14 Signs Your Cat Is Happy
Any cat owner will agree: cats are funny creatures that usually send mixing messaging. So how can you tell if your cat is truly happy? The following behaviors and body language signals usually indicate your cat is most likely happy and, more important, healthy. By PET MD.
They Have a Good Appetite
A healthy appetite means kitty is in a good mood. But if kitty's appetite is too healthy, it could be a sign she's bored, depressed, or lonely, says Dr. Franklin McMillan, director of well-being studies at Best Friends Animal Society. "Evidence suggests that, just as in humans, eating can be a psychological mechanism to cope with stress and other sources of unhappiness," he says.
They’re in Good Physical Health
Bringing your cat in for regular checkups can assure you kitty is healthy and happy. Any kind of illness can cause so much physical discomfort that it affects the cat's mental well-being, McMillan says and adds: "Healthy cats are happy cats"
"Purring is the feline way of showing happiness," Barrack says. If your cat purrs while snuggling with you on the couch, it's likely a sign she's happy and content. But purring can also indicate something's wrong, McMillan warns. Cats may purr to comfort themselves during a stressful event, like an injury, he explains. Contact your vet if your cat is purring at odd or inappropriate times.
A relaxed cat is likely free from stress, fear, and anxiety, McMillan says. Signs a cat is relaxed include resting with her feet tucked underneath her body, not being overly startled by sounds or movements, and having an overall calm demeanor.
They Like to Play
Engaging in play is one of the most reliable signs of happiness, McMillan says. "Scientists believe that play is a luxury behavior, only engaged in when all other higher priority needs are met," he says.
They’re Happy to See You
A cat who enthusiastically greets you when you first wake up or when you come home from work is saying she's happy to see you, McMillan says.
They Rub on You
When your cat rubs against you, she's marking you as her territory, says Dr. Jeffrey Levy, a holistic house-call veterinarian in New York City. She's claiming you as her possession, which means she's happy in your presence.
Kneading or "making biscuits" is a sign of relaxation, McMillan says. "When cats knead objects—or people—they are recreating a neonatal behavior," Levy explains. Nursing kittens knead their mother to stimulate the release of oxytocin, which relaxes the mother and facilitates milk flow.
They Show Interest in Their Environment
Happy cats are curious, McMillan says. You know your cat is happy if he seems to enjoy exploring his environment and is interested in new things.
Happy cats enjoy positive interactions with their owners and other people in their environment, McMillan says. But, of course, every cat is different. If yours is a little aloof, it doesn't necessarily mean she's unhappy. "Some cats simply feel more comfortable with less social interaction," he says.
They Like to Sleep (But Not Too Much)
A cat who sleeps an appropriate amount of time for her age is content. "When a cat sleeps too little, it may indicate that something—physical or emotional—is causing her trouble and discomfort," McMillan says. Sleeping too much could also be a bad sign. Like humans, cats may use sleep as a coping mechanism for dealing with boredom, loneliness, sadness, or depression, he says.
They Keep Themselves Clean
A clean cat is a happy cat, McMillan says. "When they are unhappy—which can be from emotional difficulties or ill health—they will typically forego good grooming habits," he says.
They Use Their Litter Box
Happy cats use their litter box properly, McMillan says. And, believe it or not, it's also usually a good sign if they dash out of the litter box after doing their business, Levy shares. "Many cats truly enjoy their litter box experience and feel a sense of accomplishment from this release," he says. Leaping out of the litter box could be a sign of their enthusiasm and pride, he adds. But if it happens erratically, or is accompanied by signs of discomfort, it could be time to call the vet.
Show Me the Belly
When your cat lies on her back and shows her belly, it's a sign she's content and relaxed, Levy says.
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