15 Signs Your Cat Is Happy
Every cat owner wants to make sure they have a happy cat.
We give them toys, they play with the box. And like every cat owner, it can be hard to tell if they are happy.
One minute they’re rubbing up against you, the next they’re hiding in the closet. They like to do things on their terms only.
With all this mixed messaging, how can you tell if your cat is truly happy?
While all animals are different, the following behaviors and body language signals usually indicate your cat is most likely happy and, more important, healthy.
1. A Friendly Cat
Let’s start with the most obvious.
A friendly cat is the easiest way to tell if your cat is happy. Happy cats enjoy positive interactions with their owners and other people in their environment,
There are a lot of signs that your cat is friendly with you..whether it be their tails, their body language, or a few other things that I will mention here later.
2. A Relaxed Cat
Next to continue onto a friendly cat is if you cat seems relaxed. A relaxed cat is likely free from stress, fear, and anxiety.
If your cat is “loafing”, laying with their feet tucked into their body, or if they are comfortable being out in the open…chances are they are relaxed and happy.
I do want to call out that if your cat is not relaxed, that isn’t not a sign that your cat is sad or unhappy.
There can be many reasons why a cat can be stressed out. And if that is the case, make sure you look for the other signs that your cat is happy. If not, then see what you can do to make your cat more relaxed in their home.
3. When They Purr
Why Do Cats Purr? While you can read the entire article about purring above, purring is often a sign of affection and happiness.
If your cat purrs while snuggling with you on the couch, it’s likely a sign they happy and content. Especially if they are purring while you are petting them are while sitting near you.
4. A Happy Cat Is Happy to See You
I need to give you a SUPER fair warning about this one. This is not common for all cats.
However, if your cat is happy to see you when you get home then it is a pretty solid sign that they are happy.
When I was going into the office, Phoebe would RUN to the door when I got home, tail twitching, and meowing at me. She would plop down and wait for me to pet her and once my shoes were off, she would follow me into the living room.
But remember, not all cats are like this. Out of my now four cats, we only have two that do that. And one of which only does it when she hears my husband talking as he walks through the door. (She’s a daddy’s girl that’s for sure).
5. Rubbing on You
As I mentioned earlier, when I came home, Phoebe would run to be and rub up against me until she eventually plopped down on the ground.
When your cat rubs against you, they are marking you as their territory. I like to think of it as the seagulls in Finding Nemo, ‘Mine! Mine! Mine!’. They want you and the world to know you are their person.
6. They Will Make Biscuits
Kneading or “making biscuits” is a sign of relaxation in cats. Often times you will see them making biscuits on soft blankets or cushions as they are getting ready to lay down for a nap.
If you are really “lucky” sometime they will make biscuits on you. And the “lucky” is because trust me, I know it hurts. But that just means they love you!
When cats knead objects, they are recreating a neonatal behavior. Kittens would knead on their mothers bellies to get the milk they needed. So they associate kneading with the feeling of warm milk and a fully belly.
And if they are kneading you, chances are they see you as their momma and are recreating the motion of getting milk.
7. A Clean Kitty, and Even A Clean Owner
A clean cat is a happy cat. If you notice a cat is not grooming themselves, or their coat is dirty and matted, they may not be happy.
They could be emotionally sad, or have an illness. But most cats like to keep themselves as clean as possible at all times.
In some cases, you cat can even groom you. When your cat licks you, it is their way on considering you a member of their pack. And in doing so, they want to keep your fur clean and groom you as well.
I always joke when my cats lick up that they are trying to “clean us” because we are “dirty”. And by “dirty” most of the time we just got out of the shower.
You win some, you lose some.
8. They Show Interest in Their Environment
This one is very similar to the relaxed cat with some additional notes to add on.
Happy cats are curious. If your cat is interested in exploring their environment, they chances are they are happy.
Even more, if you cat is interested in exploring NEW environments, it shows not only that they are happy, but that they trust you.
The biggest example I like to use is my parents’ house.
We take all the cats to my parents’ house when we go visit them from time to time. The cats initially are put in the basement but there are stairs for them to come up and explore when they want to.
Watching our kitties sit on the steps curious about this new environment is so rewarding. Especially when they jump up on the couch and lay down like they are at home.
9. A Playful Kitty
Every cat is unique. And every cat will want to play differently.
However, engaging in playtime is one of the most reliable signs of happiness.
All cats will play differently, but a happy cat will get that little spark in their eyes when they want to play. Sometimes it is with you, sometimes with other cats.
And if yours are like our cats…oftentimes it is a box or an earplug. Yes, you read that correctly.
Sometimes it is more about finding which toys your cats like to play with once you know they are wanting to play.
10. It’s All in the Eyes
Cat 101 is the eyes. This is one of the first things I bring up when people talk about finding a cat, or getting a cat to like them.
When cats slow blink, it is their way of telling you that they trust you. My mom likes to call them “I love you” eyes.
If your cat slow blinks at you, it is a sign they are happy and trusting.
In addition, a cat resting their eyes half closed shows she is relaxed and doesn’t feel threatened.
11. Show Me the Belly
Cats are very different than dogs in a lot of ways.
One way they are not different is showing their bellies. Cats and dogs will roll on their backs and show their bellies to their humans. In both cases, this means they are happy with you and trust you.
Where cats and dogs are different is in one major area. Dogs show their bellies because they want you to rub that area.
Cats show their bellies as a vulnerability act of kindness. If you try to rub it though, you could be asking for a slight cat attack. (And by cat attack, they could bite your hand..nothing crazy).
Every cat is different. We have some cats who love their bellies rubbed, and others that scratch up our hands when we try. But in most cases, showing a belly is a trust signal.
They Have a Good Appetite
A healthy appetite means kitty is in a good mood.
If your cat is stressed or scared, then they probably don’t feel safe enough to eat. If your cat comfortable eating, or even has a schedule when they WANT food, they it is a good sign.
Your kitty trusts that you will protect them while they eat, and that the food you provide is what they need.
13. A Kitty Who Uses Their Litter Box
Happy cats use their litter box. Simple as that.
And, believe it or not, it’s also usually a good sign if they dash out of the litter box after doing their business. (I had to do a lot of research on that a few years ago…I was so confused when my cats would do it
Leaping out of the litter box could be a sign of their enthusiasm and pride.
If they are not using the litter box, chances are they don’t feel safe or are anxious about something. Worse, it could be a sign of a health issue.
If you notice your cat suddenly going outside of the litter box, and it is clean, contact your vet right way.
14. They Raise Their Tail When They See You
In my post, understanding your cat’s tail language, I go into much more detail about this. But a raised cat’s tail is one of the most obvious signs that you cat is happy to see you.
A raised and curled tail is a friendly tail and it means they see you as something that makes them happy. A puffed lowered tail is a sign of fear and anxiety.
15. They Like to Sleep (But Not Too Much)
A cat who sleeps an appropriate amount of time for her age is content.
Sleeping too much could also be a bad sign. Like humans, cats may use sleep as a coping mechanism for dealing with boredom, loneliness, sadness, or depression.
I will use my cats again as an example of this. A few weeks ago we noticed Phoebe was starting to sleep more than normal.
She seemed fine when she was away and had interest in all things above. I realized she was bored with her toys that she had in the house.
And with the weather warming up, she was itching to get outside and sniff around. (Before I get any comments, she goes outside supervised in a safe area where she cannot run off. She just likes to lay in the grass, and feel the sun.
If you notice your cat is a typically happy cat but they are sleeping more than normal, try mixing it up. Get a new toy, try getting them a harness and taking them outside. (Only if it is safe and the harness has been tested).
Each cat is different and even more, you know your cat better than any of us do. So sometimes, a parent just knows if their pet is happy.
You’re doing a great job! Keep at it!