It’s common to wish that cats had 9 lives to share with us. But we only get one shot to give our pets the happy and healthy lives that they deserve. Since they don’t have actually eight extra shots at lifetime bliss, here are 9 ways to make sure your cat is happy during the time they do have with you, a pet owner with lots of love to give.
Nine Ways to Tell if Your Cat is Happy
- Upright tail with a bend:If your cat is happy, you may have seen them strut around the house with a proudly curved tail. Also known as a ‘question mark tail,’ this sign expresses the present of a confident and happy cat.
- Curiosity: Not only do happy cats act like they own the place, they show an interest in learning more about their environment, too. Cats express curiosity with widened eyes and a swinging tail from side to side.
- Soft eyes:A comfortable and happy cat may send you a slow blink with dilated eyes to convey affection. If you are in search of a new cat at a shelter, you can mimic the slow blink to communicate to your cat that you are not a threat. Later down the line, this gesture can create a stronger bond between owner and pet.
- Playful spirits: Upon finding the remnants of a pillow or toy that never stood a chance, you may find it hard to appreciate this sign of a happy cat. Whether it’s wrestling with a ball of yarn, a human guest, or a prey toy, your cat will only exhibit signs of playful behavior as the result of a happy environment.
- Kneading: If your cat is happy, they might hop into your lap and knead into your legs with their front paws. While the feeling of claws poking at your skin may not scream ‘affection,’ cats view this gesture as soothing. Kneading into your legs or lap mimics the way that a kitten gets milk from its mother.
- Presents: Though you may not be thrilled to find the remnants of a hunt on your doorstep, this is your cat’s way of expressing gratitude and love. Domestic cats are classified as apex predators for their environment, so bringing you one of the fruits of their labor should be considered the highest honor.
- Grooming: Your cat may skip their regular grooming habits if they are feeling unhappy or unwell. Happy cats will not only keep themselves clean, but also go the extra mile and lick you to make you feel like one of their own.
- Physical contact: Cats that negotiate themselves onto human laps are conveying happiness and affection to their owners. Happy cats may also display their stomachs for petting. However, this gesture can also be used as a defense—so watch out for bared teeth and extended claws before going in for the cuddles.
- Healthy appetite:If your cat is happy and healthy, they may ask for a meal by threading in between your legs and meowing you toward their food dish. As hunters and obligate carnivores, cats don’t need humans to provide food for them, but they won’t hesitate to ask for food from a human that they love and trust.