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How to Tell if Your Cat Is Happy: 16 Vet-Reviewed Signs

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on February 21, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

bengal cat being stroked by man's hand and purring

How to Tell if Your Cat Is Happy: 16 Vet-Reviewed Signs


Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo


Dr. Paola Cuevas

MVZ (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Some people prefer dogs to cats because dogs are considered easier to read and more demonstrative with their affection. Many cat enthusiasts will insist that if you know what you’re looking for, it’s quite easy to know if your cat feels happy, secure, and full of love.

Read along to learn more about the feline signs that indicate a cat enjoying a positive experience, hence a “happy cat”.

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The 16 Commons Signs To Tell If Your Cat Is Happy

1. Purring

Purring is often a sign of contentment and happiness in cats. If your cat purrs around you, they are likely feeling comfortable and pleased.

However, keep in mind that purring can also be a self-soothing technique your cat uses if they are injured or stressed; if they are purring more than usual and not just when they’re with you or other loved ones, it’s a good idea to check with your vet.

white cat purring
Image Credit: AleksDaria, Shutterstock

2. Relaxed Posture

A cat that lounges, stretches out comfortably, or sits like a loaf is usually content and at ease. When relaxed, they do not think about potential dangers or the need to escape.

3. Playfulness

A playful cat that engages in interactive play and exhibits curiosity is likely a happy cat enjoying their environment. You can encourage happiness in your cat by using a variety of toys to capture their interest and attention.

4. Social Interaction

Cats that seek out your company, enjoy cuddling, or follow you around are demonstrating a desire for social interaction, indicating happiness. If your cat is spending most of their time hiding from you, they may be hurt or ill or are feeling some stress and anxiety.

young woman hugging her cat
Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

5. Healthy Appetite

A cat with a good appetite, eating well, and maintaining a healthy weight is generally content and satisfied.

6. Kneading (also known as “making biscuits”)

Cats often knead their paws against soft surfaces (like bedding or upholstery), a comforting behavior that signifies contentment and happiness. Kittens knead their mama’s belly while nursing; kneading around their humans at home shows your cat is feeling that same level of trust, happiness, and safety.

7. Slow Blinking

Slow blinking at their human is a sign of trust and relaxation, indicating a happy and bonded relationship with your cat. Some cats will feel extra connected to you if you slowly blink back at them.

black and white cat nuzzling on man's chin
Image Credit: I Wei Huang, Shutterstock

8. Contented Sleeping

Cats that sleep peacefully, especially on their back or in a comfortable position, are likely feeling safe and happy in their environment.

9. Purring During Petting

When a cat purrs while being petted, it’s a clear indication of enjoyment and happiness. As we read earlier, purring is typically a sign of happiness. This is even more true if it happens while you’re petting or cuddling your kitty.

10. Healthy Coat

A well-groomed, shiny coat free of mats or tangles suggests a cat that is taking care of itself and is heathy and content. Grooming is often one of the first things to fall by the wayside if your cat is sick, injured, or stressed.

mans hand combing maine coon cat with hair brush
Image Credit: Sergey Fatin, Shutterstock

11. Tail Position

Tail positions are not just reserved for dogs! A cat with an upright or gently curved tail, especially with a quivering tip, is likely feeling playful and happy.

12. Exploration and Playfulness

Cats that engage in exploratory behavior, playing with toys, or investigating new areas are expressing happiness and a sense of security with you and in their environment.

13. Head Butting

Cats that nuzzle and gently head-butt you are affectionately displaying a desire for closeness and expressing happiness.

14. Vocalization

Meowing, chattering, and chirping can indicate a content and happy cat, especially during play or when seeking their human’s attention. Trilling, an adorable mix of meowing and purring, also shows your cat is a happy one.

Cat meowing at you
Image Credit: JackieLou DL, Pixabay

15. Displays of Trust

If your cat rolls onto its back or exposes its belly in your presence, it’s a sign of trust and comfort, indicating happiness. Most animals don’t expose their vulnerable bellies unless they feel safe.

16. Drooling

Like their canine counterparts, some cats drool when they are happy. If the drooling is constant or excessive, check in with your vet. Feline drooling can also indicate dental problems or stomach upset.

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Remember, each cat is unique and may exhibit happiness in different ways. Understanding your cat’s behavior and paying attention to their cues will help you gauge their life experiences accurately. Everyone wishes for a content, relaxed and happy cat enjoying positive experiences. With this knowledge at your fingertips, you and your favorite felines are destined for many happy years together.

Featured Image Credit: PHOTOCREO Michal Bednarek,

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