How Can You Tell if Your Cat is Happy?

December 13, 2012

Do cats smile? Many cat owners would say unequivocally 'yes'.

But researchers disagree. Since they are mammals, we share many things in common with them. Smiling, however, is not one of them!

When a cat shows its teeth in a way that may look like a smile, it is probably in pain, trying to pick up odours or angry.

But there are some universal 'Happy Cat Clues".

There are facial features that cats exhibit when they are happy. Some of these include:

• Relaxed cheeks that are not pulled in

• Open ears that are facing forward

• Closed, relaxed mouth

• Wide open eyes that are focused on you

• Whiskers that are pointed outward and not spread apart much

Humans tend to rely a lot on facial expressions for mood, but cats use their bodies as well to communicate how they feel. A happy cat may:

• Tuck its front paws under

• Tend to hold its head high

• Have its tail raised upward

• Exhibit fur lying flat on the body

• Knead their paws, often on you or on a blanket

A content cat often shows you signs of affection such as purring or looking at you and blinking their eyes slowly. List item

Finally, as all you cat owners know already, like humans, each cat has its own distinct personality, and when we first bring them into our homes they can be very hard to read or enigmatic.

I have had cats that purred when they were happy, and cats that purred when they were annoyed or in pain. It is up to each owner, over time and with attention, care and love, to learn the signs of happiness and the idiosyncrasies of their feline.

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