Why Do Some Cats Hate Belly Rubs? – (What Nobody Tells You)

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Welcome Crazy Cat People

So your lovely little bundle of joy has rolled onto their back and it appears they are asking for the good old belly rub, so you go in for the kill and to your absolute horror Kitty decides to scratch or bite you.

So you are now asking yourself ”Why do some cats hate belly rubs?”

So I did a little research and conducted a poll of my own to answer your question’s.

Some cats hate belly rubs because the stomach is a hypersensitive area of their body. Cats may also be protecting this sensitive area of themselves due to their vital organs lying directly underneath. Caution is always recommended when rubbing a cats stomach area depending on your cat’s preferences.

So there you go, there are reasons that some cats won’t allow you to touch their belly area. I mean are they for real! Who doesn’t love a good tickle and massage session!

I always knew cats were strange creatures but that’s why I love them, as we will find out below surprisingly more cats enjoy belly rubs than a lot of people think.

Keep reading to discover my poll results and find out why playtime is important and some cool ways you can play with your cat without getting your hand bitten off!

Is it okay to rub a cats belly? – The poll results

So even though science tells us that a lot of cats dislike belly rubs due to the area being hypersensitive strangely that’s not what a lot of cat owner’s say.

I mean when I look at my two little bundles of joy they are both very different.

First of all, we have little Lenny Loo, my big boy! He loves playtime and attention. He often rolls over on his stomach in front of me and will sometimes let me tickle his stomach for a little while BUT it’s very much on his terms only.

So much that I tend not to give him belly rubs at all because yes I have suffered a scratched hand before from him.

I learned my lesson quickly shall we say.

My Daddy tries to tickle my tummy and I don’t always like it!

My little girl just plain doesn’t like a belly rub, well I may have done it once or twice but she let me know fairly quickly that she doesn’t like it!

She is far too much of a lady to allow any mere human to engage in that sort of behaviour!

Although she does enjoy a chin rub and she loves the attention when she wants it!

Yes, I am a lady and no I don’t do belly rubs! I am far too posh!

Poll results

So I conducted a poll in a cat Facebook group that I use regularly, I asked 100 people If their cats enjoyed belly rubs or if their cats hated them.

The results were very surprising!

62% said their cats LOVE belly rubs!

31% said their cats HATE belly rubs!

7% said their cats may like belly rubs but depends on outside factors such as mood.

Wow! What a surprise, I must say that before I conducted this poll I did expect that the majority of cats would despise them but I was wrong.

Well over half of the cats loved their belly being rubbed.

Watch this short video on how to teach your cat to enjoy belly rubs!

So if you are too scared to try tickling their stomach then give it a go, your cat may just love it and love you even more than they do already.

Why cats roll over and show you their belly?

There are several reasons why cats may roll over and show you their belly and it’s not always an open invitation for you to dive right in and give them a little rub or tickle unless you want to risk a little scratch or nibble.

  1. Your cat may be in heat – When a female cat is in heat they are known to engage in rather peculiar behaviour. I suppose with that amount of hormones flying around their little bodies I am not surprised.
  2. Your cat trusts you a lot – For a cat to roll onto its stomach they are exposing an area of themselves that is generally quite sensitive and easily open to attack from predators. For Kitty to roll onto her back and expose herself to you that must mean that she feels safe and not under threat in your company – She trusts you and loves you!
  3. Your cat may feel defensive – In this position, your cat has there claws out and could easily attack someone or something.
  4. Your cat is just in a playful mood – Your cat may have rolled over to signal she wants to play, okay so if you sense your cat is on her back because of this reason then it’s time to get the toys out. Where is that laser pen or catnip toy? 🙂

So I think it’s all about knowing your cat, finding out what they like and enjoy and making sure you don’t push the boundaries. There are so many other ways you can enjoy spending time with your cat and engaging in active playtime with them.

In the rest of this blog post, we will look at some of the ways our cats LOVE to be petted and what type of play they enjoy.

How do cats like to play?

Cats love to play as you will already know, I mean my cats are either chasing each other or they are stalking their toys and they enjoy running around frantically from room to room.

Watching a cat engage in play can be entertaining for us humans too. They are the funniest creatures when they are playing around especially if you give them catnip and let them get high.

My Human won’t stop laughing at me! It’s not my fault I am so funny!

They also enjoy being petted, even though some (the minority) of cats don’t enjoy a belly rub, most cats enjoy being stroked, tickled under the chin and having their back tickled.

So make sure you spoil your cats with lots of love, with most cats you won’t have a choice they are little attention seekers and will demand love from their owners on the regular and contrary to what some people say, cats genuinely do love us. I wrote an article called ”Does my cat love me or just want food” which is deffo worth a read.

Why play is important for cat’s?

Play is very important for cats for several reasons. Kittens learn important skills such as stalking, chasing and catching their prey whilst playing with each other and it’s the perfect time for you to interact with your cats, build a close bond and engage in important exercise.

The above is especially true if your cats are indoor cat’s as they don’t always get the same amount of exercise as outdoor cats and we want to make sure that we prevent weight gain which could lead to health problems and expensive visits to the vets.

Your cat will have learned a lot of its hunting skills as a kitten and then when they get to 14 weeks old they will start to chase objects more frequently than their fellow kittens.

This is preparing themselves to be little hunters so they can bring Mummy and Daddy back those beloved presents.

Think birds heads and dead frog’s! Ewwww!

Playtime is also very important in a cat to relieve boredom, a bored cat could easily become depressed and we want our cats to be as happy as they possibly can be. In this article by PetMD Dr Truitt said ”“Often when I have behavioural problems with cats, the owners are not actively engaging in playtime with their cats”

We should aim to play with our cats a few times a day in short intervals, up to an hour a day and some people like to create a ritual out of this and feed their cats before mealtimes to incorporate play into their cats routine and as cat owners, we know very well how cats LOVE routine.

If you are out during the day there are still ways in which you can make sure your cat is entertained, see my blog post ”13 Ways to keep your cat entertained’‘ for some cool ideas.

”One hour of play increases a cat’s healthy lifespan by four hours. It often improves cats’ mental health, too, lessening anxiety and destructive behavior”.

Dr. Carol Osborne, DVM of Chagrin Falls Veterinary Center & Pet Clinic in Ohio.

What toys do cats like to play with the most?

  1. Automated toys that engage your cat – Cats love these toys and there is so much variety out there for them. These are generally toys that move on their own such as tracks with flashing balls on them, toys with little stuffed mice that pop out from underneath. You have so much choice.
  2. Laser pen toys that cats will chase for hours – What a simple fun toy for cats! My cats love the laser pen and it takes very little effort from you too. Just sit back, shine the laser pen around the room and watch Kitty chase that light all over the house, a sure-fire way to make sure kitty has had her fair share of exercise. Just make sure to reward them with a treat or two afterwards to make them feel like they have caught their prey.
  3. Food puzzles to make sure kitty is rewarded for her play – What a great reward for engaging in playtime, some of the food puzzles out there are great and cats love these. You can get smaller food puzzles that can be filled with dreamy treats or you can even get big food puzzles for their dry food. These puzzles are very good for stimulating your cats mentally and physically. I wish I got a reward of a slice of cake for every time I exercised! Maybe I would have more motivation to wake up early and go to the gym every day!
  4. Cats love to play hide and seek – Cats love to hide, they love their privacy but they also like to hide and then pounce on their fellow felines friends or humans! So it’s always good to provide cat tunnels, beds and places where your cat can hide away and play. My cats love hiding under my bed which is not always great when you need to get them out for their food. If you ever have this problem just remember to get the bag of treats out, give them a shake and the kitty will be by your side in no time! Works every time!
  5. Catnip filled toys to make some cats go wild – Notice how I made sure I said ”some cats” – not all cats are sensitive to catnip. Socks filled with catnip on a piece of string can provide hours of fun. You can get creative with catnip toys, the world is your oyster!
  6. Cardboard boxes are the best free cat toy – All cat owners know that one of the best toys for cats are the cardboard box, they love them. It can be quite frustrating especially if you have spent lots of money on a cat toy for your cat for them to just be obsessed with the box and not even bother with the toy. Cats will be cats though as we know! So why not cut holes in the cardboard, obviously making sure that there are no sharp edges and turn that big box into a fun little house for your cats.

Recommended Cat Toys from Amazon

Catnip Fish Cat toy – Moves on its own and flips its tail for hours of fun 🙂

Check out this super cool circuit with a flashing ball, my two cats love this one! 🙂

7 in 1 Laser pen toy with different colours and shapes

Conclusion- Cats, belly rubs and playtime

So as we have discovered there are so many different ways we can show love to our little cherubs if your cat is one of the minorities who doesn’t enjoy a little stomach tickle.

Contrary to what is often taught about cats our Poll results show most cats love a good little stomach rub.

There are lots of ways we can stimulate our cats and engage in active playtime, what’s your favourite way to play with kitty?

As always take care of yourself and your little fur babies

Mark (The Crazy Cat Man)


Mark loves Cats, he is the Daddy to two little cats who you will see throughout his blog. He has a passion for Cat care and enjoys everything cat-related. You could call him the crazy cat man.

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