For many dogs, there’s nothing better in life than a good belly rub. It’s no wonder why so many pet parents make the mistake of assuming their cat would enjoy the same experience. It’s fairly common for cats to latch on with their claws out when someone attempts to rub their belly.
So, why do cats roll over on their backs if they don’t want their tummies rubbed? Unlike their canine counterparts, rolling over isn’t a submissive behavior for cats, it’s actually a defensive posture. Wild felines roll over on their backs when they can’t flee, allowing them better use of their claws and teeth against their predators. So, don’t be too surprised when your sweet kitty bites or scratches when you go in for the belly rub, because their reaction is instinctive.
However, domesticated cats don’t always roll over on their backs in defense. Cats sometimes roll over on their backs around people they’re comfortable with. This doesn’t mean they’re asking for a tummy scratch, it just means that they feel at-home enough to feel safe exposing their vital organs. If your cat seems relaxed and displays this behavior, you’re probably better off accepting it as a complement and keeping your hands to yourself.