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How do I know if my cat is happy?

Fortunately for human pet parents, happy cats have no problem telling us how they feel! Usually vocal signs such as meowing and purring our our first clues. How do you know if your quiet kitty is happy, though? Here are a few hints.

Tail held high

The tail is the most expressive part of a cat. A tail held straight in the air is a sign of friendliness, while a tail held high with a little bend in the tip is a sign of affectionate respect.

Relaxed eyes

Just like in people, a cat’s upper eyelids will begin to lower when they are feeling content. A particularly happy kitty’s lower eyelids may even be raised a little, resembling a person giving a cheeky smile.

Slow-blinks

If your cat stares at you from across the room and blinks at you slowly, it’s considered to be the same as blowing a kiss! It’s best to smile and slow-blink back.

Headbutting

This behavior can be equated to a human hug. A cat will bop the object of its affection with the top of his or her head. They may headbutt your forehead, your back, another cat, their favorite box, or just about anything they enjoy.

Kneading paws

Nursing kittens knead their mamas’ bellies to stimulate her to produce milk. Adult cats will knead their pet parents, a comfy blanket, or even the air when they are particularly content. Some cats may attempt to suckle when they are feeling extremely affectionate.

Arched back

Not to be confused with the yowling or hissing arched back response that a frightened cat gives, when a cat approaches you with happy eyes and arches his or her back, it’s usually a friendly sign that means, “Pet me!” Be sure to pay special attention to when the cat wants you to stop, though.

Tummy pose

This one is often a point of confusion for many pet parents. A cat who is feeling trusting will roll over to show you his or her tummy. Not all cats will want you to touch their bellies, though, because it’s a very vulnerable place on a kitty’s body. Think of it like bowing to someone, only to have the person you bowed to smack the back of your head. Instead, you might want to pet the tummy-posing kitty under the chin or gently on the neck with one finger.

Would you like to see photos of our happiest kitties? Follow us on Instagram!


Candace Elise Hoes is a pet sitter and blogger at Katie’s Kitty. She is a graduate of the MFA Writing Program at California College of the Arts.

photo by Jenny Downing on flickr

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