Whenever he's feeling especially relaxed, our own cat Sammy will lay on his back with his feet in the air and his belly exposed. We love it when he does this, and not just because it makes us laugh. It also makes us feel pretty certain that Sammy is happy here, because such behavior in cats is most often an expression of trust and contentment.
So it's really no surprise that most cats in a shelter environment don't expose their bellies. With so many unfamiliar animals, people, sights, sounds and smells, it must be difficult to feel comfortable enough to "let it all hang out." And that's why we're so amazed that there are presently multiple cats at PAWS who not only show their bellies, but who like to have them rubbed. We've written about two of them -- Neko and Socks -- before.
The third member of the club is Sherwood (pictured above). This handsome, black kitty (with small splashes of white on his chest and tummy) is about three years old. He is incredibly sweet, and that he trusts people and cats enough to expose his belly is astounding in light of his recent history. This poor little guy was found abandoned in the public bathroom (with a litter box) at Sherwood Island State Park. When he first came to PAWS, he was extremely frightened and rarely strayed from his hiding place under the desk of one of the shelter staff members. It wasn't long, though, before Sherwood's loving personality was on full display. Now he loves people, gets along well with the other cats in his "open" room and of course ... he loves his belly rubbed. :)
Perhaps Sherwood, Neko and Socks are a little more easygoing than most felines, or maybe they're just unfazed by life at the shelter. Or maybe ... they just like having their bellies rubbed. In any case, their behavior illustrates well something we've written about in past blog entries ... that all cats have different temperaments, behaviors and personalities. It's great fun to discover them all.