Much the same as humans, your cat will feel happy when all their needs are being met and they feel relaxed and comfortable. Your cat might feel these positive emotions in a few different situations, so there are a range of body language cues to look out for that can help you understand whether your cat is happy.
Behaviour of a happy cat
- Their tail may wave gently and rhythmically from side to side, usually when held off the ground, but it should not be ‘swishing’/’thrashing’ or ‘thumping’.
- Your cat may produce a low-pitched, pleasant and non-urgent sounding purr.
- Your cat will either appear calmly interested in their surroundings, so not ‘alert’ or ‘agitated’, or they may be relatively uninterested in what’s going on around them.
- Your cat might doze or groom themselves in a relaxed manner.
- A relaxed cat will behave as normal for them, and move around the home as they usually would.
- Your cat should eat, drink, groom, go to the toilet, and sleep in regular, healthy amounts.
Take a look at our video on understanding cat body language.
Body language of a happy cat
- Your cat looks relaxed with no obvious stiffness or tension.
- A relaxed cat may be resting on their side, with their tummy exposed.
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Facial expressions of a happy cat
- Your cat’s eyes may be more almond shaped than round, with relatively small pupils. (In low light conditions their pupils may still be relatively dilated.)
- Their eyes may be gently closed with no obvious tension (i.e. not pressed tightly shut).
- Your happy cat’s ears will generally be pointing upwards and facing forwards, although they may still move in response to sounds/movement.
How can I make sure my cat is happy?
Similar to humans, you can keep your cat happy by making sure all their basic needs are met and ensuring they have the opportunity to engage with humans, and different fun things like toys and activities on their own terms.
A healthy cat is a happy cat, so it’s important to make sure to cater to your cat’s emotional needs as well as helping to keep them physically fit and healthy.