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Why do cats lay on their back? 7 common reasons

Cats are incredibly adorable. They can do anything and will get an awww from their loving caregivers, especially when they do a trick to get our attention, yawn, or sleep on their backs like innocent little angels. These furries always keep us with the camera at hand, ready to capture any extra cute photo-worthy moment, particularly when they lie on their backs since that doesn’t happen often. Why do cats lay on their back?

The most common posture in which a cat lies down, either to rest or to sleep, is the so-called cat loaf posture, which is, as you have probably seen, when your cat sits with all four paws tucked under the stomach and the tail curled around the body as if to hide its limbs while retaining warmth.

The cat’s loaf position is the most common position for a cat to sleep in because, in addition to helping him keep warm, it is excellent for when he has to run away as he can stand up immediately. But there are other positions, such as sleeping in a ball, and today we’re talking about cats lying on their backs.

Why do cats lay on their back? 7 common reasons

When the cat sleeps on its back, the situation is entirely different, and although you may think that if your cat sleeps this way, it’s because it feels safe and doesn’t has the need to be aware all the time. While it’s true, there are more reasons why your furry friend may lie with its belly up.

why do cats lay on their back - trust

1. Your cat trusts you

If your cat sleeps on his back, he feels confident and safe at home. He is more than sure that neither you nor his companions will do him any harm. On the contrary, they will protect him if necessary.

Leaving his belly in the air is the ultimate test of love because, in this position, the cat’s stomach is very vulnerable to the attack of any predator that could easily bite him and injure vital organs. But your cat knows you got him covered, and he can relax.

If your cat has never slept like this, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he doesn’t trust you or that you are failing to provide a safe environment. It may be that he doesn’t like this position. After all, it is rare for a cat to sleep like this.

2. Comfy position

Like you, your cat also has a favorite sleeping position, which may be your cat’s preferred one. After all, a cat lying on its back can stretch its paws much better, resting those muscles after a day of bouncing around.

Although it is much more common for young cats to sleep like this, especially in their first weeks of life when they fall asleep without realizing it, some adult cats also sleep on their backs, which is completely normal. It is just a matter of taste.

3. Happy to see you!

Have you ever come home after a long day and found your cat on the doorstep greeting you rolling on his back? Well, it’s because he missed you, and that’s his way of telling you. He wants to say hello and invite you to play with him or give him a good scratch.

why do cats lay on their back - comfy position

Your cat is showing his belly doesn’t mean he wants you to touch it; it’s a restricted area. Most cats don’t want you touching their tummy because it’s their vulnerable area, but you can pet his head or chin, and he’ll be fascinated.

4. Attacking position

Just as lying on his back leaves your cat’s stomach vulnerable and exposed, it also allows him to have all four paws ready to attack. Imagine that his number one enemy jumps out to attack him while he’s lying like this. Chances are your cat has the upper hand because not only will he be able to bite him quickly, but he’ll also be able to defend himself by fiercely scratching his belly or throwing him away.

If you see your cat lying on his back with his paws in the air and wagging his tail slowly, beware, he doesn’t want to play. He is probably waiting for some naive predator or person to fall prey to his surprise attack.

5. Heating season

A female cat in heat lying on the floor with their belly up is trying to communicate to the males that she is ready to mate. If this is your cat’s first heat, in addition to this, you may notice that she is much more affectionate, that she meows very insistently, and that she rubs herself against the floor and furniture.

We recommend you spay your cat as soon as she finishes her heat. This way, you avoid surprise pregnancies, besides you help your cat because once she is spayed, she will not go into heat again. A cat in heat can suffer stress and anxiety, hypersensitivity, and sometimes even pain, so it isn’t a good time for them.

6. A break from the discomfort

Another reason that may lead your cat to lie on its back may be a leg or spinal injury, obesity, muscle fatigue due to age, or even pregnancy. When a cat lies on its paws or in a loaf position, it puts pressure on its legs and stomach, which can be uncomfortable if it is in pain. When you are bloated and unbutton your pants, you rest, and so does a cat lying on its back, leaving its stomach free of pressure and paws free of any weight.

7. It’s hot, and they want to feel fresh

Finally, another reason why cats lay on their back is that the weather is hot, and they want to cool down. When a cat lies on their back, their fur flattens out, allowing air to circulate as much as possible. This isn’t always an effective cooling tactic, but it shows that cats know their body temperature and try to adjust it when needed.

why do cats lay on their back - feel fresh

If you have an AC or ceiling fan, your cat might be more inclined to take full advantage of the cool air and lay on its back, especially after playing in your garden on a summer afternoon. If this is the case, make sure it has plenty of soft blankets and pillows around them so it can be comfortable while enjoying the extra breeze.

Why do cats lay on their back? The bottom line

Now you know why cats lay on their back, and the truth is that it’s not always a sign of trust or surrender. Cats have different reasons to adopt this position and sometimes even combine them, like when they lie down to rest after an attack or expose their stomach while in heat. The important thing is to observe your cat closely so that if you see him sleeping like this for long periods or you feel like your cat might be sick, you can take him for check-ups at the vet just in case.

But don’t worry if he does it from time to time. Cats are just being comfortable and expressing themselves! So let your cat express himself as he pleases with no judgment, and enjoy those peaceful moments together. Does your cat like to sleep on his back? Let us know in the comments! Thank you for reading!

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