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Do rabbits like being rubbed on the belly?

Why Do Cats Bunny Kick?

Cats are very adept at contorting their bodies, whether leaping from high surfaces or curling up into tiny spaces. One unusual move you may have noticed is the cat bunny kick, when they kick their hind legs at you, a toy or another cat. Why do cats bunny kick? For more reasons than showing off their martial arts skills, that’s for sure.

What Is a Cat Bunny Kick?

You’ll know a bunny kick when you see it, usually during playtime. Your furry friend will wrap their front two legs around the intended target (say, for instance, your arm) and, like a little thumper, will kick at the target with their hind legs. Cats typically perform this bunny-kick move when engaging in aggressive play or when they’re attacking their prey (i.e., your arm).

Why Do Cats Bunny Kick?

Although a bunny kick sounds cute, it’s a stealthy and potentially dangerous behavior.

Whether performed by a domestic cat roaming the rooms of a house or a big cat prowling the jungle, the cat bunny kick is both a tactical self-defense move and a hunting maneuver. When a cat is lying on their back with all four paws and claws on display — either in play or real-life battle — their opponent doesn’t stand a chance.

In the wild, cats use the bunny kick to capture their prey just before killing it. If you’ve ever seen a house cat catch a mouse or bird, you may notice this same behavior, but the cat doesn’t always kill the creature, particularly if they’re not hungry. In addition to bunny-kicking, cats may just toss the prey around in their paws for a bit.

Ginger kitty with blue eyes has paws wrapped around a cat toy.

Even if you and your feline friend are goofing off, the use of the bunny kick is an aggressive move. And cats are good at tricking their opponents into thinking they’re docile, particularly when exposing their belly. Your kitty may look at you as if to say, «Don’t you want to rub my soft belly?» and many times, they really do want a belly rub. But if they’re feeling feisty, they’ll clutch your hand the second you touch their fluffy fur.

Can I Anticipate a Cat’s Bunny Kick?

As a pet parent, understanding cat behavior is one way to tell the difference between relaxing or attacking. If their ears are flattened against their head or their pupils are dilated, your cat is ready to rumble.

The more time you spend with your kitty, the sooner you’ll discover their likes and dislikes. «Some cats don’t like their abdomens touched at all,» advises Cat Health, «and they will quickly become angry if you attempt to stroke them there.» Suddenly, a belly rub turns into an ambush. Your cat won’t hesitate to let you know when they’re unhappy.

Can I Reduce the Use of the Bunny Kick?

First, keep in mind that when your cat uses the bunny kick during playtime, they don’t intend to harm you, but even in times of peace, you can be scratched and/or bitten.

Second, the use of a bunny kick is instinctual for your cat. International Cat Care points out that up to this point in time, «only the best hunters were able to survive and reproduce, meaning that our pet cats today are descended from the most adept hunters.» A cat’s hunting instinct runs deep, and because the bunny kick is part of that ingrained behavior, you cannot stop it. But the good news is that you can redirect it.

One way to keep bunny kicks to a minimum is to refrain from participating in aggressive play with your cat. Roughhousing, such as using your hand and/or arm as a chew toy, is not a good idea because it encourages hostile behavior. Another way to discourage cat aggression is to provide your kitty with a stuffed animal (with or without catnip) that they can stalk and attack. (Your arm will thank you.)

When hanging out with your feline friend, cat bunny kicks can be all fun and games until you get scratched. Engage in positive playtime, such as with food puzzles or cardboard boxes, to keep the cat shenanigans to a minimum.

Contributor Bio

Christine O

Christine O’Brien

Christine O’Brien is a writer, mom, and long-time cat parent whose two Russian Blues rule the house. Her work also appears in, What to Expect, and Fit Pregnancy, where she writes about pets, pregnancy, and family life. Find and follow her on Instagram and Twitter @brovelliobrien.

How To Pet Rabbits

How to pet rabbits? Do rabbits like being petted? We have the answers!

On the contrary to a popular belief, rabbits do enjoy being petted gently. While sometimes they shy away from your hands or get aggressive when someone tries to touch them, they actually like it in a certain way. In fact, petting is the best way to calm down a stressed and anxious rabbit. Not just that, you can also strengthen your bond with your pet by showing affection and care.

how to pet rabbits

All you need to learn is the correct way of petting your rabbits so they feel safe and protected. In this article, we will discuss everything about petting and taking care of bunnies. This guide is going to be very helpful, so make sure to read it till the end.

How To Pet Rabbits Correctly

Rabbits are small and sensitive animals. They get anxious very quickly because of even the slightest change in the environment around them. Petting bunnies isn’t similar to petting a dog or a cat. You can’t simply approach them with your hand all of a sudden and give them a nice pat or massage on their back or chins. Don’t even try to do so, you may scare the little guy to a great extent. Bunnies need to be approached in a different way so that they don’t get scared.

  • 1. Make Sure Your Bunny Sees Your Hand

Before touching your rabbit, make sure they see your hand in a friendly manner. They shouldn’t find it scary or offensive. Before showing your affection towards your pet rabbits, it’s very important to understand how they see this world. For this, you need to study rabbit behavior.

“Did you know a rabbit almost has a 360-degree field vision”

However, their blind spot is just in front of their nose. This means, if you approach directly from the front, they’ll not understand what you’re trying to do and may get scared. Hence, always approach with hands from the sideways to above their heads.

If you’re a new rabbit parent and want to pet your rabbits for the first time, know that dominant rabbits display their superiority by getting in the face of fellow rabbits.

So, if you bring your hand directly in their face, they might get aggressive by misunderstanding you. Therefore, to prevent your pet from getting aggressive, always approach them from their head.

Perhaps the best spot to pet a rabbit is it’s forehead. It’s the safest way of petting rabbits. They LOVE being touched on their foreheads. While petting the forehead, you can give them gentle strokes using your fingers.

If your bunny is enjoying being petted on the forehead, the next step is to slowly move to the area behind their ears. It’s another favorite petting spot of rabbits.

You can give them little scratches behind their ears and down below the neck or simply massage gently using your fingers. If you do it in the right manner, you will notice that your pet is shifting its position to relax better whilst you’re massaging.

Try touching their ears, if they seem comfortable, then massage the ears with your thumb and fingers. Most people believe that rabbits have sensitive ears which is not true.

However, some rabbits enjoy ear massages while others don’t. So, before proceeding, make sure your pet is comfortable with you touching their ears.

Also, never put pressure on your bunny’s ears. Never try to stretch or pick their ears because it can be extremely painful. Sadly some inexperienced folks and kids pick the rabbit up by their ears, which is like a shock to the poor animal. So, learn how to hold a rabbit correctly and teach your kids as well.

If your rabbit seems to enjoy the strokes on their forehead and back portion of the ears, it’s time to relax them more by offering a full body massage. You can do this by gently patting their back and down.

Your bunny might startle a bit while receiving the massage for the first time, but with time, your rabbit will enjoy being massaged in this way.

To help your bunny getting started, begin by giving gentle and small strokes halfway on the top of their back. Do this by giving small strokes on the forehead and back of both the ears while offering some occasional pats on the back.

As your bunny gets comfortable, increase the length of stroke so they get used to it.

Once you find out that your bunny is enjoying the massages, slowly start touching all over the body. Give lengthy strokes, some gentle scratches in between and massage nicely to calm them down.

Most rabbits love being petted on their cheeks. But again, when you pet them on cheeks for the first time, they might get startled because they didn’t really expect it. But after one or two sessions, they will start enjoying it.

Don’t pet on their cheeks directly, instead first massage their forehead, scratch their back and then slowly rub their cheek using your thumb. Increase the frequency of cheek rubs once your bunny gets comfortable.

We recommend making your rabbit familiar with cheek rubs because it allows you to perform regular tooth examination of your pet. By touching their cheek, you also get a chance to look at their mount and teeth for any abscesses and bumps. By doing this, you can spot the overgrown teeth and start the treatment as soon as possible.

Areas Where Rabbits Enjoy Being Touched And Petted

A rabbit’s more favorite petting spots include forehead, behind the ears, back, head and cheeks. When you pat these areas, your bunny will become calm and relaxed.

Areas Where Rabbits Don’t Like Being Touched And Petted

In general, rabbits enjoy being petted for a long time. However, there are some areas they never want anyone to touch. And if you still do it regardless, you’ll be responsible for making your bunny uncomfortable and aggressive.

Rabbits don’t like their bottom (area around the tail to be touched) It is their most sensitive area.

When you try to touch the belly or chest of your little bunny, they will think that you’re being offensive and may scare off. They may even run from you when you do this.

Rabbits are different from puppies and cats, they don’t enjoy being touched on their chins.

Feet of rabbits are very sensitive spots. So, don’t touch them because if you do, they’ll assume that you’re attacking them and may run away.

How to know whether or not your bunny is enjoying being petted? There are some signs that show your bunny is actually enjoying the massage and scratches you’re giving. You can easily notice this from their body language and behavior.

Below are the signs that a rabbit is enjoying being petted :

Yes rabbits purr! Purring is when your bunny is slowly grinding their teeth making a light vibration. It’s a very soft sound that you may or may not hear. You can either notice this by looking at their vibrating whiskers or feel it by placing your hand above their head. If you’re hearing or feeling such vibrations, know that your rabbit is loving the way you’re touching them.

No…No don’t take it otherwise, melting means your bunny lies down very comfortably on the floor. If they’re enjoying your petting, they will stretch out nicely and lay their chin flat against the floor which looks like they’re melting.

Yes, you can actually determine whether or not your rabbit wants to be touched anymore. To know this, stop petting and place your hand anywhere on their head, preferably close to the nose. If your bunny nudges your hand or sits there in the same position, they want more of it.

As we already discussed, every bunny has their own set of likes and dislikes. While some of them enjoy being petted, others don’t like it at all. Some bunnies may run when you try to touch them. If you own a shy rabbit, first make them familiar with the friendly gestures.

Learn about rabbit behavior and try to be very gentle with your pet. Some rabbits hate being petted because of their past traumas, someone might have handled them roughly or aggressively.

“Be a responsible pet owner and make your pet feel protected and loved”

We have already said it multiple times that rabbits are not like other pets. They have different habits and behavior which you should learn and understand. It is very important to provide a healthy, long and happy life to your pet. So, learn about their diet, their natural habits, their behavior!

We hope this guide helps give you a good understanding of your pet rabbits and how they like to be petted.

Do Dogs Have Belly Buttons?

Have you even wondered “Do dogs have belly buttons?” while giving your dog a tummy rub? As it turns out, the answer is “Yes!” Dr. Bentley Richards, friend and colleague of integrative veterinarian Dr. Julie Buzby, explains how to find your dog’s belly button, what it should look like, and how to recognize signs of any potential problems.

Bernese Mountain Dog lying on belly outside, photo

Whether you have a 10-pound Chihuahua (like Dr. Buzby) or a 150-pound Bernese Mountain Dog (like me), it’s probably a given that your dog asks for belly rubs when he or she is feeling happy or playful. Exposing the belly is a sign of submission and acceptance in dogs. And it can mean that they are feeling especially safe and content in your presence.

Next time you’re rubbing your dog’s belly (and saying sweet things in that funny voice that we always reserve just for them), pay attention to how that puppy tummy feels and looks. If you’re looking closely enough, you should be able to spot your pup’s belly button! You may have never considered that dogs (and cats!) have belly buttons, but they do. And knowing a little more about them and their function can prepare you to spot any abnormalities that would warrant a visit to your vet.

Yes! Dogs have belly buttons!

You may or may not remember from science class that all mammals except marsupials have belly buttons (i.e. navels). Humans, cats, rabbits, dogs, even horses and cows, have belly buttons! This is because they are placental mammals (i.e. those that use a placenta to nourish the developing fetus). Animals that are born from eggs (i.e. oviparous animals) do not have belly buttons.

Shih Tzu lying down upside down, showing its belly, photo

The belly button is actually a small flat scar that marks the place where nutrients and oxygen were transferred from the mother’s womb (and placenta) to the fetus via the umbilical cord. After delivery, this connection is no longer needed. The umbilical cord is cut, broken, or chewed through by the mother. At this point, a short stalk remnant is attached to the puppy’s body.

If the puppies are born in a vet hospital, the vet may trim this stalk short and apply antiseptic to the end. Then he or she may tie it off with suture material close to the puppy’s body. Over the next few days, the stalk will dry up and painlessly fall off on its own. Sometimes the nursing mother then eats it (gross!). The scar left after the puppy loses the umbilical stalk is what we call the belly button or umbilicus.

Where is a dog’s belly button?

If you are looking for your dog’s belly button, it may be difficult to locate! Just like in people, belly buttons on dogs come in all shapes and sizes. They should always be on the midline of the belly, between your dog’s nipples. If your dog is particularly furry, like mine is, it can help to part the hair to either side so you can see the pale skin underneath.

You will most likely locate the belly button halfway between the base of your dog’s rib cage and the pelvis. Sometimes it will be easier to feel than it is to see. The belly button will be a fingertip-sized thickened spot, slightly raised or dipped below the skin surface. There may be a swirl of fur around it.

You will notice that dog belly buttons look and feel very different from a human’s. They will be considerably shallower and smaller—no room for belly button lint collection here! In fact, humans have one of the more prominent belly buttons in the animal kingdom. Most animals’ navels are more difficult to locate due to their discrete size and fur covering.

Shepherd mix puppy lying on her back with an arrow pointing to the dog

What should—and shouldn’t—my dog’s belly button look like?

Ideally, your dog’s belly button should look so much like the surrounding tissue that it is difficult to locate, even up close. Unless you are looking at the belly of a newborn puppy while the umbilical stump heals properly, the skin should be the same color or even a little paler than the rest of the belly skin.

However, if you notice that your dog’s skin in this region is red, dark brown, or black (i.e. any color that is not normal for your dog’s skin on the rest of the body), this can indicate problems such as:

  • Inflammation
  • Irritation
  • Infection
  • Chronic allergies (that might benefit from allergy medicine for dogs)

Examining your dog’s belly can be a very helpful way to spot the first signs of dermatitis, or inflammation of the skin. This is because the fur is less thick on the belly and the skin is easier to see. Dermatitis also often presents first on the abdomen before spreading to other areas. If you think the skin on your dog’s belly looks abnormal, please make an appointment with your vet.

Dog belly button hernias

In other cases, the skin around the belly button may appear normal, but the shape is not. If your dog’s belly button looks like an “outie” and is protruding above the skin surface like a knot or lump, it may be an umbilical hernia in dogs. A hernia occurs when the muscle layers under the skin develop a tear or window.

Sometimes hernias are present from birth due to the way that the fetus developed in utero. They can also occur later in life due to trauma. With a hernia, the skin is still holding the intestines (or other abdominal contents) inside the body. However, loops of bowel can poke through the muscle layer and become entrapped, cutting off their circulation. This is a surgical emergency.

Chihuahua puppy with an umbilical hernia being examined by a veterinarian, photo

If your dog has an “outie” belly button (which might actually be an umbilical hernia with or without trapped intestines), please get him or her evaluated by your vet as soon as possible. It is always best to promptly consult your vet about a dog belly button lump.

A belly rub plus a belly button evaluation

If you were to ask your dog how often he or she needs a belly button check, the answer would probably be “Ten times per day!” just to get the extra tummy rubs. However, being mindful of the anatomy and appearance of your dog’s belly button whenever you pet him or her is probably sufficient for monitoring purposes.

You can also add this into your routine tip-to-tail dog health and wellness scan. Any time you notice a change in your dog, be sure to ask your vet if treatment is required.

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