Is your cat happy? How can you tell? Cats have very specific body language and voice signs that show their owners they are happy and contented.
There are lots of signs that show you if your cat is happy and contented in his life. Both indoor cats and outdoor ones will show the same signs of happiness and contentment. These range from how they greet you to how they cry or even how they eat. These signs of happiness are explored below in this article.
It’s a good idea to take these signs as a combination rather than in isolation.
25 Signs That Your Cat is a Happy Indoor Cat
Keeping an indoor cat happy is much harder than keeping an outdoor one happy because they are completely reliant on you and their immediate surroundings. It is really easy to mess up and miss something and as a result, your cat may not be happy. If you are giving them everything they need they will show you. Below is a list of things that show your cat is happy and content.
Please note however that sign of a happy cat can mean different things depending on other body languages they are combined with.
1. You Cat is Purring
When a cat purrs it is often a sign that they are happy and content. Cats can be very manipulative with their purrs though and it can also mean they are getting you to do things for them.
Cats also purr when they are stressed and ill so you need to look for other body signs if your cat is purring and it doesn’t look happy, or purring when you think that it shouldn’t be. Take it to the vets to make sure.
2. The Slow Blink or Cat Kiss
This is a favorite. If your cat is giving you cat kisses or the slow blink it’s a really good sign that they are happy and that they love you. This is more than just normal blinking. Blink slowly back and look away.
3. Do They Arch Their Back When Stroked
If when you smooth your cat they arch their back in response it usually means they are happy. Note though that if their fur is raised it means they are not happy.
Usually, as you put your hand down their back they will arch it to meet you until you get to the end near the tail. This is often combined with purring.
4. Does Your Cat Eat A good Hearty Meal?
If your cat is eating well and enjoying its food and has a good appetite it is a sign that it is happy.
However, if your cat isn’t eating or eating too much it can be stress or unhappiness or illness.
I don’t’ think you should jump to conclusions here though as there are many different reasons for a cat not eating all of their food. They may just have gotten bored with the taste. If your cat is completely off their food a vet check may prevent any worry.
5. Do They Make Vocal Sounds?
The sound your cat makes can indicate if they are happy or annoyed. Many cats will do a “Brrrup” greeting when they see you or just come into the room. This is very distinct, you can’t miss it is isn’t like any other cry they make.
Not all cats make this sound though so you may want to look out for another greeting sound if they don’t or can’t.
Also, the tone of your cat’s cries shows how happy they are as well. If it is high they are more content than if it is low and edgy.
When deciding this take into consideration their normal pitch as that will vary from cat to cat.
6. Is Your Cat Happy to See You?
If your cat is happy to see you they will come up to you and greet you, they may drop and roll, or cry and rub up against you.
Watch for this one though, cats can be aloof and may not show you any signs they are happy to see you at all.
Boos example: I get quite upset with Boo. My sister’s cat Scarab runs to see her drops and rolls, runs and purrs. My mum’s cat Willow does the same. Boo either totally ignores me or just strolls past me to the door to go out into the yard. I’m like “What have I done wrong? What aren’t I doing for you?” Cats are good at that, they make you want their approval. Of course, I haven’t done anything wrong (other than having actually left the house of course which is a capital offense in Boos eyes). Once he’s been outside for a couple of minutes he comes in then it’s all smiles and purrs then the lap – all is forgiven.
7. Is Your Cat a Social Sleeper?
If your cat is happy they will sleep with other cat family members (not all cats are social with other cats). Or they will be happy to spend time on your lap.
A caveat here, that some cats are much better lap cats than others so you need to know your cats lap tolerance levels. some will simply prefer to sleep near or next to you.
8. Does Your Cat Sleep A lot?
Cats can sleep up to 16 hours a day on average. Indoor cats will sleep longer than outdoor ones especially if they are bored and under-stimulated. If your cat suddenly starts to sleep longer and longer then there might be something medically wrong or they may be unhappy.
Check with your vets to make sure it isn’t a medical reason. Also, remember that older cats will also sleep more.
9. Does Your Cat Want to Play?
Cats of all ages usually want to play. It is part of their make up and can be an outlet for their hunting skills. Jackson Galaxy, the cat expert says that they will want to play before they eat as this is the natural order. (not verbatim). As cats get older they will want to play a lot less than the younger ones especially if they have arthritis or other illness that makes movement difficult. However, if they are showing no interest in play and are lethargic or not eating etc a trip to the vets will determine if it is medical or simply depression.
It may simply be that they are bored with the same toy or game, so try and change it up a bit.
Also, if your cat is new check out its breed as some cats are more playful than others. Also, if your cat wasn’t playing before you got them they may need time to learn and adjust.
10. Your Cat May Bring You ‘Gifts’
If your cat is happy it will bring you gifts. Outdoor cats will bring you dead mice and birds. Indoor cats can’t do that unless they have found something in the yard so they may bring you toys.
11. Relaxed Posture is A Sign Your Cat is Happy
Much of your cat’s communications will be body language. You can tell a lot by looking at your cat’s posture.
12. Do They Look Healthy?
For your cat to be happy they must also be healthy. With cats, it is often difficult to tell if they have an illness as they hide it by nature. But your cat’s general appearance is a telltale sign if it is well or not. His weight, hoo heavy or too scrawny, their fur, eyes looking clear and bright etc.
13. Is Your Cat’s Tail Up?
If your cat’s tail is up high and straight with a little curve on the end it means your cat is happy and confident. They are also in a friendly mood.
14. If You Notice Their Tail Vibrating
I love this one. If your cat’s tail is up straight vibrating it is because they are happy to see you.
I recently read that when this happens it is mostly negative. I have to admit I have only ever seen this when it is positive and it is usually combined with high pitched crying, general excitement and wanting to be around you.
15. If Your Cat Kneads
If your cat kneads either you or blankets or pillows etc, it is a sign of contentment and happiness.
16. Cats Should Be Confident and Show Interest in Their Environment
Cats are naturally inquisitive and should be interested in their environment and be a bit nosy on what is going on around them. It’s a bit like being nosy to their neighbors.
Examples: All our cats take note if someone is outside, heads up and checking the windows. This may simply be territorial but they are taking notice. They may show interest if you come in with bags or what people are doing etc.
They should also have confident behavior and not be too timid (some cats are naturally more timid than others so may need time and patience to grow)
17. Does Your Cat Interact With You?
If your cat likes to be around you and spend time with you or simply sit by you then it is a good sign they are happy.
Note: This can be very different for different cats. My previous cat Holly would barely ever sit on my lap for more than ½ hour, she would then sit near me or go to her bed. Boo, on the other hand, you can’t get off your lap.
If I move him to get up he is back on again before I can stand up. So it’s a good idea to judge this depending on your cat’s normal temperament and habits.
18. Relaxed Grooming
If your cat is settled and contentedly grooming itself it is happy.
19. Use of the Litterbox
If your cat is happy it will use the litter box, signs that your cat is unhappy is if it is peeing or pooping elsewhere.
Of course, this may also mean it is just unhappy with the cleanliness of the litter or that it is ill.
20. Is Your Cat a Snuggle Bug?
Cats that love you will want to be around you. They will greet you and intertwine themselves with your legs often nearly tripping you up. They will want to snuggle near or on you or just in the same room if they’re not as affectionate.
21. Cats Eyes
Of course, the slow blink has been mentioned, in addition to that, they have that half closed relaxed look with the eyes that shows they are contented.
22. Are Their Ear Angles Right?
Cats ears are very expressive. They swivel forward and back and sideways and tell you a lot about what your cat is thinking and their general mood. Ears forward and relaxed is a good sign your cat is happy, Straight ears mean they are alert. Again this is combined with other signs of body language.
23. They May Expose Their Belly
If your cat is sleeping with an exposed belly or rolling over and exposing their underbelly they are telling you that they feel safe and happy. Rub it at your peril though. Some cats do actually like having their belly rubbed while others will encase you in all four paws with claws and teeth!
24. Does Your Cat Head Bop You?
If your cat is happy they ill rub their head against you or bop you with it. This can be quite forceful depending on the cat.
25. Make Sure They Have Enough Stimulation
If your cat is happy to stare out of the window at outside activities they are usually happy as cats enjoy doing this and it keeps them entertained and their minds active.
A Final Note
This guide is a general overview of signs your cat is happy. It’s my view that it isn’t a good idea to take these signs in isolation though. Look at your cat’s overall body language and vocalization. The more you have tuned into it the better chances you have of keeping your cat happy.
For instance, if your cat is purring lying on your lap in a relaxed manner it is a good chance he/she is happy. But if your cat is crouching in a corner and purring there is a good chance they are injured or ill or not happy for some reason.
Does your cat have any special behavior they show you when they are happy? I’ds love to hear it in the comments below.