When my husband and I are having a discussion, our cat Cleo often joins us. She rolls over on her back, and holds her paws close to her chin, and gives us (what we call) blinky eyes. It's so adorable we just have to notice her. On several occasions we intentionally tried to ignore this super cuteness, when we do, she will gently tap our ankles with her paws, or get up and move closer to us.

So is this behavior called attention seeking? Or is she, in her own way, joining our conversation?

We have also noticed that if I am in one place, such as the kitchen, and he is the living room, she displays her belly near him. Is she acknowledging my husband as top cat of the household?

  • Sounds more like ... "Hooman! You shall run our belly at once!"
    – Mario
    Apr 29, 2018 at 6:27

2 Answers 2


Unlike dogs, cats do not display their bellies as a sign of submission. It's merely something they do when they're feeling so secure, they feel safe for a good lounging. Many cats therefore may do this in your presence, but not actually want their bellies to be touched, in fact I'd say it's more normal for them to not particularly like having their bellies touched.

But, some cats may come to tolerate it or like it if they learn it feels nice or are particularly attention motivated. My cat, for example, seems to actively enjoy belly rubs, but I think mostly because she craves any sort of attention at all. I think the fact that your cat is approaching and tapping at you is more an indication it does want your attention and possibly to be petted, than the act of exposing its belly is.


Above all, it is an indication that she trusts you. She may also welcome belly rubs at this time, but even cats who don't like belly rubs will lie on their backs like this to show trust. Try rubbing her belly, but be prepared if she doesn't want it, or only wants a few rubs before she grabs your hand with her claws.

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