Many cattoisseurs know the signs of a healthy kitty: a good appetite, bright eyes and excellent coat condition, among others. The physical signs of good health in a cat are important and encouraging for pet parents. But in addition to his physical well-being, your cat's happiness is also important. So how can you tell whether your healthy cat is also a happy one? In honor of Happy Healthy Cat Month in September, let's explore a few signs of a truly happy cat.
In many cases, soft, gentle purrs signal your cat's satisfaction with the world, providing an audible sign of her contentment. But purring doesn't always indicate happiness; some cats also purr when they are hungry or stressed. The key is to consider purring in context with other clues, like your cat's body language and demeanor. As you get to know one another, you'll learn to differentiate between your cat's happy purrs and her hungry purrs, and be able to tell them apart, even if no one else can.
When a cat presses her paws against a soft surface like she's kneading bread dough, it's called — you guessed it! — kneading. This is an endearing habit that many believe is related to feline happiness and contentment. Kneading is actually an instinctive skill. Kittens knead while nursing to increase the flow of the milk. The happy feelings cats associate with nursing — safety and nourishment, for example — are believed to be connected with kneading during adulthood.
Bright eyes and alert ears give your cat an adorable expression (just one of the reasons she's so cute!), but these characteristics are also two hallmarks of a happy cat. Hand-in-hand with this happy expression is a "happy" tail — one that points straight up in the air.
When a cat is interested in his surroundings, inquisitive during daily activities and inherently curious about everything, it's a fairly strong indication that he's feeling happy. You can nurture your cat's curious nature (and subsequently, his happiness!) by providing him with toys and opportunities for play, along with plenty of attention.
Let's cherish the delight of sharing our lives with happy, healthy cats — and enjoy each and every moment of our cats' curiosity-filled days! A happy, healthy cat is easy to bond with.