Feline Wellness

How to Tell if Your Cat is Happy

February 15, 2024

Life may seem to be quite easy for cats. Sleeping most of the day, getting fed on demand, basking in sunbeams… but have you ever wondered if your cat is truly happy?

Just like humans, cats show their feelings through appearance, body language, and vocalizations. Happy cat vocalizations are generally more high-pitched than those of an unhappy cat. Cats may chirp, trill, and chatter when they are content. Meowing is another sign of a happy cat since cats mostly meow at humans and not at other cats. If your cat is feeling talkative, they are probably quite content with you.

And, of course, cats will likely purr when they are feeling particularly joyful. When a cat is really blissed out, they may accompany their purring with some kneading. “Making biscuits” is a sign of extreme serenity since it’s reminiscent of a kitten kneading on their mother while nursing. Peeking their little tongue out is another great sign of a truly blissed out kitty because their facial muscles need to be relaxed in order to “blep.”

Content cats also take care of their appearance and keep themselves well groomed. Their fur will be sleek and in place and free of leftovers of their last meal. Happy cats may also groom their cat friends and sometimes even their humans. Similar to how orangutans groom their friends and family, social grooming builds a bond between groomer and groom-ee and indicates a strong relationship. 

Happy cats like to play. They enjoy interacting with others and with their toys. They like trying new things and feel stimulated during playtime. Getting the zoomies, wrestling with their siblings, or solving a food puzzle are all signs of a content kitty. 

Once they’re all tuckered out, where and with whom your cat sleeps is another indication of their happiness. Sleeping makes a cat vulnerable to predators so if they choose to spread out across the couch or - better yet - cuddle up in bed with you, they trust you and feel safe in your home. Relaxed cats often sleep in the loaf position with their paws tucked underneath them. This makes them appear unthreatening (and also extremely cute). They may also stretch out or even sleep belly up, which is a particularly vulnerable position, indicating they feel confident and secure in their environment.

Happy cats like to eat. Next time your furry friend keeps meowing for dinner time, remember that means they trust you. Weaving around your legs and rubbing against you while you prepare their wet food is another sign of a very happy - and hungry - cat.  

Happy cats use their litter box. Not using the litter box properly can be a sign of stress, illness, or fear so a cat who uses the box as expected is feeling good, both physically and emotionally.

Happy cats enjoy being with their humans. Sitting on your lap (or your laptop), napping beside you, or following you around the house are all pretty obvious signs your cat is happy to be hanging out with you. Rubbing their cheeks on you and slow blinking at you are more subtle ways your cat can communicate their affection. Cats have scent glands in their cheeks so they are essentially marking you as theirs when they rub their heads and faces against you. HOW SWEET IS THAT. When your cat slow blinks at you that indicates they feel safe and loved, so make sure to slow blink right back at them! 

Healthy cats are happy cats so remember to take your cat for their annual vet exam and feed them high quality food. You can even try adding some supplements to their diet. Health and happiness go hand in hand. 

If your cat has room for improvement in the happiness department, try to engage with them more. Keep them stimulated and introduce new toys or games to spice up their day. While cats do enjoy a good routine, you may need to get them out of a rut so they can reach their ultimate level of happiness. Catnip, anyone?

Love, Nala