Cat Belly Rubs

Want to know a foolproof way to identify a cat owner? Just look at their forearm. If it’s covered in nicks, cuts and scratches, you can be pretty sure they’re the parent of a feisty feline—at least that’s true in my case. My darling kitties often go from purr-rumbling cuddle bug mode to motion activated chainsaw mode in the blink of an eye—and my forearms pay the price.

To be fair, the cat scratches I incur are usually my fault. I’ve had all my cats since they were kittens, and I know their limits, their likes and their dislikes. For example, only one out of the three appreciates a belly rub—and then, only when she really feels like it. The other two take great offense at any attempt to touch their lush abdominal fur… but I feel compelled (at least occasionally) to attempt it anyway.

Apparently, the flop and roll routine that exposes their tummies—usually in the middle of a sunbeam—is not an invitation to pet away to my heart’s content. Unlike dogs, a cat on its back is in a defensive position. I have read that in the wild, cats will roll onto their backs to enable the use of all of their claws and teeth in a fight.

It makes sense, I suppose. I’ve certainly felt the wrath of all those claws and teeth when I’ve touched the forbidden belly floof. Perhaps my New Year’s resolution, in addition to the usual ‘lose weight’ and ‘go to the gym more often’ should be to better ‘respect kitty’s boundaries.’ Especially if ever want to wear short sleeves again.

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