I know I’m not the only human who has looked deep into my cat’s eyes and wondered, “Is my cat happy?”
Sure, all of our cats seem to enjoy their lives with us. They love their scratchers, toys, the cat walk and cat shelves. They love their snuggle time with us and each other, spend quality time in various sun spots, enjoy birdwatching and zooming around the house like a herd of elephants. Everyone has a favorite litter box and meal spot and most days include plenty of head boops, belly biscuits, and slow blinks!
But how can we know if our cats are happy?
Cats are know for being mysterious. They are not expressive like us humans or dogs. In fact, they even lack the facial muscle structure we humans (and dogs) use to express many feelings – instead they leave us wondering with their ‘resting cat face.’
But they do give us clues – and getting familiar with these subtle tell-tale signs will help us better evaluate our cat’s happiness.
- Purring. This is the go-to indicator by which most people gauge their cat’s contentment. And yes, a cat’s purr is can mean total bliss. However, purring can also indicate stress or an attempt to self-soothe when not feeling well.
- Chirps and High-Pitched Meows. These vocalizations are clues that you have a very cheerful kitty on your hands.
- The Vertical Tail. A cat’s vertical, swaying tail (often called the question mark tail) is a sign of a happy and confident cat.
- Head Boops & Biscuits. These beautiful behaviors go well past a cat’s instinct to mark territory. These are a happy cat’s way of accepting us as one of their own. Family forever.
- Slow Blinks. As predator and prey animals, cats are not fond of direct eye contact. However, once trust has been earned, a slow blink is an incredible show of happy affection. It’s a wordless “I love you”… and it melts my face off ever time one of our cats does it. Be sure to slow blink back.
While cats will always maintain a certain air of mystery, paying attention to their body language can help us know how they truly feel about life.