Beware the Exposed Belly

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One of the first things Hank does when you get home is run to his bed (the guest bed that he thinks is his) and flip onto his back with a sweet meow.  You can’t help but be enticed by the soft fur and the clear invitation to rub his belly.  But the second you do, he switches to attack mode and grabs your hand with both paws, pulling it to his mouth for immediate gnawing.  If you resist, his back paws get into the game, scratching you with a quick shredding motion.  I’ve learned to be strategic about petting Hank.  First, it’s best if he’s on his feet, that way his paws are otherwise engaged.  If he drops to the ground onto his back, you can usually get him back up with a quick scoop under his butt.  If he stays down, you’ll need both hands.  That way you can wave one hand safely above him as a distraction while you use the other hand to pet his side or belly.  When he realizes you are petting him and goes to bite the other hand, switch sides and wave the other hand above him, just out of reach. He must have abs of steel from all the crunches he does trying to reach you.  Sometimes, the draw to rub his belly is too great, so I sacrifice my hand to the bites and hooks of his claws in order to get a few seconds of softness.  Just be careful if you do it…it’s not always easy to get your hand back.


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