Why Does My Cat Fall Over When I Pet Her? (Explained)

Why Does My Cat Fall Over When I Pet Her

Of all the curious behaviors my cat has, falling over when I pet her is one of the funniest.

Sometimes I tease that I’m going to pet her – kind of like pretending I’m going to – and I watch her drop to her back and look at me.

She’ll roll around and edge herself nearer to me, and sometimes pop back up and rub against my legs and fall over by my feet when I reach down.

If you’re a new cat parent this behavior might be confusing you.

Well, I can help by explaining what it means when a cat falls over when you pet them – and don’t worry, it’s almost always a positive thing!

Why Does My Cat Fall Over When I Pet Her?

There are a few reasons why your cat might be falling or rolling over when you pet her, you’ll have to pay close attention to her behavior to figure it out.

To help you better understand your kitty, the most common reasons cats fall over when being pet is:

To Demonstrate They Feel Safe and Secure

A lot of cats’ behaviors revolve around making sure they feel safe and secure.

Obviously, they are safe inside your home, but domestic cats still need to satisfy some of their wild instincts and keep their wits about them.

When a cat rolls around on their back and exposes their stomachs, this is demonstrating they feel about as comfortable and as secure as they’ll get.

It’s quite an honor, you should always take this opportunity to pet your cat some more and spend some time rolling around with them.

Related Here’s why cats have hanging stomach pouches!

Because They Want to Be Fussed and Petted Elsewhere

Another reason your cat is flopping over when you reach to pet them is that they want you to pet them some more.

A lot of cats will never expose their tummies, if yours is inviting you to fuss them there and not setting you up to bite your fingers, count yourself fortunate.

A way to test this is to back off a little and see if your cat follows you. If they do, they’re desperate for some petting!

They’re Marking You With Their Scent

While your cat might be showing you affection and asking for more petting, they may also be marking you with their scent.

Cats have scent glands all over their bodies, and they rub against things to mark them with their scent.

This essentially marks objects (you) as theirs, and if other cats come across you they’ll know from the scent that you’ve been ‘claimed’.

Because They Want to Play

Sometimes cats don’t want to be petted, they want to play. I have a cat that does this, she’ll roll on her back and invite me to pet her tummy – then give me a playful jab.

If I back off, she’ll usually follow me and weave in and out of my legs and pester me to play.

She really likes it when I give her something to grab a hold of so she can kick it with her back legs, which is only possible when she’s rolled over.

Related Questions

Why Does My Cat Fall Over When He Sees Me?

If your cat falls over when they see you without you getting close and petting them, it means the same things as the reasons I covered above.

As long as it’s a reaction to making eye contact with you, it’s almost going to be a positive thing.

However, if your cat is randomly falling over, you need to take a close look at them and make sure there isn’t an underlying health issue.

Why Do Cats Stretch When They See You?

Stretching is another curious behavior that a lot of cats will do when they see you enter a room or approach them.

It’s not a coincidence, a lot of cats do this. There are two ways of looking at this; the first is that if they’re standing up, it’s natural they need a little stretch.

Cats spend a lot of time sleeping, and I’m sure you’re aware, it’s not really a surprise that they need a stretch when they stand up.

The second thing to takeaway is that it’s a sign they feel relaxed and comfortable around you – just as they show you when they’re falling over at your feet.

In Summary

Hopefully, I’ve helped you better understand your cat and why they fall over when you pet them – and most importantly that it’s totally normal and nothing to worry about!


Image credits – Photo by Kanashi on Unsplash

Leave a comment: