Happy grey cat with owner finger

Is my cat happy?

© Unsplash

10 crucial signs that your cat is truly happy and contented

By Zoë Monk Content Writer

Updated on the

There is something wonderfully comforting about a happy cat. As they curl up on your lap, purring gently, you won’t find much else that can make you feel quite as calm and peaceful. As a cat owner, you will want to ensure that your cat is happy at all times. But while purring is a good sign that your feline friend is happy and contented, there are some other not so obvious signs that you have a happy kitty.

Each cat is individual, with their own unique personalities and will show their happiness in different ways. But just like us, cats express how they feel through their body language and vocalisations while using many different parts of their body to show us just what they are feeling.

What are some signs that a cat is happy?

1. The way your cat greets you

You can tell that your cats feel happy by the welcome they give you when you wake up in the morning and come downstairs to give them breakfast. When you come home from work and they come running up to meet you. Cats express themselves with their body language. When they are happy to see you, they will show you with erect ears, a straight upright tail and by their ears, face and body around your legs.

2. Your cat’s vocal cues

Cats meow of course, but they make all sorts of different noises. Whether they want a cuddle, to ask for food or to tell you that they want to go outside. There are also very particular noises cats make when they feel happy and content. The lovely purring sound they make is generally a good sign that they are happy. The higher the pitch of the sound a cat makes, the happier they are likely to be feeling. Lower pitched meows can often indicate that a cat wants something or is frustrated.

3. How your feline sits or lies down

You can tell a cat is unhappy when they won’t settle or don’t seem to get comfortable. However, a relaxed and happy cat will have their feet under their body, their front paws tucked in and their eyes half-closed. Their eyes being half-closed is a positive sign that your feline friend is happy and they don’t feel at all threatened. When a cat lays on their back with their legs in the air is also showing that they are a happy cat.

4. Settling on your lap

Cats often show you that they are content and happy in subtle ways. But when they come on to your lap and curl up that’s a good sign that your cat is feeling happy. Your cat may also use their paws to knead your lap, just like it was kneading dough. This relates to when they were kittens and what they did on their mother’s teat to encourage the milk. It’s a clear sign of pleasure, contentment, happiness and trust.

5. Confident and content behaviour

A cat that is feeling confident will hold their head up and take an interest in the world around them. They will show their curiosity by twitching their tail from side to side and opening their eyes wide. They show interest in everything they come across, even if they just sit and observe everything quietly. It shows that they feel confident in their life with you. Relaxed whiskers and ears facing forward are also good signs that your cat is feeling contented.

Absolutely beautiful cat, and looking really relaxed ©Unsplash

6. Playful behaviour

Cats show that they are feeling happy by displaying their sense of fun and interacting in playful ways with you as well as other pets in the home that they like and trust. They may lie on their side and twitch their tail and it shows that they feel bonded with you. Cats will also merrily chase after a ball of paper, string or the light from a laser pen. Cats don’t really need expensive toys, it’s the interaction that makes them happy.

7. Having a healthy appearance

How a cat looks is a good indicator of how a cat is feeling. When they feel happy then they will keep themselves clean and well-groomed. They may also groom other cats, pets in the home or even their owner. This is their way of expressing their happiness and trust. If they feel unhappy, they will likely stop grooming and start to look scruffy.

8. Sociable sleeping

Cats tend to spend a lot of their lives sleeping, around 70% of their lives is spent snoozing, equivalent to between 13 and 16 hours a day. But when a cat is unhappy, they will often hide away and sleep for a lot more than normal. Happy cats however, don’t sleep as much and will deliberately choose where they sleep. When they are relaxed, they will choose to sleep socially, whether it’s curled up next to you on the sofa or with other cats or pets in the house.

Someone is enjoying their snooze ©Unsplash

9. A healthy appetite

Cats will ask you for food by rubbing themselves around your legs while meowing. They may even lead to you to their food bowl. In their own way, they are telling you that they understand that you are the person who looks after them and they trust you. While cats are clever animals who will often have their owners trained to give them treats, this behaviour also shows that they trust you and that your cat is happy and content.

10. Giving you presents

Whether you like it or not, bringing in ‘gifts’ for you is a real sign that your cat loves you and is happy enough to want to share their hunting bounty with you. It could be a dead mouse, pigeon or even a frog. It may not seem like it but they are actually paying you a huge compliment and showing you their trust. It’s ultimately a sign that your cat loves you and wants to give you a special present.

What are you thinking about? ©Unsplash

Having a happy and relaxed cat curled up on your lap as they purr away gently is something that all cat owners dream of. But by watching out for certain behaviour traits and becoming familiar with your feline’s unique body language, you will be able to ensure that your furry feline is always a content and happy cat.

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