How to tell if your cat is happy

If only cats could tell us with words how they’re feeling so that we could be sure they are always healthy and happy. Instead, we must learn to read their body language to make sure we understand how they’re feeling. So, what are the different cues to look out for and what do they mean?

Vocal noises

If your cat is particularly vocal it might appear that they are having full-on conversations with you and that’s a sign of a happy cat. High pitched sounds and purring are good, blissful sounds, whereas low pitched meows or cries show that your cat is annoyed, sad or demanding attention.


Cheerful cats are always well groomed and looking after themselves with regular cleaning. Very happy cats will also groom others and even try to groom humans!

Ear positioning

Similar to a dog’s ears, a cat’s ears are very expressive. If they are perked up and facing forwards, that signals a happy cat. If they are low and tilted backwards, that’s the sign of an unhappy or stressed cat.

Half-closed eyes

When a cat looks at you with half-closed eyes it can sometimes look intimidating, like an evil squint! In fact, this is a sign of trust and affection and, if you feel comfortable, you should return the gesture!

Rubbing their scent

Cats pass their scent onto objects and people by rubbing their face against them. When a cat is marking objects and people it means they feel they have a happy relationship with them.


This is common behaviour where a cat kneads you with their paws, although it can sometimes feel like a painful kind of acupuncture it’s actually a great sign that a cat feels content and safe with you.

Exposing their belly

When a cat rolls onto their back and exposes their belly it’s a huge sign of comfort, particularly when mixed with purring. If they swipe at you when you go to stroke their belly, you have offended their trust! But don’t worry, they’re quick to forgive.