a happy cat

12 Signs Your Cat Is Happy

A cat can’t physically tell you they are content, nor do they exhibit the same signs and body language a dog does when they’re happy. Cats can be independent, aloof, and a little standoffish at times but they have their ways of communicating to their owners that they are content and happy.

How to Tell if Your Cat is Happy

How do I know if my cat is happy? Well. There are a few ways you can tell if your cat is happy. Some are more subtle than others but generally, there are some clear indications. However, it’s important to understand that all cats are different and that some may be more affectionate than others. Below are 12 of the most common signs.

1. Purring

Purring is one of the most common telltale signs of a happy cat. And nothing makes a cat parent more joyful than having their kitten on their lap purring gently. Although not a lot is known about purring and why cats do it, it is commonly regarded as a positive sound. A cat purrs when they are enjoying a head scratch, anticipating a meal, or when they may be enjoying your lap as their napping spot.

In some instances, purring has been linked to feelings of anxiety, although when the sound is coupled with other body language queues you should be able to confidently define the meaning behind the purr.

2. Playing

Playing provides an outlet for your cat’s predatory instincts but it’s also a common indication that they are relaxed and contented in their home environment. A happy cat will often bat around and prey on their favorite toys and sometimes household items that you’d much rather them avoid. They may also play with other cats or pets in the house when feeling particularly mischievous.

Older cats may not show a huge desire to engage in playful activity but that doesn’t mean they aren’t happy or don’t want to. If you’re looking for toys to occupy your feline friend take a look at our best cat toys guide.

3. Kneading

Otherwise known as making biscuits, kneading is an adorable sign that your cat is stress-free and living her best life. You’ll find a cat does this before settling down to take a nap or before curling up next to or on you. Biscuit-making goes hand-in-hand with purring and half-closed eyes as they use their paws to knead their beds, pillows, or your lap.

Nursing kittens often did this action on their mothers to generate milk flow. It also helped relax the mother as they fed their babies. It is believed that when cats knead they feel safe, much like they felt when they were little and protected by their mothers.

4. Bunting

Although they do this to mark you with its scent, a cat rubs itself along you and nudges you with its head as a way of showing affection and is a sure-fire sign that she’s happy. She may be marking you as a territory but you’re her territory.

5. Slow Blinking/Eye contact

Much like humans, your cat’s eyes can tell you a lot about how they are feeling emotionally. When a cat has their eyes closed or partially closed, they are officially off duty and have let their guard down. With cats, and most other animals, intense eye contact can be considered hostile and an attempt at asserting dominance. So when cats blink slowly at you, they are ensuring you that they are not initiating a challenge and that they are comfortable and content in your presence.

Sitting/Sleeping Position

A relaxed cat will often rest with its eyes half-closed making it look as if they are ready to drift away to sleep. In conjunction with this, pay attention to how they are sitting or laying. If they are resting in a way where they have their paws tucked beneath them, otherwise known as being a ‘loaf’, they are contented and relaxed.

happy feline

6. Showing You Belly

This is a biggie. A cat’s stomach is a vulnerable area hence why they have a primordial pouch (the excess skin positioned over the stomach) to protect their organs so naturally, they are a little protective over it. That’s why cat owners should be honored when they see their kitty lie on its back with its belly to the sky. This is a definite way to tell that your cat is a happy cat.

On rare, very rare, occasions they may even let you gently pet their tummy for a few seconds before they release the claws. Some cats are naturally docile and trusting and will let you keep petting them although others will not. If you know your cat well enough you will be able to scope for sure whether they’ll enjoy a tummy rub or not.

7. They Spend Time With You

Many cats will not always come straight to the door as soon as you step foot inside however, they will often spend time in your presence. Some cats are particularly sociable and will like to nap or sit near their humans.

Naturally independent or aloof cats may like their own space but they will generally be comfortable in their owner’s presence and not be too quick to go elsewhere. Happy cats may also sleep in the same room, in the same bed as their owners.

8. They Have A Good Appetite

Happy cats have a healthy appetite. Not only do they look forward to their mealtimes but they enjoy their food too. Cats that are in touch with their natural instincts may not finish food straight away, but instead, consistently revisit their bowl to take a few more mouthfuls. When a cat is happy and content in their home they will finish the bowl and even lick it clean. Content cats may also be happy to eat alongside other felines or pets in the home.

9. They’re Healthy

Regular visits to the vet, a good diet, and looking after their basic needs will ensure that your cat is happy. Healthy cats are infinitely more likely to be happy at home. When they are not chasing toys, practicing their parkour skills, or lounging around with not a care in the world it’s time to act.

10. They Use Their Litter Box

An emotionally happy and contented feline will use their litter box efficiently and even cover their poop afterward. They may even be lenient during those times where you forget to scoop out their previous mess.


If you’re doing everything in your power to make sure your cat is happy and still find they are not using the litter box, it may be worth taking a trip to the vet. Often, cats will go outside of their box as a way of communicating that something is wrong physically/medically.

11. Grooming And A Healthy Appearance

A healthy and carefree cat will radiate happiness on the outside too. Felines are clean animals and prefer to be so. Regular grooming is the sign of a happy cat as they are specifically taking the time to let their guard down to give themselves a good ol’ bath.

Another good sign is when a cat grooms in front or around you. A comfortable and happy cat will be more than ok becoming less vigilant to take the time to look after itself in your presence. A cat that stops grooming is a cause for concern and should attend a check-up with its vet.

12. The Telltail

The position and movement of their tail can also be a sign of whether or not your cat is in a good mood. An aggressive, twitching tail is a sign of an upset or volatile cat. A tail that is particularly puffed out is a sign of a wary or cautious cat.

An Upright Tail

Accompanied by a relaxed posture a happy cat will have a tail pointed upward. Similarly, this can be a sign that your cat is curious or ready to play.

Other Signs Your Cat is Happy

For some cat parents, felines aren’t the most affectionate creatures to exist and may leave them questioning ‘is my cat happy?’. The good news is that your cat will still have some revealing indicators to tell you whether they’re feeling happy or not.

  • Some cats meow or chirrup at the sight of their humans.
  • Other cats may gift their home with presents (in the form of small other animals) is another sure sign that your cat loves you
  • A happy kitty may also groom their owners in addition to themselves.
  • Another sign of a happy cat can be when they frequently explore their surroundings whether or not they’ve changed recently.

If you were ever unsure, hopefully, you have a better understanding of how to spot the signs of an unhappy or happy cat. Bear in mind that a cat will feel happy depending on its surroundings and treatment. If they are loved, fed, and comfortable it will surely be a happy cat. Although a few treats won’t go amiss. Another helpful article can be found here, regarding how cats show affection to their loved ones.

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