How to Tell if Your Cat Is Happy? These 8 Signs Will Show You

by Pete
Is my cat happy? How to tell if your cat is happy

Don’t you sometimes wonder what your cat is thinking? I do.

Unfortunately, we do not have the ability to read their minds, although how cool would that be? If anything cats are that clever they can probably read ours!

Let’s face it, cats are really complicated and fussy little creatures.

Saying that, cats really do have their own way of telling you how they feel, whether they’re happy, sad, scared, hungry or frustrated.

However different it may be from the way we express our feelings, knowing if your cat is happy makes us, the cat owner, happy.

Although cats are considered as very individual animals, their body language, posture and facial expressions can reveal what your cat is currently feeling.

It’s vital for you, as a responsible cat owner to look out for any changes in your feline’s behavior – it could be a sign an underlying health issue.

And as I always say, if you think your cat is ill, you should always take them immediately to the vets to get checked over.

Sometimes, however, your cat could just be in a mood and a bit huffy with you. You never know! Which is one reason why I love my cats. They definitely keep me “on my toes” and they offer a bit of a challenge.

So if you have ever wondered to yourself “is my cat happy?” there are definitely some signs that you can be looking out for.

Now it is worth remembering that some signs that your cat is showing might be more obvious than others.

Signs that show you your cat is happy

Here are eight ways of your cat telling you how they feel and answering that age old question for you, “is my cat happy?”

1. Cuddles!

Happy cat cuddling with owner

If your kitty is curled up in your lap or bed and she purrs as you’re stroking her, there is a pretty good chance she’s content and letting you know “all is well”.

Some cats go as far as wrapping their paws around your neck (just like the way we cuddle) to show you how delighted they are!

Happy cats seek out people they love. Cuddles are a great way to tell if your cat is happy.

4. Purring and chatting

Although some cats are more talkative than others, when they do make noises, it usually brings a message: I’m hungry, I want a cuddle, I want to go outside.

Cats also become very vocal when they’re happy – they almost respond to your voice.

When she’s telling you the best story ever it means she loves your company and feels good around you.

The more high-pitched the meow is, the better, where the lower pitch meows can suggest your cat is frustrated or wants something.

Despite the fact that purring generally indicates your feline being happy, it can sometimes mean she’s distressed. Cats occasionally purr as a way to self-sooth in stressful situations.

2. Kneading

Happy cat kneading

Does your cat ever knead you?

Kittens can often be found kneading their front paws into you, it kind of looks like they’re are “making biscuits” or kneading dough. Or mashing potatoes. Playing piano? There are a lot of cute ways to name this, and it is definitely one of the cutest things a cat can do!

When your cat does this you can be assured that they are happy, and it can feel pretty nice for us too!

Unless your cat isn’t a kitten anymore and has fully developed claws…then it happens to be far more pleasurable for the cat, not so much for us!

Kittens actually knead their mother’s teat to encourage the milk.

If your cat does this to you, it’s a real sign of them being content and happy, when they do this to you they are really enjoying themselves, they are also showing you that they trust you.

3. Head bumps and whiskers

Well every morning when I go to give my cat Bruce his breakfast, I get a little head butt from him on the head when I bend down to get his food from the cupboard.

I always thought that he was just being impatient and telling me to hurry up because he was hungry! Boy, was I wrong.

Your cat head bumping (or head butting) you pretty much means “Hey buddy, I’m very happy and I love you loads!”

Whenever your cat does this to you, take it as a rough translation of that they are super happy, there really is no better feeling than your cat head butting your legs. The more head bumps you get, the happier your cat is!

How your cat’s head is positioned can also show their feelings. If it’s pointed forward, she’s greeting those around her – she’s saying Hello.

It’s a way to encourage us to greet her and a good moment to extend your hand so she can sniff it, this is when you know you are really bonding with a cat, especially a new pet or a friend’s cat!

Her approval is expressed by a beloved head-butt.

Head bumps are also used to mark surfaces, people and other animals they consider safe, as cats have scent glands located on their heads, lips, chins and tails and as I have said previously, cats are very territorial animals. You are their property!

Whiskers that are pointed slightly forward indicate happy and curious kitty, where whiskers pointing to the side are a sign of a relaxed and content cat.

5. Playing

Playful cat is a happy cat

Play is a perfect indicator of your cat’s happiness level.

Kittens can’t help themselves but to play all day long, where older cats can seem less playful but still interested in their surroundings.

Curiosity, confidence and enthusiasm are pretty obvious signs of happiness and contentment.

Some cats prefer to watch from the distance only (exploring with their eyes rather than paws), whilst other slightly “braver” cats engage with the environment without showing any fear whatsoever.

A cat that is confident will hold its head up, twitch its tail and keep its ears erect and eyes wide open.

If your cat is an indoor cat, make sure she always has interactive cat toys to play with, especially if they don’t have a cat companion.

6. Eating

Cats ask for their food either vocally or by rubbing against your ankle and leading you to their bowl. By doing that, your feline is showing you that she knows you are the one looking after her and that she trusts you.

Healthy food and a good appetite equal a happy cat.

Even if it means “training” their owner to add treats and special food into their diet!

In many ways, this gentle manipulation can become a game for you and your kitty (which is another sign of a content feline).

Also, giving you little presents (mice, small birds, spiders – you name it!) is a way of showing you how happy she is.

Cats don’t share their bounty with many people, so when they do, it makes you a very special cat owner – it’s the ultimate trust (although admittedly it can sometimes be a little gross to find, a headless mouse is not high up on my list of Christmas presents!)

7. Posture

Posture of a happy cat

You can tell that your kitty is happy when she’s sleeping with her paws tucked under, ears forward, “sleepy” eyelids and purring away like a little motor. It’s her way of showing you that she feels safe and relaxed with the surroundings and people in it.

If you notice your cat sunbathing in the sun with all four legs in the air – get ready for a real treat. She might possibly want you to stroke her tummy (careful, some cats won’t allow you near their belly so don’t push her unless you want to end up with your hands scratched or bitten. I know Sanchez hates his tummy being rubbed by anyone no matter how happy he is, and he often sleeps in this position on the window sill catching some sunshine).

This position indicates your cat doesn’t feel threatened in any way.

However, a kitty with straighten legs and erected hair along her spine feels aggressive, tensed and scared; quiet and shy cats might shrink to the ground as if they want to be invisible and appear small and unthreatening.

8. Slow blink

Cat’s eyes are very expressive and often used to communicate with you. A slow eye blink from her is often a sign of happiness and trust. Dilated eyes can even indicate arousal!

Watching your cat giving you a slow blink is a truly magical moment for both of you. Have you ever thought or returning the blink? It will certainly deepen your bond and show her your love and trust!


Now, of course, all cats are different, so do not worry if your cat is not giving you all of the above signs to show you that they are happy.

Looking after your furry friend, giving them good cat food and lots of interaction will ensure that your cat is happy and healthy, and they, in turn, will make you happy with a shared bond of affection.

Is your cat showing these signs of happiness?

Let us know in the comment!

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