When we have a cat in our lives, we want to make sure they are happy and well cared for. Cats are known for their independent nature and how they are feeling might not always be obvious.
You try to give your cat the best life possible, but perhaps there are times when you can’t seem to figure out whether your cat seems happy. Read on to find out more about the signs of a happy cat and what you need to look out for.
How a cat is feeling might not always be obvious. Cats will express their happiness through their body language, vocalizations, and certain behaviors. Familiarity with signs of a happy cat makes it easier to spot when something might be wrong.
How a cat is feeling might not always be obvious.
Cats will express their happiness through their body language, vocalizations, and certain behaviors.
Familiarity with signs of a happy cat makes it easier to spot when something might be wrong.
Cats can purr when they are relaxed and content. But, confusingly, they can also purr when they are unwell or in pain so the context is important. If they are purring while settled in a comfortable position with their eyes gently closed, then you can be pretty certain that you have one happy cat. You might hear them purring away when you stroke them or when they are basking in a warm patch of sunlight.
Kneading, also known affectionately as “making biscuits,” is when a cat pushes rhythmically with alternating front paws against a person or an object while extending and retracting their claws. Seeing your cat do this is an adorable sight. They might also purr at the same time with their eyes half-closed.
This kneading motion is something they would have done as kittens to stimulate milk flow from their mother’s nipples. It is thought that they carry this behavior into adulthood and do so when they are in pleasurable situations.
3. Good Appetite
A happy cat will have a good, healthy appetite. They will look forward to feeding time and might show their eager anticipation by meowing and rubbing against your legs as you prepare their food. Once you have set the bowl down in front of them, they will happily eat what you have offered them.
4. Consistent Sleeping Schedule
Cats are known for loving their naps. They can spend up to 20 hours a day sleeping and resting! If your cat is happy, they tend to stick to a consistent sleeping schedule. Look out for any changes.
5. Well-Kept Appearance
Not only do cats enjoy sleeping for many hours, but they can also spend 50% of their waking hours grooming themselves. Grooming is serious business so a happy cat will always make sure they keep themselves in tip-top condition. An unusually unkempt coat can be cause for concern and signal an underlying medical problem.
6. Normal Toileting Habits
A happy and content cat will use their litter box, as they are usually exceptionally clean animals. If your cat is unhappy or unwell, they might alert you by showing unusual toileting behaviors, like peeing or pooping around the house. Identify any potential sources of stress or anxiety, and look out for other signs of illness.
7. Wanting To Play
A playful cat is a happy cat. They might be content playing on their own, batting, and pouncing on toys. Or they might need you to entice them with something interactive, like a wand toy. Playing is a great way for them to use their energy and reinforce the bond they have with you.
8. Showing Curiosity
A happy cat might show signs of curiosity and an interest in what is going around them. If your cat appears engaged with their surroundings, then that is a good sign.
9. Slow Blinking
You might have noticed your cat making direct eye contact with you and slowly blinking. This can be a sign of friendliness and an indicator of positive emotions. If they are also purring and have a relaxed posture, then they are conveying their contentment.
10. Relaxed Body Language
Learning to interpret your cat’s body language is a great way to find out whether they are in a good mood. If a cat is happy, they might stand with a relaxed posture or lie down and stretch out comfortably.
Their tail might be held upright with the tail tip curved, like a question mark. Their eyes might be gently closed and their ears in a neutral position, pointing up and facing forward.
11. Social Roll
Has your cat ever come up to you and suddenly rolled onto their back? This is a way for them to show their happiness and affection, and can also be a playful behavior. The belly is a vulnerable area so it takes trust for a cat to expose theirs. Bear in mind that it is not always an invitation for you to give them a belly rub, so a stroke of the head or a scratch behind the ears may be better options.
12. Seeking Your Company
Depending on your cat’s personality, they might seek out your company and want interaction with you when they are feeling happy. This might come in the form of coming to greet you with meows and an upright tail that is curved at the tip. Or jumping onto the sofa for cuddles. Head-butting you is also a great way to get your attention.
Happy Cats: Final Thoughts
Now, you should feel more comfortable with assessing the happiness levels of your cat. Your cat’s body language, vocalizations, and behaviors give you lots of information and indicators, though they can be subtle.
By having a better understanding of them, you allow yourself to become much more attuned to your cat’s emotions so that you can recognize when something might be wrong sooner rather than later.
Also Read: 5 Reasons Why Cats Like Shoes So Much
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if my cat is really happy?
Some signs of happiness can be subtle. Pay attention to your cat’s body language. Do they seem to be relaxed? Are they lying down with their eyes half-closed or gently closed? Listen out for steady purring.
Consider whether they are interested in interacting with you and/or their surroundings. Do they seem curious and engaged? A happy cat that has their basic needs met will also have consistent lifestyle habits when it comes to eating, grooming, and toileting.
How do you tell if a cat is getting comfortable with you?
You can tell if a cat is getting comfortable with you if they seek your company and want to interact with you more. They might rub against you or even try to groom you. When cats rub against (allorubbing) and groom each other (allogrooming), it allows for their scents to be swapped and to maintain a group scent. Cats can direct these behaviors toward people they feel friendly with.
What do cats look like when they are happy?
Happy cats will adopt a relaxed posture, whether they are standing, sitting, or lying down. They won’t appear to be tense or ready to spring into action. Their tail might be held upright with a curved tip or loosely down. Their eyes might be half-closed or closed gently without any tension. Their ears will be in a neutral position but might still move to pick up any noises.
Atkinson, T. (2018). Practical Feline Behaviour. Oxfordshire, UK: CAB International.
Humphrey, T., Proops, L., Forman, J., Spooner, R., & McComb, K. (2020). The role of Cat Eye narrowing movements in Cat–Human Communication. Scientific Reports, 10(1). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-73426-0.