Meows! Cats love to stretch, yawn, and roll over onto their backs for a cuddle and a pat. However, some cats simply adopt this posture for comfort, and in no way mean it as an invitation for play time. Many cat lovers are the target of a feisty swat from our paws as a result of trying to rub a cat without checking for permission first. Here I will share a little insight information on this.
I love getting tummy rubs almost more than catnip! I roll over every chance I get to entice my family to rub me. This is one of the ultimate compliments you can get as a pet owner. It's telling you "I trust you completely". And if he/she sleeps in this position, her trust in you is complete and unconditional! It means that you have been a wonderful cat owner. Concatulations! But be aware that all cats will not respond kindly to having you touch the most vulnerable part of their body! Cats on their backs, like most other animals, are open to attacks and they know this, which shows how much they trust you. So make sure you have observed all of the other rules of body language and open communication before you touch a kitty's tummy that you are not familiar with.
Cats love rubbing against things, especially you or your leg. Many cats, myself included, actually rub their noses into yours to show affection! These acts of positive emotion are to be encouraged. They're aren't enough friendly and loving pets out there, mostly due to overpopulation, so do your best to tell Kitty that you truly appreciate these warm gestures!
Licking is another way your cat expresses him/herself. Aside from the obvious principle of grooming with their tongues, cats can often tell you when something is wrong. Constant licking in one area can mean kitty has a pain or a sore. Gently check the area, constantly reassuring your pet that you will deal with the problem with love and tenderness. Your tone of voice should be soft but firm. This helps the cat relax when you examine the affected area. Sometimes cats will lick one area until it is raw. This is known as a "hotspot". Some experts say that extreme licking, such as this, is commonly rooted in a psychological problem, which is usually boredom. You can put some bitter apple (available in pet stores or from your vet) on the area to discourage licking. Try to divert your cat's attention by playing or cuddling with him/her. If it becomes a problem, please consult your veterinarian immediately.
Hopping is where kitty runs over to you, bumps against your leg, quickly lifts both front paws off of the ground together and then puts them back down again. This familiar little greeting is usually reserved just for humans. It's your cat's way of saying "Welcome Home"! It's actually a throw back from their days as kittens and the head to head greeting behavior the they learned from their mother cat. In your cat's eyes, you have replaced her cat mom, so you get the same greeting...sort of. Kitty's mother would lower her own head to make face to face contact and rub noses with her, in order to mingle scents. But since you're so tall, she settles for the hop! Doesn't that make you feel special? It should. As with other forms of positive cat communication, this is usually only reserved for loving humans. I add a few steps to my hopping routine, since I also do give meowmie nose rubs when she gets home. Of course, she gets on the floor or couch with me so I can do it.
Why do cats act like they were born to be stroked? Because in their minds, they were! Cats carry many memories of kittenhood into their adulthood, almost as if they never grow up. They respond to our stroking in the same manner as they did to their cat mother's grooming them with her tongue. Just like when they were kittens!
Why do cats "knead" when they are happy? This is a perfect example of cats carrying memories from kittenhood. The load purring followed by the cat moving her claws in and out is actually called "milk-treading". Kittens will do this while nursing by pushing on their mother's tummy to increase the flow of milk. When older cats do this, it's a very good sign that they are extremely happy and content. They are likely recalling the best days of kittenhood! Some cats will also drool while kneading, which again, is a throwback from kittenhood.