Belly rubs for cats

“My cat rolls over but if I try to rub her belly, she will scratch and bite, why does she do this?” is a question I am often asked by cat owners. People who are familiar with dogs and have experienced the dog that rolls over to have his belly scratched, assume that cats want the same thing.


When a cat, rolls over it is a defensive position that they use when they cannot out run an attacker. This allows them to use the claws on all four feet for defense.

However, some cats do roll over and lay on their back because they enjoy it. They will do this when they feel comfortable enough in their environment to expose their vital organs.

Tom's cat

If you have a kitten, you can get the kitten used to being handled and petted by gently handling all their body parts in a caressing manner. This will allow a veterinarian and you to examine the cat for lumps, bumps and injuries without too much stress to the cat.


If you gently pet a kitten sometimes the kitten will allow you to rub its belly. If the kitten seems to enjoy this, you can do it as a sign of affection. Often a kitten will playfully hit your hand with its front and hind feet. As long as it is playful and no teeth and claws scratch or bite, this can be a fun time for the kitten and owner. But if the cat offers its belly but does not like to be touched there, it is best to accept the friendly gesture as a compliment and do not try to rub their belly.

6 thoughts on “Belly rubs for cats

  1. I’ve got a Cat who just adopted my Dog and I about 6 weeks ago. Came right up to us and followed the entire walk we were going on. As soon as my door was open, he came right in. I noticed a week ago, he was rolled over beside me, I was petting under his neck, and he pushed my hand down towards his belly with his Paws. He then gave me some of those Love Bites, and wrapped his claws around my arm, but immediately wanted me to start rubbing his belly again, when I stopped. Not a usual thing for a Cat to do, but it’s not usual for one to want to walk beside my Dog and I on every walk we take. One thing I’ve noticed about Animals, is that there are as varied personalities, likes and dislikes as you will find in People. I’ve had a few in my time that grow very attached and act in a manner similar to a loyal Dog. I believe it is a trust that my Cat has in me, as well as an almost immediate bond, and that really makes a difference in what our interactions are.


    • Don, thank you for sharing. I have had similar reactions in cats as well. Many of my cats over my lifetime acted more like dogs. All of my cats were trained to do basic stuff like sit, stay, come and sometimes down.


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