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Why Cats Show Their Bellies

When cats present their bellies to you, they want to be petted there, right? Not quite. Your animal world reveals what’s behind the behavior – and where you should rather stroke your cat instead …

Flattened on your back, your fluffy belly bare, your gaze sluggish – that’s what really relaxed cats look like. Actually, a pretty clear invitation to run your hand through the soft peritoneum, isn’t it? Not quite.

Because even if cats present their belly to you – most of them do not like to be petted there. Instead, they tend to enjoy body contact near their whiskers. For example under the chin, on the ears, and cheeks.

But why is it like that? Why are many cats allergic when your hand approaches their stomach? For kitties, lying on their back with all limbs stretched out is a very vulnerable position. Literally – because in the wild the kitties would never present their belly and thus their vital organs so openly. Cats only show their tummy in situations in which they feel completely safe and comfortable.

That is Why Cats Show Their Belly

So that’s a big compliment for you: Your kitty trusts you. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t see the exposed belly as an invitation to scratch. On the contrary! With that, you would immediately abuse the trust that your cat is showing you.

And there is another reason why pats on the stomach feel uncomfortable for many cats: There are hair roots there that are particularly sensitive to touch. This quickly leads to overstimulation, explains animal behavior researcher Lena Provoost to National Geographic.

Better to Stroke Cats on the Head

Some cats allow their owners to pamper them on the belly with pats. But then still pay close attention to your kitty’s body language. Are your posture and facial expression relaxed? Then you can confidently continue to stroke. Warning signals, on the other hand, are jerky movements or natural when your kitty slaps your hand or even tries to bite it.

Experts advise anyone who can’t resist stroking their velvet paws on their stomach should approach this sensitive part of the body as carefully and from the side as possible.

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