Why do cats lay on their back

Why do cats lay on their back

Is there a better way to understand cat behavior than by observing their body language and movements?

This is of course, not an easy or simple task, since cats have many different moves and they all appear basic and with no great meaning to us, but think again. Or try and simplify the understanding of cats with the help of Cat Language Bible.

Our Top Pick For Cat Care

Understand and Speak with your Cat Easily!

Learn More

One of the many things a cat does can be lying on her back with exposed stomach side. This is a positive thing and signals major display of trust or safety in being around you. Another thing when interpreting is seeing the whole context, not separate segments.

Observe the cat fully, instead of focusing solely on one part or one movement; tail, ears, paws, sounds, body and moves – all of them inform you whether you should approach or be at a distance. Some of the main reasons why cats lye on the back are mentioned here.

Happy mood

When you can see the belly of the cat, as she lies on her back, the cat communicates with you about feeling happy, serene, content and really relaxed. She has good spirits, feels healthy and in good mood – until probably the next moment of unpredictable movements.


Almost the same as previously, except more fragile and vulnerable mood. This time the cat shows pure and untainted happiness and with her exposed belly, she is telling you she feels vulnerable and submissive toward you.

When a cat acts so defenseless around you, she feels completely safe and trusts you as her closest human companion. This feeling comes from her perception that you will not harm her in any way or do something that would hurt her.

Another thing to remember is that cats which expose their belly like this, have no ways to predict or protect themselves in case a predator attacks them.

If you see this, or even her legs being spread apart wide, show the cat friendliness and affection – this is a rare opportunity around humans.

Mating needs

sometimes, however on rare occasions, cats expose the belly for other reasons. Of course, the happiness and complete trust is the primary meaning of lying on the back, but seldom a female cat might expose her belly during mating seasons. However, there is an obvious and great difference in a trusting cat and cat in mating needs.


Cats show good mood in general through this lying on back position. You cannot miss the meaning; happiness, content, joy, complete trust, fully being vulnerable, but also…being playful!

Pet the cat and after a while of her lying on the back, go get your toys for your beloved pet and reward her trust and joy with playtime. Fetch the catnip, mouse toys, feather wands, stuffed toy objects and have fun.


If the cat lies on the back and at the same time emits sounds, this is a hint that the belly exposure surely means something and you need to pay attention (or hear and see at the same time). For example, if the cat lies on back and growls at the same time, she is preparing herself for sudden attack and lies on the back to deceive the potential attacker.

If she lies on her back and meows or purrs, she seeks affection from you and gentle rubbing on her belly. You must keep in mind that not all exposed tummies need a tummy rub; this can sometimes fool you at first, but with time you will learn your cat’s signals by heart.

In this case, when she exposes her belly and refuses a tummy rub, the cat can simply just feel relaxed and you come uninvited to touch her – this might annoy the cat and make her scratch or bite you. If the cat lies on the back, has dilated pupils and flattened ears more to the back behind the forehead – walk away and do not touch.

Why does the belly get the focus of interpreting cats’ mood? The belly of a cat, when exposed, cannot be shielded and protected from attacks, if any. The instinct of a cat is to protect the most vulnerable part of her body, and if she ‘misses out’ on that opportunity, do not take this for granted.

To know your cat better and understand her (body) language makes you both have a good and loving pet-owner relationship, so make sure to browse more on Cat Language Bible.

Our Top Pick For Cat Care

Understand and Speak with your Cat Easily!

Learn More

Pet Brain

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Leave a Comment: