?

I had a cat who slept on his back with all fours up in the air. :slight_smile:

Sometimes, anyway.

It means your cats are assholes.

ETA - can’t you imagine how they make fun of you? “Dude, he fell for it AGAIN!”

One of my cats does a “happy dance.” When I come home, or when he knows he’s getting fed, he rolls back and forth on his back while staring at me. If I poke him with my toe he’ll grab it, but continue with his happy dance.

Ours writhes around on her back and every other whichway after coming in off our screen porch in cold weather. I assume she’s simply warming herself on the carpet.

Just because they bite you doesn’t mean their mad. In the absence of yowling, assume they want to play, even if it doesn’t match your definition. Cats who are best friends will often tussle and bite each other.

Yeah. Cats may be cunning enough to plan world domination (yours does, right?), but they can be pretty stupid about causing pain to the fragile little humans. Cats have thick skin covered in fur, so when two friends mock-eviscerate each other, they barely feel it. The human who gets this treatment needs to get stitches, but cats need to learn the proper degree of restraint as kittens. In theory, if you were to immediately stop playing with little Mittens when she bites too hard, she will grow up to know what hurts humans. In practice, few people have the strength of will to stop playing with a kitten.

When my cat attacks my hand, he gives it these little tiny bites – so he’s either playing, or he’s tormented by the conflict between his desire to rip the flesh from my bones and the sense that his food supply may dry up if he does, and this is the result.

Skara_Brae’s cite has it, I think. It shows trust and can be either an invitation to play or a solicitation for belly rubs.

It’s all about the belly rubs for Rupert.

Yipes Tamerlane, that’s a feline centerfold.

Does Rupert just cast a long shadow, or is there actually another, black, cat behind him in that shot?

He’s relatively shameless.

Yep. For better, or worse ;).

Incidentally, I’ll note that it’s hard as hell to get a partially blindingly white cat in the same shot as a black cat, without either blowing highlights or hiding the damn black cat.

It’s submissive behaviour, but many cats are uncomfortable/irritated about being actually touched there and will scratch or bite.

I don’t think so. When I try to rub Wilson’s tummy or play with him, he scratches me. I received Wilson just a few weeks ago, and he had not learned to completely sheath his claws when playing. After many scratches, one day Wilson noted the numerous scratches on my right wrist, and from that time on, he has made an effort to sheath his claws, which he now does most of the time. When he now rolls on his back, I get the idea he wants to be alone. Just let him roll on his back, for God’s sake. If I make a hasty hand reach or toe reach to rub his tummy, he will grab for the offending object. I make a hasty retreat since I don’t trust him to sheath his claws. He does not try to bite me most of the time, but once he did playfully nip on my ear as we lay in bed. (We sleep together. He really enjoys sleeping with me, and if I don’t get to bed early enough, he will come down to see what is the matter.)

Word. They sure are cuties, though.