The “Cat Tummy Trap” Explained

| May 20, 2022

You’re relaxing while spending some quality time with your pet. All of the sudden your cat rolls over and exposes their belly. Instinctively you reach  to touch their fluffy tummy – and what happens? Your hand is met with some claws and teeth.  

You just fell for what many call the “cat tummy trap.” So why do some cats react this way when we try to touch their bellies? 

The Belly is a Vulnerable Place

Many vital organs sit mere millimeters under the skin of your cat’s tummy, and damage to any of them could be potentially fatal. It’s their instinct to protect their bellies from potential injuries.  

Exposing the Exposed Belly

When a cat shows you their belly, the cat is relaxed, comfortable, and doesn’t feel threatened. They feel safe enough to expose their vulnerable areas without worrying about being attacked. They are pretty much telling you, “I trust you with my life.” It’s a great honour! But this is not always an invitation to rub their belly. 

How Do I Know if it’s a Trap?

Some cats like belly rubs – some cats even ask for it. How do you know if your cat enjoys being touched on their stomach? Listen to their body language. If they react well and accept gentle pets, then your cat likes to have their stomach touched. If you are met with a quick glare, a scratch, or a nip, your cat does not enjoy having their tummies touched.