Cats are mysterious
There’s no doubt that cats are mysteries, even to those that know them best. Sometimes aloof, sometimes hot and sometimes cold: they make it unclear how many f&$#* they give. We get it.
We may never know what’s going on inside their heads, but they aren’t completely impossible to get to know. Like, how do you know if they’re happy? The age-old question. There are actually a few key signs that can clue us in.
What to look for
While cats may communicate differently based on their personality, breed, upbringing, and human, there are tell-tail signs across the board to look out for when trying to sense whether or not your cat is smiling… on the inside. Here are 5 behaviors and signs to look out for:
Vocalizations: The first vocalization is the most obvious-- the purr. When a cat purrs in your presence it generally means they are feeling content and relaxed. Other happy sounds might include chirps, trills, chatters, meeps, and other unique variations. Keep in mind that although the meow might be the most well-known sound, it can also point to other feelings.
Rubbing against you: If your cat is rubbing up against your leg, with either their body or with the classic headbutt, it’s a sign of affection. They might even weave in and out of your legs. [#CalloutBegin#][#PlaceholderBegin#]Cats release pheromones from their cheeks[#PlaceholderEnd#][#TitleBegin#]Pheromones[#TitleEnd#][#BodyBegin#]Cats also release pheromones from their paws and backends of their bodies.[#BodyEnd#][#CalloutEnd#], so when they nuzzle into you they’re leaving behind their scent. It’s their way of being social, marking their territory, and, believe it or not, showing they care. I can imagine them trying to say, “I like you human and you’re mine.” But I wouldn’t want to jump the gun.
Body Language: Like other animals, body language plays a huge role in communicating a specific feeling. Check their ears, they might be pointing forward. If their tail is standing straight up while they prance around, it probably means they’re at ease, confident, and feeling playful. Sometimes, the tail is curled at the end or quivering. And don’t forget to look at their eyes. Slow blinking can mean that they’re content and trusting of you.
Showing their belly: Does your cat ever lay on their back, showing their stomach? A cat exposing their belly is one of the highest honors. Rolling over shows vulnerability. They feel comfortable, safe, and happy in your presence and in the space. Even so, exercise caution; This is not always an invitation. Not all cats welcome the belly rubs that you so desperately want to give them.
Kneading: This activity, where a cat alternates kneading a surface with their two front paws, is sometimes referred to as “making bread,” or, as a Gen-Z’er might say, “getting this bread.” [#CalloutBegin#][#PlaceholderBegin#]There are a few theories for where exactly kneading comes from[#PlaceholderEnd#][#TitleBegin#]Why do cats knead?[#TitleEnd#][#BodyBegin#]While cats tend to knead when they are feeling happy or comfortable, many who study cats believe it's a residual behavior left over from kittenhood[#BodyEnd#][#CalloutEnd#] but the behavior means your cat is feeling pleased. Cats will usually only knead soft surfaces, which can include you, so watch out for sharp claws!
These are just a few behaviors to keep an eye out for. Cats are puzzling, and we think they like to keep it that way -- but it’s important to know that they are feeling happy because:
at the end of the day, a happy cat is a healthy one.
Though we imagine a serving of Smalls would make the grumpiest of cats knead, chirp, or rub up against you lovingly. And let’s face it, we’ll do anything to make our cats happy.
[#BeginTLDR#]As mysterious as cats are, there are a few ways that they’ll show you they’re happy.[#SplitTLDR#]Most of these signs come from observation of their behavior and body language.[#SplitTLDR#]Paying attention, and knowing some of the more common things to look out for, will clue you in on whether or not your cat actually likes you.[#EndTLDR#]