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10 reasons why your cat rolls on its back

10 reasons why your cat rolls on its back

Pet cats roll on the ground when they feel energetic, scratch, or are looking for a great stretch. Sometimes rolling is accompanied by purring, head rubbing against the ground and meowing.

Whatever the reason your feline rolls onto his back, this activity is usually a favorable signal. The rolling motion usually means that the cat feels safe and may want you to be interested in it.

Just like us humans, our cats communicate through their body movements. There are many physical cues to what a feline is feeling, such as a vertically erect tail held in the air, which indicates that they feel comfortable and open to interaction.

cat rolling on the ground to show you its trust and affection

But what does it mean when a cat unexpectedly throws itself on the ground and rolls onto its back?

We're going to give you some reasons why cats roll onto their backs, so you have a better idea of ​​what your feline is trying to convey.

Remember, no indication or indicator of a feline's body language is a certainty. It's best to continue to exercise caution when engaging with a feline, and especially one you don't know.

A cat exposing its belly is not always a sign that it wants to be petted because the belly is the most sensitive part of a cat's anatomy. If you interpret this body language as an invitation to rub your cat's belly, you risk ending up with deeply scratched hands and arms.

Be careful and use good judgment when trying to translate a cat's body movements!

cat on the back

Now we'll move on to the top 10 reasons why cats roll on their backs.

1. To scratch your back

When a feline has an itch on its back, it cannot reach that spot with its paws to relieve the itch. It is not uncommon for felines to throw themselves on the ground and turn onto their backs to scratch themselves.

Like other animals, they can suffer from dry skin and have parasites in their coat, such as fleas for example. All of these can trigger allergic skin reactions and cause severe itching.

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If your feline seems disturbed when he is on his back and is wriggling wildly, examine his fur and skin carefully.

Check all areas of your feline's body, including the back, legs, rump, neck, face and ears, for signs of dry skin or parasites.

If you find fleas or mites in his fur, call your veterinarian for advice. Your veterinarian may ask you to bring your cat in for an exam or tell you which products to use to get rid of these tiny parasites that are bothering him.


2. To attract attention

A cat rolling on its back can send a signal that it wants attention and is open to interaction. Unlike a pet dog who rolls onto his back to get a belly rub, a cat is generally not as submissive.

Felines frequently roll onto their backs to show that they feel sociable and friendly without necessarily wanting to be touched. To show his non-aggressiveness and sociability he will frequently rub his head on the ground while moving it in all directions and purring loudly.

Think about when, where and what situations might cause your feline to roll onto his back. For example, if your cat rolls over every morning, as well as right in front of you when you get ready for the day, that's a sign that he wants attention.

Spend quality time with your cat if you see him rolling on his back, on your feet, or on the floor.

By offering your feline this interest, you consolidate the bonds between him and you and constitute a sort of essential support for the development of your cat.

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Therefore, your cat will definitely repeat the rolling activity the next time he wants some extra attention. Cats like routine, so once a pattern is established, rolling on the floor becomes a calming ritual.


3. To stretch your muscles

Like us humans, felines need to stretch their muscles from time to time and they do this in several ways, including lying on their backs and rolling over. These habits are most often formed when a cat wakes from sleep.

You may have seen your feline wake up from a nap, turn onto his back and roll around with his back, legs and neck extended. If you think your feline is just stretching his muscles by rolling over onto his back, it's best to let him do it. If you try to touch his stomach during this moment it risks making him angry, so watch out for a paw with his claws out!

It's best to wait until your feline has finished lying down before petting it or patting it on the head to say hello.

cat lying on its back with friendly behavior


4. To attract the opposite sex

In some cases, cats will roll onto their backs when outside to indicate to other cats that they are interested in breeding. Female cats adopt this behavior to send their scents to male cats nearby.

These "chemical messages" are sent by small glands located on different parts of the feline's body, including the head, back and tail.
If you have an unspayed female cat who goes outside, she will send these chemical messages to male felines in the neighborhood every time she is in heat.

While humans cannot smell cat pheromones, male cats can and they can smell them from afar. If you do not want kittens, you should opt to sterilize your cat as soon as possible!

cat showing its belly
5. To send the message that it's time to play

When feeling frisky and energetic, felines will often throw themselves on the ground and roll onto their backs.

They can exhibit this habit with humans, other felines, and even pet dogs.
A cat may roll onto its back when it sees its human family gathering to play together . Cats understand when their humans are having a good time just by watching them.

You can tell if your feline is playing by rolling onto his back by tossing him a small cat toy. If he continues to play with the toy by dropping it and biting it, he is definitely in a playful spirit!

rolling cat with friendly behavior who wants to play

6. Sign of security and safety in your presence

A pet cat will not lie on its back unless it feels truly secure and protected.

In fact, a cat will roll over onto its back when it is in its most relaxed state. If a cat turns around to face you when you are present, this is a good indication. It’s your feline’s way of telling you: “I trust you.” Revealing the belly and/or sensitive parts is a very meaningful moment for your cat, which is an opportunity for both of you to bond.

7. Marking Behavior

Moving on the ground can spread the feline's scent. Since felines connect primarily through the scent of a person or object, they use their scent glands on their cheeks, paws, and sides to deposit their scent signature.

When your cat rubs its head and cheeks on the floor, it can leave traces of its scent in your home, on the furniture and on your feet. He thus informs the other cats that he has asserted his position and that he has already marked you (which forces the other cats to withdraw).

Spotting and marking are used as a means to ward off any type of enemies or potential adversaries.

Many pet cats feel an instinctive desire to mark their area by massaging and scratching it. However, if your feline marks its territory with urine, you will need to teach it to stop.

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8. Mating and Catnip

If you've ever offered your cat catnip, you may have noticed comparable rolling movements. Catnip generally elicits a strong response in felines.

Its energetic compound, nepetalactone , is a powerful odor that activates a cat's sexual desires. This is what makes them enjoy rolling around on the ground after inhaling it.

You will also find that many females roll around and rub against spots when they are in heat or after mating. This is most likely related to hormonal agents and ovulation.

Frantic movements may also mean your cat is trying to get rid of the scent of a male cat before moving on to another male cat.


9. Unlike canines, the posture of the cat on its back is not an act of submission but a proof of attention

Many dogs turn onto their backs as a sign of submission, unlike felines. When felines roll over, it is normally more of a request for attention than an act of submission towards their owners.

If you have another pet in the house, such as a dog, your cat may roll on its back when the other pet is not around, to let you know it wants some love.

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10. Other possibilities for rolling on your feline’s back

There may be other reasons why your cat is rolling on the floor:

  • The need to refresh oneself. This involves consuming plenty of water, relaxing in cool places, and rubbing on cool floors.
  • Your cat may also protect its gastrointestinal system by rolling in dust, covering itself in germs and ingesting them by licking its fur. Whatever your cat is doing, it's most likely for a very good reason.

To conclude this chapter, we will say that this feline habit can be an indication of happiness, contentment or inflammation or to meet an organic need. It can also indicate that a female is ready to mate or that a feline wants to play.

Pay close attention to your feline the next time he rolls onto his back to see if you can determine what message he's trying to send!

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