Why Do Cats Roll Over on Their Backs?

by Naomi Millburn, Demand Media
    Rolling over is usually a sign of feline contentment.

    Rolling over is usually a sign of feline contentment.

    Cats are adorable but often totally puzzling creatures. If you have a cat in your home, you may find yourself frequently scratching your head wondering what exactly it is that your little one is doing. When it comes to rolling over, though, relax, because that's what your cat is doing.

    Relaxation

    When your cat rolls over onto her back and exposes her belly, she is in a relaxed, serene and totally comfortable mode. All is well and good in kittyland, at least for the moment. Her body language is calm and content, and it's probably OK for you to go up to her. She may just even appreciate a little petting from you.

    Trust

    If you notice your fluffball showing you her stomach, be honored. Cats are at their most vulnerable when their bellies are showing. By doing this in your presence, your cat is expressing her utmost trust and faith in you. Be happy that your cat is this comfortable around you. She doesn't feel the need to be constantly on guard while you're in the room, a definite key to a healthy and positive cat-and-person relationship.

    Greeting

    In some cases, a cat will roll over on her back as a way to say "hi" to her owner. This is especially common -- and downright cute -- behavior in younger cats and kittens. She may even be asking you to groom her, or even to give her a good, old-fashioned belly rubbing.

    Caution

    Even if a feline is displaying her trust and comfort in being around you, showing you her stomach is not necessarily a request for you to touch her belly, so proceed with caution. Your cat may simply be lounging around happily by yourself, not wanting anyone -- including you -- to disrupt her peace. Be careful before touching a cat in this body position. If she doesn't want you to rub her belly, she may attempt to scratch -- yikes. Before you pet her, be on the lookout for other telling body language signs. If her tail is flicking back and forth or if her ears are slightly back, try again another time. This kitty just isn't interested in any tactile loving right now.

    About the Author

    Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.

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