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Why Does My Cat Roll Around on Their Back? 6 Reasons & Signs to Look For

Cats do all kinds of things that we humans can’t always understand. As we get to know our pet cats, we may come to understand many of their quirks, mannerisms, and communications. However, there is always something new to learn about them — such as why some cats like to roll around on their backs.

Why exactly do cats display this behavior? There happen to be a few reasons that a cat might roll around on their back. Here’s a list of the most common ones, so you can hopefully better communicate with your kitty in the future.

divider-catclaw1 The 6 Reasons Why Cats Roll Around on Their Back

1. They Want Attention

Cats may decide to roll around on their backs because they want attention. They may stop, drop, and start rolling around right in front of your feet while you’re standing or sitting on the couch. If your cat keeps rolling on their back when you give them attention, chances are that this is the exact reason that they are displaying the behavior in the first place. They just want your attention!

If they’re rolling around on their backs for another reason, they will likely run away when you try to give them attention, such as petting them.

Credit: SJ Duran, Shutterstock
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2. They’re Scratching Themselves

Another common reason that cats roll around on their backs is to simply relieve themselves from itchiness. Their backs could just be feeling itchy, and they will roll on the floor to scratch the itch. This will relieve tension and help them relax.

When scratching for itch relief, a cat tends to rub their back on the ground by moving their head and butt in different directions to make a swirling motion. You might notice that they want to be left alone while doing this, but they may appreciate you scratching their bellies and legs during the occasion. Either way, itching relief is what they are after.

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3. They’re Showing a Sign of Comfort and Respect

Another reason that your cat might be rolling around on their back is to show you that they are comfortable in your presence and that they trust and respect you enough to be vulnerable around you. A cat would never roll on their back and expose their belly in a strange place or in front of people or animals that they don’t feel safe around.

Therefore, if your cat is showing you their belly regularly and without displaying signs of stress, you can be sure that they are comfortable around you and that they respect you as a companion and confidant.

Credit: Cathleen Wake Gorbatenko, Shutterstock
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4. They’re Trying to Stay Healthy

All animals, including humans, must stretch their muscles to stay healthy and mobile no matter their age but especially when getting older. So, sometimes cats roll around on their backs to stretch their muscles and keep their bodies in good shape. If a cat is rolling around on their back to stretch their muscles, they will likely stretch their arms and legs out at the same time.

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5. They’re Feeling Playful

Rolling around on their back can be a sign that a cat is feeling frisky and wants to play. They could start by rolling on their back, and then they will use their paws to try to grab at toys, furniture, or even people’s legs as they walk by. They may also roll on their back to end a fun play session and get rid of their last bit of energy before settling down for a nap.

Credit: Jelena990, Shutterstock
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6. They Want to Attract the Opposite Sex

One interesting reason for a cat to roll around on their back is to try to attract the other sex. This is more typical among cats that have not been spayed or neutered. When a female cat goes into heat, it is common for them to roll around on their backs while meowing and whining to catch male attention. The best way to stop a cat from rolling around on their back to get a mate is to have them spayed or neutered.

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Determining Why Your Cat Is Rolling Around on Their Back

To determine why your kitty rolls around on their back, you should look for signs of other behavior that accompanies the rolling, such as moving their head and legs too or reaching out for a toy. Pay close attention during the act, and you should be able to pick on the signs of why they’re doing it.

Cat playing with human
Image Credit: Florian Höllmüller, Pixabay

divider-catclaw1 Conclusion

There is no reason to be alarmed when a cat starts rolling around on their back. They are likely just being playful or scratching a bothersome itch. However, if you are curious about why your cat is displaying such behavior, this guide should help you figure it out!

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Featured Image Credit: Sheila Fitzgerald, Shutterstock