If your kitty is one of the few who loves it when you tickle her belly, take is as a compliment. She wants attention and trusts enough to touch her belly. In some cases though, asking for a belly rub could be a sign that her skin is irritating her.
When dogs roll over on their backs, it can be portrayed as a sign of submission. It means quite the opposite in cats though. Your fluffy princess can be on full attack mode when she’s belly up -- she’s able to use all four sets of claws and her chompers to attack her prey. So when she rolls over on her back and playfully sways from side to side, she could be ready to fine tune her hunting skills. This is why she may grab your hand and nibble on you while you’re rubbing away.
Your cuddly critter’s belly is the most vulnerable spot on her body -- the site of all of her vital organs. When she rolls over and exposes her underside, she’s sort of inviting you over to see what you’ll do, explains Dr. Cindy Houlihan, a veterinarian based out of Michigan. Be grateful if she actually gives you the honors of scratching her belly. It means she feels perfectly relaxed and comfortable and trusts you completely.
It Feels Good
Of course your purring companion may have no better reason for liking belly rubs than the simple fact that it feels good. All cats have those particular spots that get them to purr like lions -- the base of the tail, under the chin and for some, the undercarriage area. But since your kitty surely prefers the attention on her terms only, watch for signs that she’s had enough of her belly rub. If she pins her ears toward her head, stops purring or starts showing her teeth, move your hand out of the way quickly before she starts swatting at you.
Scratching That Itch
It’s possible that your frisky feline loves it when you claw at her belly because you’re simply scratching that itch. Bug bites or ringworm can cause irritation, making her underside a little irritated. Environmental changes, shampoos or even food intolerances can trigger allergies, making her belly itchy. Scratching her in just the right spot gets rid of that nagging itch that’s been plaguing her all afternoon. While you’re focusing on the area, be on the lookout for red patches or bald spots and feel around for protruding bug bites. If something is awry, you’ll know it’s time to pack her up and take her to the vet.
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.