7 Signs Your Cat Is Truly Happy

| Published on August 23, 2015

Let’s face it, cats are complicated and fussy creatures. Their sassy quirks are part of the reason we love them so much. Sometimes it’s easy to tell when our cats are happy, but sometimes the clues are very subtle and you may miss them if you don’t know exactly what to look for.


Image Source: Mel via Flickr.com

1. Purring and other vocalizations
Purring is the most classic and well known sign of a happy cat. Behaviorists believe purring is your cat’s way of saying “all is well”.

Of course, some cats purr for other reasons as well. Older cats have been known to purr when they are approaching other cats to signal that they are friendly. Cats in stressful situations may purr too, as a form of self-soothing.

In addition to purrs, listen for high pitched meows, chirps, and gurgles.


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2. Kneading or “making biscuits”
Kneading is such a common behavior pattern in cats that there’s a whole list of cutsie names for it. In your home you may call it making biscuits, mashing potatoes, or playing the piano. Some people simply call it free acupuncture. Whatever you call it, there’s no mistaking the bliss of a kneading cat.

Cats associate the kneading motion to the comfort of nursing and do it when they feel content and safe. It’s often mixed with other happy signs, like purring or half-closed eyes.


Image Source: messybeast.com

3. Tail signals
Since tails are able to move in so many different ways, they make a great resource for cats who are trying to convey their mood to humans and fellow animals. This, of course, only works if we know what to look for. So what are the happy tail signals?

If your cat is holding her tail high up in the air it shows that she’s happy and confident in her environment. The tip of her tail can tell you a lot too. If the tip is twitching it means she is exceptionally happy to see you.


Image Source: Jessica Merz via Flickr.com

4. The slow blink
For cats, closing their eyes in the presence of another creature is a sign of trust. When your cat blinks slowly at you or looks at you with half-closed eyes it’s a sign of trust and affection. If you trust and love her too, try slow blinking back at her.


Image Source: Trish Hamme via Flickr.com

5. Rubbing or head butting
It’s a sweet greeting when your cat rubs against your legs while you cook dinner, but it’s not quite that simple. Cats have scent glands located on their heads, lips, chins, and tails (amongst other places) and they use these glands to mark surfaces, people, and animals that they’ve deemed to be safe.


Image Source: Jocelyn Kinghorn via Flickr.com

6. Ear signals
Look for ears that stand straight up, which indicate an alert and interested cat. If her ears are positioned slightly forward it means she’s feeling happy and playful.


Image Source: Trish Hamme via Flickr.com

7. Other body language
An arched back indicates a happy cat, as long as her fur is lying flat against her back rather than standing up. It can be a sign of happiness and comfort if she’s lying on her back and exposing her belly to you too, as long as she is displaying other happy signals like purring or half-closed eyes.

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