Is My Cat Happy?

Understanding feline body language

Is My Cat Happy?

Tuesday, October 13, 2015 | Nhs Behavior Department

Just like us, animals express how they feel through body language as well as sound/speech. Cats use many different parts of their body to show us how they're feeling. 


  • Grooming is an essential part of a cat’s day and takes a lot of concentration. If your cat grooms himself in close proximity to you, it’s a good indication that he trusts you. 
  • A great way to bond with your cat is to groom him. If your cat allows you to groom him and enjoys it, you know he trusts you. It’s also a great way to show your cat affection.


  • Kneading is a behavior that starts at birth and is used to gain milk from the mother. This behavior and the contentment it brings carries over into adulthood, when cats use it to display contentment with their 
  • environment. 


  • Known as the cat “I love you,” a slow blink with a soft facial expression is a sign of trust and acceptance. Offering your cat a relaxed slow blink is a great way to tell them you love them. If they slowly blink back, it’s safe to say they accept your effort and trust you. 
  • A cat who is staring at you – without blinking – is showing he’s uncomfortable and may need you to stop what you’re doing.


  • Cats have scent glands in their cheeks which they use to mark something as their own. When a cat rubs their cheek on you, consider yourself claimed! That cat likes you enough to claim you as his own.


  • "Head-butting" may seem rude but to a cat, it’s just a way of showing affection. If a cat head-butts you, he’s displaying a sign of love for you.

Belly up! 

  • Cats who sprawl out in the middle of the floor exposing their belly are showing that they are very comfortable. When cats are happy and content, they feel safe to expose their vulnerable bellies. Don’t be tempted to pet them, however, as this can break their trust and cause them to become defensive.


  • Cats can also communicate to get attention or alert their owners to a possible medical issue.

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