How to tell if your cat is happy: 16 signs! [NEW]

All cat parents have wondered at some point if their fur babies are happy, this is a question we are all familiar with. Especially since every cat has its own unique purr-sonality and they might show emotions in purr-ticular ways.

‘Cats are a mysterious kind of folk’

– Sir Walter Scott

Do you want to know how to always tell if your kitty is happy? 

happy cat

Feel free to use my basic ‘E.G.S scheme’ to look for changes in their basic routines like Eating, Grooming, and Sleeping. Now I know how my fur babies show me if they are happy or if something is wrong with them by the way they behave!

Let’s start:

How to tell your cat is happy

‘E’ is for eating

A healthy appetite indicates a good mood, and by eating regularly and following a routine to get special food treats your cat enjoys the food it’s been given and it’s happy!

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An increased or a decreased appetite is often a sign that there is something wrong with your kitty regarding health issues. Please ask a vet as soon as you notice this.

‘G’ stands for Grooming

cat grooming
Pawdon me, some privacy, please!

If your cat is keeping clean by licking itself and others you have a happy kitty. Its grooming habits describe overall well-being, love, and affection, especially by comfortably cleaning herself next to you. Happily licking other pets and even you signifies a deeper level of bond, a fur-miliar way of showing acceptance and love. 

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If your cat suddenly stops grooming she might need to be checked by a vet… Cats stop grooming themselves if they are getting old, overweight, but most probably when they are ill.

 ‘S’ is for Sleeping

cats sleep
Baby Dot sleeping with Dobby

One content kitty enjoys social sleeping. She cuddles with humans and snuggles with other pets. She generally sleeps close to you. A relaxed sleep in the“bread loaf’ position is a sign of feeling pleased. 

fun fact
Cats love sleeping, they normally sleep ⅔ of their day and their favorite way of showing that they are happy is by curling up on your lap!
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If your cat oversleeps or does not sleep enough it’s a sign that she might be depressed or sad. Take a visit to the veterinarian as soon as you spot these signs.

Find out more about Why do cats sleep on you from our furend George the cat!

And now, you know how to detect the fundamental signs of a happy cat.

As it turns out there are 2 other additional behaviors to add to my basic E.G.S! 

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A playful cat is definitely a happy cat!

cats play

Playful behavior is the most reliable sign of happiness, as a cat likes to play only when all her other important needs are met. Cats may play with toys, humans, and engage in wrestling matches with other pets, and even though kittens play more by curious nature, adult cats still have playful moments across the day. 

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If cats don’t play at all and tend to hide or avoid interacting with people or other pets it’s a sign of stress and might be a good reason to visit the vet. 

Potty habits are very important

cat in litter box

Happy cats enjoy doing their business in the litter box properly and don’t go poop where they are not supposed to. It’s a good sign when they jump out of the litter box fast (even if they scatter the litter everywhere) because it shows their enthusiasm, pride, and the accomplishment of the act itself. 

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When cats are unhappy, or something is wrong, they usually show it by doing their needs outside the box (except when they don’t know how to really use it). Find out from the vet if something is wrong with your cat when you see unusual potty behavior. 

As if that’s not enough, I found a few cute ways of how cats show their happiness.

Read on!

The first sign of a happy cat is that it’s happy to see you! 

A happy cat will show they trust you by wanting to spend time with you and other pets in your household. They welcome you at the door and rise on their back legs to meet your hand, arch their back when you pet them, get in front of you or pass between your legs and ‘roll over’ your feet exposing their bellies to show their vulnerability to you (Attention danger of tripping) and they have a generally relaxed body language around you.   

cat work from home
Together furrever 😻

Cats also show their happy and content mood through their sensorial body parts.

happy cat

If a cat’s ears are facing forward but just slightly tilted backward she is happy. When your cat is holding her tail up and a little bent at the end, she is happy to see you but also curling her tail around your leg or your arm is a sign of affection. A sudden dilatation in the eyes shows she is extremely happy and interested. Their whiskers are relaxed at the side of their face and not pointed to the front or the back of their head. Your cat can tell you she is feeling good by showing off her tongue when she sleeps, and by doing that, she is revealing a truly relaxed and calm state. But wait, there is more!

cat tongue

A cats posture also shows affection

Their body posture can say a lot about a cat’s mood at different times, but a happy cat’s posture also shows affection. A calm cat may lie on its side or might lie on its back stretching out its paws and flaunting its belly to you or other pets as a sign of trust. Or will also ‘snooze’ in a comfy position with his front paws tucked under its body looking like a loaf of bread

piece of advice
Cats also show bellies when they feel threatened as defensive behavior, so if you don’t know the cat, do not fall for the ‘tummy rub’ act to avoid scratching. 

Head Boops mark the spot!

A happy cat will head butt you and rub its head and cheeks on your legs and arms, and while you think it’s adorable, it actually marks you as its territory with its scent glands. Congrats you are part of their pride meow! Your cat owns you!

Cats show their butt to you when aroused!

Don’t worry, not sexually aroused. But aroused from all the attention it received from you. 

When your cat presents you with her butt after you pet her, it is a sign that she sees you as a maternal figure and wants to show their love to you. They do this because their mothers used to lick them a lot as kittens, especially their genital areas to help them wee and poop.  

But also, cats identify each other through smell, so sometimes when a cat is positioning her butt in your face without petting her, she is greeting you in a very personal way, telling you it trusts you. Let’s move on to more interesting signs.

Cats have developed many noises to communicate with humans and other cats. 

And let’s be honest, having a vocal cat is pawsome. 

Cats make all kinds of sounds when they need something or want to let their owners know how they feel, but sometimes we can distinguish more specific vocalizations. Here are the most common happy cat vocal clues.

Purring – cat’s most usual way of showing happiness

When a cat purrs in a relaxed posture, with its eyes half-closed is a good sign that she is happy and content, maybe even in a state of bliss. That purr can be considered a happy smile.

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Kitties may purr at the wrong time though and then it means something is wrong. The purrs are also used for comfort when they are under stress, in pain, or when trying to heal from an injury.  

‘To err is human, to purr is feline.’

– Robert Byrne

Cats don’t meow at each other, they only meow to people. 

cat meow

The meows can be happy, exciting, and chatty, but also they can tell you when the cat is frustrated or wants something. A joyful cat will meow at its humans, either to greet them or in conversation. The high-pitched ‘prrrupt’ means your cat is happy, but a low-pitched ‘prrraow’ might reveal an annoyed cat.

‘Meow is like aloha – it can mean anything.’

– Hank Ketchum

Cats have a language of their own – ‘prrrr pruu pararaow’

fun fact
With chirps and trills, a mother cat teaches her kittens to follow her. These noises are more common between cats conversing with each other.

The sounds like chirping and chattering are related to being excited. If a cat chirps at you, she tells you to follow it somewhere (usually taking you to the ‘empty’ food bowl), asking for your attention, or just saying hi. The twittering sound occurs when your cat is watching outside the window, or trying to catch a bug on a wall and counts as a sign of a happy kitty.

‘What pawt of prrr don’t you understand human?’

We’re not through yet, it gets even better! 

I also came up with a list of signs that a cat is happy but she also loves you!

When your cat feels good, she wants you to feel good too, because now you are part of their pride. Your cat will show you when it’s feeling affectionate. These are the most adorable ways of telling.

Kneading her way into your heart!

If your cat is ‘making biscuits’, or kneading the place she will sleep on with its paws, it’s a good sign of pleasure, trust, and enjoyment. If your cat does this on your lap while also purring and pawsibly keeping eye contact, she loves you. This behavior is developed from the way kittens press on their mother’s belly to stimulate the milk flow when they are suckling. Also, the calm paw patting is a good indicator of happiness and contentment, this behavior occurs when she is almost sleeping on its side or back but still kneading the air with its paws. 

Blowing you ‘Kisses’

A slow blink is maybe the most adorable way of cats telling you they are happy in your presence. This happens when your kitty looks at you and slowly closes and opens her eyes, the equivalent of blowing you a kiss.

Nibbling – The cat version of love bites

cat bites
I loves you purry much 😻

Sometimes you will pet your cat and out of nowhere you will get these careful soft bites and wonder what this is. Kittens show affection through playful biting, and your senior kitties will often do it to you. 

Piece of advice
These playful bites normally don’t hurt, but if you are not comfortable with the feel of sharp little teeth on your skin and you would want the cat to stop, don’t react badly, just divert her attention towards a toy and keep your cat happy.

Bringing you ‘clawful’ presents 

By giving you ‘unusual’ presents at home, your fluff is happy and really loves you. Sharing her hard-catch bounty with you, it’s a sign that your cat feels secure and trusting. Even if it’s a yucky gift sometimes, you should feel privileged to have this honor.

‘Yeah it took me furr-ever to catch that leaf yesterday’.

Following you everywhere

cat personal space

If your kitty likes to constantly follow you around, it means it wants to spend more time with you, loves you, and likes to keep you close. She will therefore insist on coming into the bathroom with you, watch you eat, jump into bed with you, follow you from room to room, and just generally hang out in your personal space.

‘Didn’t I tell you no closed doors?’

How to tell if your cat is happy

happy cat

A happy cat has a healthy appetite and eats regularly; keeps clean and shows a well-kept fur coat by grooming itself and others; loves sleeping, and enjoys social cuddles with other pets and you [the E.G.S scheme], plus it shows playful behavior, and uses its litter box properly!
More specific happy-affectionate signs are showing trust by revealing their belly to you; generally like to hang out with you and follow you from room to room. It will give you ‘head-butts’, rub against your legs and arms, show off their butt to you, purr and meow back when you talk to them. A happy loving cat will knead on you before sitting on you and blow you kisses (slow blinking), will nibble you ( the cat’s version of love bites), and bring you ‘claw-ful’ presents like tree leaves or even dead mice.

Let us know how happy your cat is in the comments below!

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  1. This is a very nice article! I have a kitten since 3 weeks and it’s my first cat. So I was kind of wondering if she is happy. But I checked the EGS Method and found out she is indeed happy. Keep up the good work!

    • Maria thank you so much for your kind words. The EGS method is the easiest way to know your cat is happy, because if they are eating properly, grooming regularly and sleeping normally without showing signs of not following a daily routine, then your cat is happy. All the other cute signs are just a little extra affection and appreciation for you from your cat ❤️

  2. Nice to see that I obviously have a very happy cat. But yours look happy too, you seem to take care of them 🙂

    • Hi Jeff. I am glad your furbaby is happy and that the article helped you see that. My kitties are indeed happy and very loving, but of course on their own terms 🙂

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