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what does rolling on the back mean?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi everybody! It's been a while since I've visited. I'm so thankful to have such a place to come to with questions (with friendly people too!). I've searched a bit but can't seem to find the answer to my question anywhere.

What does it mean when a cat rolls on its back? Is this a position that indicates submission and "let's play?" One of my cats (Pumpkin) does this all the time! I've been working on getting my two cats to get along (I've given up, sadly, although they've come to some truce). But sometimes Pumpkin does this to my old cat (Boo). I wonder if this indicates that Pumpkin says "ok, you are the top cat" but "let's play." (although she is often aggressive towards Boo and chases her.) They do sometimes play together by chasing each other around the house but I wonder how playful it is. Boo can seem a little unhappy about it but they can get within a foot of each other without a face off so at least I'm happy about that.

thanks for you help!

post #2 of 14
Hi, and thanks for posting! You will probably get a lot of different responses to this question - but it has been my experience that when a cat rolls over like that, it is a sign to others that he wants to play. I have two that will do that. One comes out of my bedroom, stretches and yawns, walks right up to one of the other cats and flops over then rolls around on the floor. At first, I thought "This cat is acting like she is in heat!" but I knew that wasn't possible. I watched and observed her for a while, and it was always the same. Wake up, stretch, yawn, find Buttons, and play.

So, it would be my guess this is your cat's way of saying, "I want to play!".

Hope this helps,

post #3 of 14
I have actually taken it the same way. However I have missed the signals a few times. Somtimes they were just scratching thier backs..LOL. When they roll over, make sure you have a teaser in hand before attempting to put your hand down..OUCH do those claws hurt. I only have one cat who actually rolls over for a good rub...the rest do it to innitiate play.
post #4 of 14
My one cat does it all the time for a combination belly rub and play time. My other cat never does it. Go figure.
post #5 of 14
I have 2 cats that sleep on their backs. Napoleon started it, then Alex learned from him before I moved out of Dad's house. They both usually pick a high-traffic area of the living room to do it. Nell doesn't sleep on her back, nor have any other cats me or my family owned.
post #6 of 14
When a cat rolls over in front of you it can also be taken as a sign of trust, and that it wants you to rub it's tummy. If a cat lets you rub it's tummy then it trusts you.
post #7 of 14
My kitten loves his belly rubbed. When he rolls over on his back he usually wants his belly rubbed but there are other times when he wants to play, but he usually has something (play mouse) in his mouth when he rolls over to play.
post #8 of 14
I have to agree with the majority here.... combination play/belly rubs! My oldest male will follow me around - in front of me - and plop down on his back and meow. It's time for his hourly tummy rub! And if he's in the mood, he'll grab onto my arm and wrestle with me! I see my two males to this to each other all the time, too. When one is in the mood to play, they will roll on their back, giving a wonderful oppurtunity for the other to attack him... then the chase begins! This usually starts to happen right at sunset, the nocturnalness is coming out!
post #9 of 14
My cat Smudge always sleeps on her back with her little paws all curled up. It is the cutest thing. I just think she is very happy content, and feels safe.
post #10 of 14
My cats must know I'm home when they hear me chirp my car alarm because when I get inside the house, my girl Roxy is flat on her back in the entryway with her toes all stretched out welcoming me home. What a feeling!! My boy Harley LOVES a firm belly rub! The second I start rubbin' he starts purrrrrin'!! He lighly pushes against my arm with his back foot when he's had enough.
post #11 of 14
My older cat, Nigel, does this every night when I get home. If he isn't sitting on the stool under the cat snack cabinet, he plops down on the floor in the kitchen with his belly extended out waiting for a good firm rubbing and patting. He only lets me do this, if anyone else tries, he flips over really fast or gets away from them. Apparently, I've heard that if they expose their belly to you, it's the ultimate in trust. An exposed belly is a sign of being vulnerable, whether it be with a human or an enemy.

I've actually used this on my new kitten T.C. (Tough Chick) to calm her down and discipline her. I'll hold her in my arms baby style with her belly up and wait for her to calm down. This is a sign for her to know that I am Alpha cat in the house. It has worked wonders.
post #12 of 14

I read on a site and they said that if your cat is a girl, it can be a sign of being pregnant. Or your cat can just be in heat looking for attention. My cat is a girl and i researched about it because she rolls around in my yard all the time. She has been going outside alot too, but anyways i hope i helped you. xD

post #13 of 14

I have a male cat that is one year old and all throughout the day he rolls on his back and wriggles and stretches like a worm. He wants me to rub his belly and pay attention to him. I also find him sleeping on his back "exposed" to the world. He has been fixed and does not go outside. In my case, the cat just wants attention and likes to lie on his back.  

post #14 of 14

 @thingnumberOne this thread is 13 years old so it's most unlikely these people will see your post. :)

Since you're a new member, would you like to come and introduce yourself over at New Cats on the Block?

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