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Cats are among the most flexible creatures that can put human contortionists to challenge. But they are a fan of still poses and lazy positions like lying on their backs and showing their bellies. This is a rather adorable picture that lure many cat parents to giving belly rubs which for many sadly ends in a bloody scenario. So, it makes one think: if not for belly rubs, what makes these cats expose their belly? Are they just relaxing or saying something more?
Sign of Trust
Cats instinctively protect their stomach because that’s where some of their most important organs are. So when a cat easily lies down and shows you its stomach, it means allowing itself to be vulnerable in front of you; it’s a rather affectionate show of trust towards you. Now, if you think this easily means you are allowed to touch your feline bud’s belly, don’t be mistaken. Some cats would like getting belly rubs but most would still instinctively scratch your hand away.
Opposite of the latter, when cats expose their belly, they may be going into full offensive defense pose. Supposedly, when felines fight against predators, they tend to roll on their backs; this is so they can use all paws and claws and have a more clear view of where to dig their teeth. It can be dangerous for the cat as it can’t easily run away in this position but it can put more accuracy and strength in its bites and scratches. So, be careful when a cat shows its belly as it may just be getting ready to latch on to its aggressor.
While the two above have more significant motives, this one is for a simple reason: relaxation. When your cat is feeling at ease, it may be time for some much needed snooze. And what's a better way to relax than by lying on our backs under the warm sunlight.
So, these are three purported behavioral reasons as to why cats expose their belly. It’s important for cat owners to know which among these could be their cats’ moods. A helpful guide is to study their environment and their body language, whether they look tense or just relaxing, so cat parents can approach accordingly. As for giving belly rubs, this will still remain a case-by-case basis that will completely depend on a cat’s personality.