We all want our cat to be happy. But how to recognise a happy cat, isn’t always straightforward. We will try to help you figure out if your cat is enjoying living with you. A couple of tips for you to consider.
Get to know your cat
It is important to learn how to recognise your cat’s behaviour in order to find out if your cat is happy. Observe your cat regularly and see how it handles situations. It will be easier to distinguish ‘normal behaviour’ from a problem that way. When you notice a behavioural change and when in doubt, always contact your vet. They can find out if there is a physical problem, because cats tend to suffer in silence.
Happiness is different for each cat
While some cats love to play for hours on end, other cats are happy to sleep a lot or enjoy the street view from the windowsill. Just like in humans, happiness means different things to different cats. That is why it is important to observe your cat well and discover what your cat’s ‘normal’ behaviour is like. You’ll find out whether or not your cat is happy before you know it.
Recognising a happy cat by its behaviour
Though you should be discovering what behaviour is characteristic of your cat, certain behaviours do tend to indicate a happy animal:
• Relaxed when walking around the house
• Deep and relaxed sleeping
• Extensive sleeping or rolling in the sun
• Greeting you when you get home
• Washing themselves, another cat or you regularly, but not too much; excessive licking may also be a sign of pain.
Recognising a happy cat by its body language
Body language says a lot about cat behaviour. Here are a couple of things you can recognise a happy cat by:
• Ears nice and upright and aimed straight ahead
• Whiskers aimed straight ahead
• Relaxed tail upright in the shape of a question mark
• Relaxed lying and real/deep sleep
• Turning on their back; this makes cats feel vulnerable, which means they’ll only do it when they feel comfortable
• Purring, but be careful; it may be a sign of pain or fear.
How do I notice if a cat is not happy?
You can also look at it the other way around; how to recognise an unhappy cat? If you don’t notice the following behaviours, you know you’re dealing with a happier cat.
A cat that isn’t relaxed, doesn’t feel at ease and therefore will not be happy. Consider jumpiness, ears flat on the neck or crawling into a corner of fear. Frequent aggressive behaviour, failing to do their business inside the litterbox all of a sudden, excessive washing or excessive sleeping can all be signs of pain, fear or stress. Excessive washing will lead to bald spots which is how you can recognise it. And excessive sleeping could indicate that your cat is in pain when moving around, which could be an indication of arthrosis.
An uneasy cat is more likely to exhibit undesirable behaviour such as spraying or pooing/peeing outside the litterbox, scratching or biting and excessive mewing. Read all about undesirable behaviour in cats and how to combat it here.
What can I do to give my cat a happy life?
As a cat owner, there are lots of things you can do to give your cat a happy life. Here are some tips:
Keep an eye on its health
Good health is vital for a good life. That is why it is important to keep a close eye on your cat’s health. There are lots of ways to contribute to your cat’s health: good food, enough challenge and exercise, a safe living environment – both indoors and outdoors – and protection against fleas and worms. Read all about your cat’s health here.
Provide proper care
To give your cat the healthiest and happiest life possible, it is important to provide it with the right care. Plus, caring for your pet will also help create a bond, which in itself contributes to the happiness of your cat, just like playing together and quality time!
As little stress as possible
Stress is difficult to measure, but when your cat keeps getting startled by the dog, another cat in the house or a screaming baby, you’ll quickly notice the cat doesn’t like it and its stress levels will go up. In such a situation, always make sure your cat has a quiet spot of its own where it can withdraw and take its naps undisturbed. If you’ve got more than one cat, make sure each cat has at least one litterbox at its disposal. Make sure to buy the right litterbox for your cat.
A happy senior cat
Whether you’ve got a kitten or an ageing cat, you want to offer both the happiest life you can. An ageing cat is more prone to ailments, so give it a helping hand by making life a bit more comfortable. Consider a step to get onto the windowsill or a litterbox with a lower entrance.
A happy cat makes for a happy owner. An unhappy cat makes for an unhappy owner, dealing with a cat’s aggressiveness and jumpiness or noticing other undesirable behaviour. Of course, it is important to give your cat love and proper care, so you can lead a happy life together. When you live in harmony, you can rest assured that your cat is relaxed and happy.