Why do cats flop, and what does it mean?!

It’d been almost 9 months since we’d brought our two rescue cats home. Having been found abandoned in a house at the age of around 6 months, they both had little experience of humans and being around people regularly. We’d never owned pets before and were gradually getting used to the quirks, personalities and behavioural patterns of these two little cats, when something strange happened.

We’d invested lots of effort in making sure our cats were happy and given plenty of attention, and this had been rewarded; they’d begun to trust us, and they’d demonstrated they were comfortable and felt safe and secure in our home. We were used to being brushed up against (one of them was particularly fond of rubbing his gums against EVERYTHING), especially when they were hungry, but one day we were greeted with something new. Our male cat wandered into the room and brushed up against a leg, then proceeded to flop over on his side, sliding down my leg until he laid on the floor sideways.

So why do cats flop?

First, some background. Ever tried rubbing your cat’s belly? Even just a gentle stroke? More often than not you’ll be greeted with a disapproving look and a brief swish of the tail as they wander off to find somewhere else to sit. A cat’s belly is it’s most vulnerable area, and they’re distinctly aware of this.

why do cats flop
Give that cat some treats!

How does this relate to the flop? Cats will flop in any situation where they feel relaxed. By exposing their most vulnerable area, they’re making the ultimate expression of trust.

So next time you’re busy doing something and your cat wanders in, brushes up against you then slides down your leg, flops onto their side and starts purring, give them a treat and some fuss. It’s the ultimate cat compliment!

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