How to tell if your cat is happy 

There’s no denying that our feline friends are known for their independent nature, but that doesn't mean they don't experience emotions. As a responsible cat owner, it's important to understand how they’re feeling so you can ensure their wellbeing. Luckily for us, cats exhibit certain behaviours and body language that can show their happiness. 

Here are some of the key signs to help you determine whether your cat is content and thriving in their environment or if they need a helping hand. 

Relaxed body language

A happy cat displays relaxed body language with no tension. When your feline friend is at ease, they may have a slightly curved back when resting or lounging with a loosely hanging or gently swaying tail. If lying down, they could be stretched out, curled up into a ball, or lying on their front with paws neatly tucked underneath them (commonly known as a ‘loaf’ because… well, they look like a loaf of bread!).

Their ears will be in their natural position, held upright and forward or moving slightly as they listen to what’s around them. Their eyes might be blinking softly, or half closed as they doze. 

Don’t forget to pay attention to their whiskers! These will often be away from the sides of their face when relaxed. 


Purring is one of the most recognisable signs of a content cat. It's their way of expressing relaxation, pleasure, and happiness. If your cat is purring while being stroked, cuddled, or simply lying close to you, it's usually a positive sign that they’re doing just fine. Some cats may also purr when they are kneading or stretching, which can be a sign of comfort and satisfaction.


Cats will use different sounds to communicate their needs and emotions with those around them. While excessive meowing or yowling can mean stress or discomfort, softer and gentler noises like chirps, trills, or purrs can often signify a content feline.

Paying attention to the specific sounds your cat makes can help you better understand their happiness levels.


Happy cats often display playful and engaging behaviour. They may initiate playtime by pouncing on toys or chasing after objects, hinting at interactive activities with their human companions. Playful behaviour, like bursts of energy, can indicate that your cat is mentally stimulated, physically active, and simply enjoying their environment. 

Don’t forget: It’s essential to provide your feline friend with plenty of toys and playtime opportunities to encourage their natural instincts and keep them satisfied. 

Healthy eating 

The food your cat is or isn’t eating can actually be an indicator of their overall happiness and wellbeing. A happier cat will generally have a healthier appetite, showing enthusiasm for their meals and readily consuming their food. They will have a consistent eating pattern and won't exhibit any sudden or prolonged changes in their routine unless there's an underlying health issue. Along with regular eating habits, a happy cat will have a healthy weight and a glossy, well-groomed coat. 

Signs of an unhappy cat

The most obvious signs that your cat isn’t happy are displayed through their body language, but there are some other clues that can help you determine whether your feline is feeling blue: 

  • Disinterest in activities (like playing).
  • Hiding more than usual.
  • An increased or decreased appetite.
  • Hissing, biting, or lashing out.
  • Over or under-grooming. 
  • Destructive behaviour (like scratching). 

Remember: It's crucial to monitor any significant changes in your cat’s habits, as it could signal an underlying health concern.

Every cat is unique, so it's important to be familiar with your feline’s individual behaviours and preferences. By doing so, you’ll be able to recognise a change in good time while helping strengthen the bond between the two of you.

Looking for more cat advice?

We’ve written some handy cat advice guides, to help you unlock the secrets of your mysterious moggy.


Need cat insurance?

Cat insurance can help cover the cost of veterinary treatment if your cat gets injured or falls ill.


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