Why Maine Coons Lay On Their Backs

As a Maine Coon Cat owner, you might wonder why do Maine Coons lay on their backs? In this article, I will show you 10 reasons for this quirky cat behavior.

Maine Coons sleep on their back when they feel happy, comfortable, and safe in the presence of their owners. A cat exposing its belly to you signifies trust, and that it does not fear being attacked by you. This submissive body position shows that your furry feline feels protected in your presence.

Have you noticed that your Maine Coon cat often falls asleep in some very bizarre Maine Coon sleeping positions?

After watching my own Maine Coon sleep on his back countless times, I decided to investigate whether this is a normal sleeping position for this giant cat breed.

In this article, we’ll look at all the possible meanings behind your Maine Coon lying on its back.

10 Reasons Why Maine Coons Lay On Their Backs

To start things off, let’s summarize the ten key reasons why a Maine Coon might lay on its back whilst sleeping next to its owners.

Some of these reasons below are less obvious, so keep reading to understand the cause:

  1. Happy
  2. Trust
  3. Aggression
  4. Playtime
  5. Comfortable
  6. Submissive
  7. Defensive
  8. Scratching
  9. Territorial
  10. Mating

Before we investigate these reasons further, why not watch our epic Youtube video of Pippin (our male Maine Coon cat) laying upside down in his cat bed!

1. Happy

Maine Coon cats lay on their back when they are happy, so take this Maine Coon body language as proof that your precious feline is feeling particularly contented.

Laying on their back is also thought to be comfortable for these big cats.

2. Trust

If your cat flops down and exposes its belly right in front of you, it’s telling you that it trusts you deeply. You should feel deeply honored by this!

A cat’s belly is softer and much more vulnerable than any other part of its body. Therefore, a cat showing you its belly is clear proof that they trust you enough to be defenceless around you.

3. Aggression

While a cat laying on its back is usually a sign of contentment or trust, it can also be a sign of aggression.

If your cat’s ears are flattened while it is laying on its back in front of you, your Maine Coon might be feeling agitated or angry.

4. Playtime

Maine Coons often lay on their back when they want to play!

To test if your cat is in a playful mood by putting a feather toy near your cat whilst it is laying on its back, you will quickly find out whether or not it is in a playful mood.

5. Comfortable

Cats rarely choose to sleep with their vulnerable belly so exposed.

However, in some cases, you might find that your Maine Coon becomes so comfortable lying on its back that it cannot help but fall asleep!

6. Submission

Your cat might be showing you its belly as a sign of submission. In this case, it means your cat trusts you and feels safe and protected in your presence.

7. Defensive Position

If your cat is feeling threatened, it might roll onto its back as a way to attack.

While lying on their backs, cats can attack with all four sets of claws, making it the perfect defensive position.

8. Scratching

Cats cannot exactly reach behind and itch their back whenever they want. Therefore you may notice your Maine Coon cat rolling on their back from time to time, trying to relieve an irritating itch!

9. Territorial

Cats are very possessive of their territory.

By lying on their backs and rolling around, cats can rub their scent glands all over the floor, marking it as their territory.

10. Mating

In some cases, female Maine Coon cats lay on their backs as a signal that they are ready to mate.

How To Read Your Maine Coon’s Body Language

As you can see, there are so many reasons why Maine Coons lay on their backs.

Determining the exact reason can be difficult at first, but do not worry as you will soon learn how to read your Maine Coon cat’s body language and behavior.

Here are some tips to help you figure out what it means when your cat is laying on its back:

  • Dilated Pupils: Dilated pupils are often a sign that your cat is ready to attack. If your cat’s pupils are larger than usual, give them some personal space!
  • Cat’s Ears Flattened: If your cat’s ears are flattened against its head, this is a sign of aggression or fear. We recommend that you leave your cat alone! Pricked and alert ears could also mean that your cat is wary, or it could be an indicator that your cat is in the mood to play.
  • Growling: If your cat is growling at you this is a sign that they are not in the mood for playtime or belly rubs!
  • Purring: Cats purr when they are content, or in pain. If your cat is purring whilst laying on its back and you do not suspect they’re in pain, it is likely your Maine Coon is in a good mood. However, this does not mean that your cat wants to be touched right now.

If you have not heard a Maine Coon purring, take a quick look at the Pippin purring loudly: Maine Coon Central Youtube

Things To Avoid

If your Maine Coon trusts you enough to show you its belly, here are some things you should avoid doing so that you do not break their trust.

1. Personal Space

Everyone has a personal space bubble, but it seems cats are even more finicky than humans when it comes to personal space.

If your cat trusts you enough to show you its belly, you should not break that trust by invading its personal space.

If your cat seems agitated when you get too close, back off until you are a safe distance away.

2. Sitting Above Your Cat

If you sit above your cat and bend your head over its body, your cat is bound to feel threatened.

Instead, you should lower your body so that you are on the same level as this will make your cat feel comfortable.

3. Rubbing Cat’s Belly

You are may be tempted to rub your cat’s belly, but beware that your cat might see this as a breach of its trust.

Check first if your cat wants to be touched, by offering your Maine Coon your hand to sniff.

Furthermore, if your cat seems okay with head pets, you can venture further by gently touching its belly.

Do Maine Coons Like Belly Rubs?

Not all cats like to have their bellies rubbed, but some cats love them! If you want to find out if your cat enjoys belly rubs, remember to take it very slowly!

Start by gauging whether or not your cat is in a good mood.

You can do this by putting your hand out and letting your cat sniff it. If they seem happy to sniff your hand, gently rub your Maine Coon cat’s head, or give them some chin scratches. If your cat seems to enjoy this, you can try rubbing its belly.

If your cat twitches away, lashes out, growls, or flattens its ears, it is time to back off.

You can always try again another day, but make sure you are always respecting your cat’s personal space.

Signs That Your Maine Coon Trusts You

When your Maine Coon lays on its back, this is one clear sign that it trusts you. Cats show their affection in many subtle ways though, so make sure you read on to discover some other clues!

Slow Blinking

When a Maine Coon cat slowly blinks at you, this is a sign of trust.

Slow blinking is when your cat slowly closes one or both eyes while looking at you. This is your cat’s way of saying “I trust you enough to have my eyes closed when I’m around you.”

Physical Affection

Another sign your cat trusts you is physical affection.

If your cat rubs up against you or head butts you, this is an obvious display of your cat’s love for you.

Kneading And Kitten Biscuits

Cats will also show trust through kneading, or “kitten biscuits.”

If your cat kneads your leg or a blanket near you, it is showing you that it is feeling very happy.

Kittens knead their mothers’ bellies to stimulate milk flow and kneading as an adult cat is a display of that happiness they felt during kittenhood.

Being Around You

Finally, cats show trust by wanting to be around you!

By following you from room to room, or curling up next to you to sleep, your cat is showing that it loves being around you.

Keep in mind that there are countless other ways cats can show their trust and love for their owners, and these are just a few.

By monitoring your cat’s body language though, we are sure you will be able to find more signs of your cat’s trust!


Many cat owners wonder why do Maine Coons lay on their backs?

While a lot of people assume that a cat will lay on its back to sleep, there are also many other Maine Coon sleeping positions that your cat might prefer!

Typically, a cat will lay on its back when it trusts you and is feeling happy, playful, or agitated.

While some Maine Coon cats like belly rubs, you should take time to gauge whether or not your cat wants to have its belly touched at any given moment, whilst it lays on its back.

Learning how to interpret your Maine Coon cat’s body language is a crucial stage in an owner’s life, which if done successfully can only help to deepen the bond you share with your furry companion.

1. Maine Coon Sleeping Habits

Maine Coons need a lot of sleep, which they get throughout the day. On average, a Maine Coon needs roughly 16 hours of sleep each day.

2. Where Do Maine Coons Like to Sleep?

Maine Coons are notorious for finding all sorts of odd places and positions for sleeping. While many cats enjoy hidden places, like underneath the bed, others prefer sleeping on the couch or the floor.

Maine Coon Central

Hello! My name is Katrina Stewardson, and I’m a CRAZY CAT LADY! I've been in love with the Maine Coon cat breed ever since we welcomed an adorable male Maine Coon kitten into our home 10 years ago. We called him 'Pippin', but he also goes by the name ‘Pipsteroo’! Our enormous, kind-hearted cat genuinely thinks he's a dog and has convinced me that cats are Man's True Best Friend! UPDATE: We recently adopted two 4-year-old male Maine Coon cats. They are named Mika and Bali.

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