Have you ever wondered why your cat suddenly throws herself down and starts rolling around on her back?
A common misconception is that a cat’s exposed belly – her most sensitive spot – means belly rubs, paw-lease. Consider then, some of the other reasons behind her behavior.
To stretch her muscles: When a cat wakes up from a nap or deep sleep, she will often turn over onto her back and roll around while stretching her neck, back and legs. If this is the case, don’t interfere! Resist the impulse to reach out and pet her or pat her on the head until she appears satisfied, relaxed and calm – or run the risk of being bitten.
To scratch her back: An itchy back will often cause a cat to roll around on the ground and rub herself back and forth, back and forth in order to find relief. As with all animals, cats are prone to dry skin and/or parasites such as mites and fleas that live in their fur and are capable of causing extreme itchiness and/or triggering skin allergies. If your cat seems unaccountably and unusually uncomfortable when she’s wriggling about, look closely at her fur and skin.
Gently – and carefully -- examine her entire body, including her ears, face, neck, back, bum and legs for signs of either dry skin or parasites. Should you find mites or fleas in her fur, contact your veterinarian for guidance. You may either be asked to bring your cat in for a more thorough examination or be instructed as to which products to use to rid her of the infestation, relieve her discomfort and restore her to good health – and good humor.
To seek attention: Rolling around on her back is often a cat’s way of displaying how social and friendly she’s feeling without necessarily “asking” to be touched. At other times, it’s a clear sign that she does indeed welcome attention from and interaction with you. How will you know? She’ll rub her head on the ground while moving it round and round and loudly purr, purr, purring.
To initiate playtime: A frisky feline will invariably flop to the ground and roll around on her back, displaying her playful mood to people, other cats and, yes, even dogs. Since cats are proficient at reading their owners’ body language and speech, your cat may roll around on her back when she sees you and your family playing together – whatever the activity. To determine how proficient you are at reading her body language, toss her a small cat toy. If she promptly begins swatting it around and biting it, she’s most assuredly in a playful mood.