As a cat owner, I learn something new every day. I have two kitties, Pearl and Ziggy, and trust me, having them as my roommates is a blessing, but they also stress me out sometimes. That usually happens when their behavior seems unusual. So yesterday, I spent the whole day wondering, “Why do cats flop?”
Yes, yes, it looks cute, but you can’t help but ask yourself if it’s a move that every cat does, or if your fluffy buddy is trying to tell you something. Cats are one of the most playful animals in the whole world, but since we love them so much, we can’t just sleep peacefully without finding the answers to our questions.
If you’re here, then it means you’re just like me. You probably enjoyed looking at how cute your kitty looks when she flops. But then it hit you, and you started worrying because you don’t know the reason behind that move. Is she dancing, playing, or relaxing? Or is there something wrong with her?
Luckily for you, I already found the answers and I’m here to share them with you.
Why do cats flop? 10 actual reasons
Before we even go into details, there’s something I want to tell you. I know you’re reading this because you’re stressed out, but there’s no need for that. Almost none of these explanations are a reason for concern.
I hope that you feel a bit more relaxed now and that you’re ready to finally find out what’s your kitty’s motive behind flopping. Enjoy this quick cat lesson.
1) Your kitty is playful
Here’s something everyone knows, kitties love their playtime. Yes, yes, they adore sleeping too. But when they’re awake, there’s nothing they’d rather do than eat, explore, and play. I like to compare my Pearl and Ziggy to little children, as they really have some similarities.
Kids also like to eat (well, at least the food they want, not the one they really need), play, and explore random places in their homes. However, there’s one big difference between them. And it’s the fact that kids can at least try to tell you what they want, but kitties don’t speak our language.
Who knows, maybe they’re really trying to talk to us but we can’t hear that frequency. Maybe they even think we aren’t really the brightest bulbs in the box because we don’t respond to them. And then they feel forced to do something that will show us what they really want.
Just like every other cat owner, when you get home from work, the first thing you do is cuddle with your kitty for a few moments. But, of course, you need to take a shower, get changed, eat something, or answer the messages that have been blowing up your phone the whole day.
However, that’s something your kitty wasn’t expecting. She waited the whole day for you to come back home so you can finally play together. And she’ll most likely show you that by flopping next to you and giving you that sweet look.
2) She wants your attention
We all get lonely sometimes, don’t we? Even if you’ve just spent the whole day surrounded by your favorite people, our minds like to play tricks and make us believe they don’t really like us. So you go to bed feeling lonely and wondering if all your friends secretly hate you.
Well, just like we get sad sometimes and wish there was someone to give us the attention we need, our kitties can feel the same way, too. When you go to work or you plan a special date with your partner, the time passes quickly for you. But your fluffy roommate doesn’t feel that way.
She’s waiting for you to come back home so you can finally play or cuddle again. But you’re sometimes too tired and you don’t pay much attention to her. And that’s totally okay, it happens to all of us. But, since you can’t really tell your kitty that you’re just tired, she’ll do everything to grab your attention.
So, why do cats flop? One of the most common reasons is because they want you to notice them! She misses you, and she just had a lonely day. So the cure for her negative feelings is a drop of your attention. If you’re too tired to play, just cuddle together and both of you will feel much better. I promise you that.
3) Your cat is spreading her scent
We’re all familiar with how cats communicate with their scent. Yeah, we can also smell someone’s nice perfume, or even remember people by the fabric softener they use the most. However, cats’ sense of smell is 15 times stronger than ours!
So kitties use their scent to become kings and queens of their territories. Once they establish their ownership, no one will touch their favorite places. But that’s not everything you need to know. Your cat doesn’t only mark the places around your house, she does the same on people and animals she loves.
You can’t smell the pheromones that she spreads, but if you see that your cat flops near you and decides to roll around on the floor, you should know that she’s probably trying to spread her scent. Who knows, maybe she saw another cat nearby and got scared that she was gonna steal her fav spot.
So your fluffball was like, “Oh, I better mark my territory before it’s too late. I have such an amazing roommate and the food is so delicious. I gotta keep it safe!” It’s nothing you need to worry about, she’s not preparing for a fight. Instead, she’s trying to avoid it by letting other cats know what’s out of their reach.
4) She’s in a good mood
Let’s be real, what’s one of the scenes that we can see in almost every rom-com ever? A girl dancing and singing around her house because she just got invited on a date!
Well, it’s obvious she’s in a good mood, but it would be too weird if she just looked at the camera and said, “Dear fans, my character’s in a good mood.” That’s why they added some special moves that can help us conclude that the main character is feeling amazing at the moment.
At first, those dance moves and the (not so beautiful) singing might seem cringe or weird, but when you think about it, it’s actually something most of us do from time to time. And we shouldn’t be so surprised to see our pets do the same thing.
Well, of course, your kitty won’t sing the new album Harry Styles has just released, or do the new TikTok dance challenge. But she’ll show that she’s in a good mood in her own way. And one of them is to just flop near you, so you can notice it, and share the positive vibes together. Such a cool roommate, right?!
5) Your kitty is saying, “Heyy, it’s time to pet me!”
So, why do cats flop? Many of them do it because they can’t just come to you and ask, “My dear roommate, did you forget it’s my petting time?” So instead of that, your cat needs to figure out how to convey her wishes without actually talking to you. She probably tried that, too but realized you don’t meow.
All of us need and like cuddles. It doesn’t have to last for a long time, but hugging someone brings so many positive vibrations into our lives. No matter how long it lasts, it has the power to turn the worst day into the best one. How? Because at that moment, we realize that we’re not alone and someone cares!
Your kitty needs your love too. And her petting time is just like your cuddling time. It doesn’t have to last for a long time, but it needs to exist. When she’s ready for it, or she needs it because she’s been feeling blue, she’ll come to you and flop somewhere near so she’s sure you can see her.
If you notice that, put her next to yourself and show her that you didn’t forget about the petting time. You’ll see how happy and cute she’ll be, and that will make your day better too!
6) She’s trying to cool down
It feels like the whole world is burning because of how hot it is outside, but you still have to go to work. And the only thing you wish for is to have some kind of sun protection (and no, not just sunscreen) that will help you cool down. But unfortunately, there’s no such thing…yet. Sound familiar? Yeah, I thought so.
We are not the only ones who suffer during those insanely high temperatures. But imagine how hard it must be for all those animals who have fur. It’s like you’re always wrapped in a warm and fluffy blanket.
However, cats found something that helps them cool down a bit when the temperatures become unbearable.
It’s rolling around in the dirt! Yes, you read it correctly. Even though they are the cleanest animals in the whole world, they still like to put dirt on themselves?! Yes, but why? Because the dirt that will stay on their fur will protect them from directly facing the sun.
Dogs do a similar thing when they see a puddle, but cats are not the biggest fans of water, so they had to figure something else out. And they did, and they did their marketing jobs pretty well since almost every cat does the same thing when it’s too hot outside.
7) Your cat might be in heat
Another possible answer to “Why do cats flop?” might be that they are in heat. But how to know whether that’s the reason or not? If your kitty rolls on her back in front of other cats, especially some that she hasn’t met before, then it’s likely she’s in heat.
However, this can only be applied to cats who are unspayed. If she does this in front of another cat, it might mean that she’s signaling to other male cats that she’s ready to mate. One more thing that usually goes hand in hand with this is increased vocalization.
Cats who are in heat usually spend a lot of time meowing, crying, or yowling. But that’s all just a part of their performance to grab the attention of male cats that are near them.
During that time, your kitty might also become more affectionate. So she’ll come to you hoping for some petting time or at least just chilling next to you. You might also see her rubbing her face on things because she wants to spread her scent so her potential mates can notice her more easily.
8) She’s cleaning herself
I know it sounds weird, but cats actually sometimes roll in dirt in order to clean themselves. How does getting yourself dirty helps you get cleaner? At first, it sounds worse than the most complicated Math problem ever. But some long-haired cats can benefit from a little dust shower.
The bits of the dirt they’ve rolled in can rub off other bits of dirt that got stuck somewhere in the deepest layers of your kitty’s fur. And when they’ve cleaned those parts of themselves, they will easily get rid of the new dirt by using their tongue before it travels somewhere deeper.
It also helps them get rid of any parasites. Since the ground is much bigger than your feline’s tongue, more area is being rubbed at the same time and fleas and parasites don’t have enough time to jump to a safer spot. Instead, they will be kicked out of their new home.
9) She’s trying to escape the comb
Every cat owner knows that cats hate combs! They even make them gag and there’s nothing they wouldn’t do to escape it. When your kitty sees you coming towards her and carrying it in your hand because you decided it’s a good day to brush her fur, she’ll definitely try to escape.
She knows that running away from you won’t be very effective because she’ll have to stop at one point. And when she does, you’ll still be waiting for her with that scary, disgusting comb in your hand. So what’s her response? Your cat will flop and roll on her back because that’s the part you were intending to brush.
And when you try to move her, she’ll probably just roll on her back again. Even though they sometimes do some really weird things that don’t have any special explanation behind them, they can still be very intelligent when it comes to their own protection. And this is one of those moments.
I’m sure you’ve already heard about all the crazy effects that catnip can have on cats. It all happens because of the chemicals that are found in nepetalactone. Most commonly, it makes your kitty become more playful, but sometimes it can also make her flop over and roll until it mellows out.
Even if you don’t have the plant anywhere near, there are so many products in your home that actually contain catnip. And for some mysterious reason, even some cat toys have it! Luckily, it’s nothing serious and it passes quickly.
However, if you’re sure that it was because of the plant and the contact between your cat and it lasted for a long time, it’s best you contact your vet. He can give you the best advice and you won’t have to spend another night worrying about something you shouldn’t have worried about.
See, there was nothing to worry about! Your kitty is just a playful little pet who would really like to talk to you, but unfortunately, there’s no Lingua Franca for the two of you. However, cats are warriors and they never flee from battles. Instead, they will fight to get what they want!
So the best answer to “Why do cats flop?” is “Because they want to tell you something, and they need you to pay attention to them.” I hope you feel better now because there’s nothing alarming going on. Even if you figured that it’s about catnip, it’s still a solvable problem. Enjoy your worry-free night!