How Does My Cat Express Happiness?

Cats are funny little creatures. One minute, they will be affectionately rubbing themselves up against you, and the next minute they will act as though you don’t exist. You may want to know what kind of body language and behavior tell you if they’re happy and healthy.

Vocal expressions

Cats are well known for purring. If your cat purrs while snuggling up against you, she is most likely feeling happy and content. Sometimes cats also purr as a way to comfort themselves when stressed so if your cat is purring at an odd or inappropriate time, don’t just assume she’s happy. Other higher pitched sounds indicate happiness, but ones that are lower pitched can express frustration.


A relaxed body

When cats are completely relaxed with their paws tucked under their bodies, they are calm and free from stress.  Their eyes are half closed because they do not feel threatened in any way and they are not overly reactive to sounds or movements. When cats lie on their backs and show their belly, it’s another sign that they’re completely relaxed.


If your cats want to play, it’s an indication that their needs are being met. If you offer them a favorite toy to play with, even older cats will react positively.

If your cat rubs against your body, it’s a sign that she wants your attention and that she enjoys being around you. Don’t think that because a cat is aloof, that it is unhappy. Cats have different temperaments, just like humans, and some enjoy playing and interacting more than others.


Exploring and curious

A cat that is constantly exploring and is curious about the environment is a happy cat. A cat may show curiosity with wide eyes and a tail twitching from side to side.


Kneading is another sign of happiness. When kittens are nursing, and they knead their mothers, it facilitates the flow of milk. When they need you, it relates back to this neonatal behavior and is a sign of contentment and feeling good.



The amount of sleep required by a cat does depend on age, and there is no specific amount of sleep required by all cats. Too much sleep or too little sleep could be a sign that something is wrong. Do monitor your cat’s sleeping habits so that you will notice if there is any change.  Too little sleep could indicate discomfort whereas too much could be a sign of boredom or unhappiness.


When cats are unhappy, they may not groom themselves. When they lick, it releases endorphins, and a cat that licks is a clean and happy cat. If a cat grooms you, it’s a real compliment because it shows trust.


Happy cats have good appetites. They ask for food by meowing and rubbing your legs and leading you to their bowls. Demanding food is a sign that they know and trust the person who feeds them. They are clever creatures and are very good at getting owners to give them treats.