Q: Dear Nora,
Sometimes when my cat is happy she lays on her back and displays her cute little belly to me. It’s nearly impossible to avoid touching it since I know it will be so soft and squishy. However, every time I reach out to touch it she scratches and bites me. Why does she do this? Is she just taunting me?
A: I know, it’s confusing when we do this. The first thing you should know is that, generally, if your cat is flashing her belly at you it’s a sign that she really trusts you. All of our vital organs are tucked away inside there and exposing it to you leaves your cat in a vulnerable position– she won’t lay belly up for just anyone! When you go in for a belly scratch and she attacks you, it’s not because she has been taunting you. It’s just that you have triggered a reflex that she uses to protect herself against danger. Try going in slower and giving her some warning– it may help. But some cats simply don’t want their bellies touched ever, and you may have to resign yourself to living without it.