Why Are Cats So Protective of Their Bellies?


It’s been awhile since I have done a cat post.

I was recently sitting with my semi-feral cat Waffles, it’s rare that he lets me pet him but sometimes he will roll over on his back and let me rub his belly but if I tried that with Cola, who is a total mommas boy, I would end up with some scratches on my hand.

If you’ve ever tried to rub your cats’ belly, you probably got a hiss and a paw swinging at you.
Some cats will be fine with you rubbing their belly but others will not think twice about making sure you know that the belly is off-limits.

Why are cats protective of their bellies?

Vulnerable Area

Although cats are incredible predators, they can also be prey, and the stomach is a vulnerable spot because that’s where their vital organs are found.
When a kitty’s stomach is touched, he/she may react aggressively because they immediately feel the need to move into self-defense mode.
Unless your kitty really trusts you, he/ she might react by grabbing your hands with their paws, scratching you with their claws, or even biting you.
You shouldn’t get angry, as this is a totally normal instinct that your cat uses to protect themselves from harm.

Cat Shows You Belly

When two cats are fighting, one might expose the stomach by rolling onto their side.
Even though you might interpret this as an act of submission but the cat is actually telling their rival that a serious fight will ensue and the teeth and the claws are ready to engage in combat.
On the other hand, if your kitty is lazily stretched out on their back, in a sunny area or on your bed, or if they are near you and decides to roll over onto their back, they’re probably totally relaxed and at ease.

This is a sign that he/she feels safe in their environment and doesn’t sense any threats to worry about. However, if you attempt to pet their belly, they may still react defensively, this is just letting you know that they trust you, but they still have their boundaries.

Get to Know Your Feline Companion

Every cat is different, so it all boils down to spending time with your pet and getting to know them.
You may find that he/she shows you their belly as a sign of trust rather than an invitation to stroke that delicate area, they might just want their head scratched instead. 
Your cat might even be in a playful mood when they show you their stomach, so they may end up grabbing your hand gently enough that they won’t hurt you.

You also might have such a strong bond with your cat that they trust you 100% and is willing to let you pet their belly, gently rest your hand on their tummy.
An adult cat will most likely be okay with belly rubs if they got used to them when they were a kitten.

It’s all about learning how to read your cat’s body language so you can avoid getting scratched or bitten when that cute tummy is exposed.

Another mysterious cat behavior solved!

For more cat-related info, check out these posts:


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~Jennifer