How To Tell If Your Cat Likes Belly Rubs

You don't have to lose a finger to find out 😽

cat getting belly rub

Ever feel like your cat is giving you mixed signals?

Like how he’ll roll over onto his back like he’s begging you to rub his belly, but hisses when you dare to come close?

Well, that’s probably because your cat actually doesn’t like belly rubs.

So then why does it always seem like he’s asking you for one? The Dodo spoke with Dr. Kate Blair, a cat veterinarian with T.H.E. Cat Hospital of Marina del Rey in California, to find out more.

Do cats like belly rubs?

Typically, no. And the reason why is actually much simpler than you think.

“Cats don’t like their bellies touched because it is an extremely sensitive and vulnerable area on their body,” Dr. Blair told The Dodo.

Try to think about it like this: If you’re ticklish, you can’t stand having anyone anywhere near your armpits, or maybe the bottoms of your feet, because those parts of your body are super sensitive to touch.

This is totally how your cat feels when you try to rub his belly.

And if that’s the case, you might be wondering why you always catch him lying on his back and presenting his belly to you.

Well, it’s not because he wants you to rub it.

“When your cat lies on his back, seemingly asking for a belly rub, he is usually just showing that he is comfortable and trusts you enough to show his vulnerability,” Dr. Blair explained.

Basically, he just wants you to know he loves you! (But hands off!)

So instead of going for that belly rub when he does this, try dangling a wand toy over him.

Try this wand toy from Chewy for $4.99

Or splurge for this wand toy from Chewy for $16.99

Signs your cat doesn’t like belly rubs

But if your cat hates belly rubs, he’ll definitely let you know by doing things like:

  • Hissing
  • Swatting
  • Biting
  • Running away

“If he seems to dislike when you touch his belly, it would be best to try to determine where he does like to be pet instead, usually on the head or face but every cat is different” Dr. Blair said. “Offering chin scratches will be [a] safe bet that is welcomed by almost every cat.”

Signs your cat does like belly rubs

This is definitely a rare occurrence, but every once in a while, you’ll come across a cat who doesn’t mind a nice pat on the tummy.

If he’s down with a belly rub, he’ll let you know by having a loose and relaxed body when you go in for it. But since the belly is such a sensitive area, just be prepared that he might be good with it one second, but hate it the next.

So just watch out for any changes in his body language — even tiny ones — and stop touching your cat’s belly if it seems like he’s changed his mind.

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