Tip of the Week: Ah, There’s The Rub
When our furry feline friends flip over to show us their adorable bellies, many of us make the assumption that they’re looking for a tickle or a rub…and end up with scratch or bite wounds as a result!
While there are some cats who do enjoy a friendly belly rub, there are probably at least as many who are rolling over in an effort to communicate that they’re not interested in affection at all. A cat may be rolling over to show you the weapons he has at the ends of those velvety paws. And he may follow up with his teeth if you don’t heed his initial warning.
Next time you’re thinking you have a belly-rub inclined kitty on your hands, look first at the other body language the kitty might be sharing–such as a swishing tail, pinned-back ears, dilated (round) pupils, whiskers pulled back or extending forward. These can all be signs that this particular kitty isn’t in the mood for attention at the moment. He may be trying to tell you he is feeling overly excited/stimulated, fearful or aggressive.
If a cat is trying to tell you to back off, simply remove yourself and find another way to show your affection. Try giving the kitty some quiet time to calm down, provide him with an appropriate wand toy to chase, or give him a bit more time to acclimate.
P.S. For a less, ahem, scientific version of this, check The Oatmeal’s “How to pet a kitty” post.
Have your adopters asked you about this tricky feline communication? Belly up to the comments box and share your experiences with us.
Meet us here every Monday for tips we’ve gleaned and seen that may make your life a little easier, make a routine process go a little faster or deliver some extra comfort for the animals in your care.
Photo: Marie Stordahl