This is funny - I was just thinking about this the other day, wondering how cats got the reputation of hating to have their bellies rubbed! Of the 5 cats I've had, all but 1 have loved to have their bellies rubbed. They often will lay next to me when I'm watching TV and I'll just rest my hand on their belly. If I'm laying down, they'll rest their back against my chest and I'll hug them to myself with my hand on their belly. The first cat I owned didn't like it much, but she wasn't as cuddly as my other cats in general. She preferred to lay near me versus on me/touching me, whereas all my other cats like to be right up on my lap or touching me somehow. One of my cats even "weaponized" her belly - she knew I absolutely couldn't resist squatting down and rubbing it (it was soooo cute! ^.^ ) so whenever she wanted some attention and I was busy, she'd flop over in the middle of the room or hallway and expose her tuxedo belly to the sky. I had no defense for such an attack - even when I was running late, it always succeeded in its mission! lol
In addition to my cats, all the cats I've either baby-sat for or had close contact with (like my sister's cats) have liked belly rubs. So just the other day, as I was squatting down giving a belly rub to a visiting 4-year-old cat, I was wondering how cats got this reputation of attacking people who tried to rub their bellies!
I wonder if rubbing their bellies when they're babies helps them to like it or if it's just on a cat-by-cat basis, no matter what you do when they're little? My 1 year old cat used to bite me any time I tried to pet her at all, whether it was her belly or anywhere else. Now, however, she loves being petted - especially around her neck and on her belly.
The weaponized impossible-to-resist tuxedo belly:
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