Learning what my cat is trying to tell me....this isn't easy is it?

Finally coming around! - my Bigguy eating
United States
January 25, 2008 10:25am CST
My new cat Bigguy (I've changed his name and he seems to like it!) is starting to come around ...finally but in a very small way. I'm able to pat his head and stroke his back and sometimes he rolls over but when he does he doesn't seem to want his belly stoked so why does he roll over? I can pat his head going from head to tail and he arches his back when I get to his tail so I stop. He wags his tail a lot but it's almost as if to say he doesn't like something. Two times when I was patting his belly he turned his head as though to bite me so of course I stopped immediately. I know he needs to learn that he can trust me but I have to know that I can trust him too right? Since we are both new to each other how the heck does this work? Does anyone have any suggestions? What should I be looking for? How do I tell when he is not happy with what I am doing other than getting a nip on the hand?
4 people like this
11 responses
@deebomb (15348)
• United States
25 Jan 08
Our cat doesn't like to have her belly rubbed at all. sometimes she doesn't like any petting. You also have to pay attention to your kitties ears. When they were laying back or down kitty is not happy. you have to learn to read kitties expressions too.
• United States
25 Jan 08
The one thing I do know is that if their ears are laying flat they are not very happy. Now I have to learn all the rest...lol!
@byfaithonly (10717)
• United States
25 Jan 08
Personally I think cats are just like people - each one is different and it just takes time to get to know each other. Since bringing my cat Indy home she and I have been together the most of anyone in the house - she's almost always within sight of me (she watches me)... Because of that 'time' I've gotten to know all her little moves. Believe it or not I can read her tail twitch - she has one when she's feeling 'lovey' another when she's angry, and yet another when she's hunting. I've also noticed another since we got the dog a couple months ago - she actually teases. It just takes time, like any relationship.
1 person likes this
@HAYAM78 (44)
• Indonesia
25 Mar 08
i love cat, but i don't have is there someone outthere wanna give me a cat?
@Ceciliah (56)
• Canada
27 Jan 08
Hi, When your cat rolls over and shows his belly it's a sign of trust, but that does not mean to stroke his belly as this is the most vulnerable spot on any animal in fights or defense. My cats range in age of 15 to 8 and they will do the same thing, roll over and present their belly but they will bite if you stroke it. It's only a sign of trust not an invitation to touch. So I am content to pet their heads down to their tails and they seem happy with that. It is just an instinctive manner and really can't be changed as a lot of people have cats who are the very same. I hope you and Bigguy have a long and happy relationship. Also arching his back when you pet him is a sign that he likes it. Sincerely. Ceciliah
@Loen210 (1533)
• United States
27 Jan 08
Oh, I wish you you and Bigguy many, many happy years to come! "Wagging" their tails for cats is "Swatting" their tails. It is opposite of dogs to stress or anger. When they are calm, they may tap the tip of their tail relaxing, but if it is swatting, back off. Yes, the archine is a happy stretch. Their tail sticks up then so you complete the smooth stroke across the back. Most cats do not like their stomachs touched. I have known many who would scratch you if. It bothers them a lot. A few cats do. I have one cat who just rolls over and loves to be scratched and pet on her stomach. But another kitty, that I would never dare touch her tummy. But they roll over when they are happy, and open their (most susceptible or dangerous if were in a fight with another cat) to show their tummy to you with trust. Happy purrs and petting to you! :o) And yes, I agree with others that you should research plenty about cats. Feed him healthily, play, and keep him happy. :o)
@bellaofchaos (11554)
• United States
26 Jan 08
Unfortunately I have a rather odd cat, he like to clean me before he recieves pets. LOL!! He will nip at my hand if I don't let him clean it.LOL!! but he is a big white fur ball and is ocd about being clean. Alot of the time he looks as if he just came from the groomers his whiteness is never a dingy white, but Ihave had him since he was born. For your new kitty to show is tummy is saying I trust you the fact that he doesn't want pets there just mean I trust you but hey this is my tummy. LOL!! How long have you had him? I would give it time. Your both just learning about eachother. Now if your petting his back and you get to the tail area and he's arching it as long as he's not puffed of to make himself look bigger your fine. He'll let you know when he's had enough either by the way he looks or a small nip. He can't talk and it's the only way he can tell you to set guidelines with you. Just remember when you get nip and don't repeat what it was .. That way you don't get nipped and he doesn't get frustrated that your not getting the point.LOL!! www.thedailycat.com This site has alot of information about cat and kittens and not just behavioral but other information as well hope it helps and have a nice day.
• United States
26 Jan 08
Cats just don't like their stomach's rubbed.wagging their tail is a sign that they are annoyed. I have had cats my whole life and not one to this day liked there stomach rubbed.so pet there head and back a bit and they will be happy.just enjoy them and their presence they are a fine pet in my eye's as i have about 12 of them. 2 indoor and the rest outdoors.all fixed too.i live in the country and they just show up.a new one just showed up about a week ago.i'm sure someone dumped her.how sad is that.she has become my second indoor kittie,very very sweet.take care and enjoy.
@winterose (39916)
• Canada
26 Jan 08
usually if he wags his tail he is not happy, if he nips you he is not happy, cats are funny they want to be stroked but can nip if they are oversensitive, meaning you stroked too long.
• United States
26 Jan 08
I don't have any advice but I hope you get it figured out. I love cats. I haven't had one since I was a teenager :( but hope to get one soon.
@GardenGerty (80100)
• Marion, Kansas
26 Jan 08
One of my favorite books, that you might really enjoy is called The Tribe of Tigers. Elizabeth Marshall Thomas is the author. She also wrote, I believe, The Secret Life of Dogs. If I remember correctly Ms. Thomas is an anthropologist. She tells a lot about what cat behaviors mean. My guess as to why Bigguy lays on his back is to let you know that he trusts you. I hope you are enjoying getting to know your cat.
@jenlynw (41)
• United States
26 Jan 08
I have had cats all my life and they are all so different!! Sometimes it's hard to guage their moods, but one way I've always been able to tell is to watch their tail... If he moves it from side to side in big wide sweeps, he's happy and content. If his tail twitches or he moves it in short, quick movements, he's getting annoyed and his next move may be to nip you, just enough to say "Stop, I don't like that!" But as I said, they are all so different as far as personalities go, but this has been my experience with my cats. Good luck!