Since February is National Cat Health Month, it’s the perfect time to check up on your cat’s overall health and well-being. There’s nothing we want more than keeping them healthy and happy. And one way to do so is to learn how cats communicate with us.
The problem is that cats are complex creatures with unpredictable mood swings. One minute they want to cuddle and the next, they want to be left alone. Admittedly, it’s part of their charm and one of the many reasons why we adore them so much.
When it comes to deciphering “cat language,” it can be confusing. Their facial expressions reveal only a tiny fraction of their thoughts. Instead, cats express themselves through body language and vocalisations.
As paw parents, it’s important for us to know that our cats are truly happy in our care. And while they cannot answer us directly, there are a few ways to tell if they are satisfied. Here are five tell-tail signs to look out for:
Healthy appetite for meals
A healthy appetite is a good sign that your cat is happy and they’re not overeating. When your cat is in good spirits, they eat a consistent but not excessive amount. Proper nutrition is essential to your cat’s health so make sure they are eating a balanced diet with all the nutrients they need.
Keep your cat’s healthy appetite with earthmade’s all-natural and grain-free cat food. Made from New Zealand’s highest quality ingredients, our dry food is prepared in our kitchens, where cooks and nutritionists work together to achieve the optimal nutrition profile for your kitty. Our hypoallergenic cat food is packed with iron, omega-3 and -6 fatty acids that helps improve your cat’s overall wellness, inside and out.
Try our Free-Range Grass-Fed Beef—it’s high in iron and animal protein for enhanced energy and well-being. Or our New Zealand Mackerel, which is full of omega-3 fatty acids for fewer allergies and better skin and coat. Or how about our Cage-Free Chicken? It’s low in calories but high in omega-6 fatty acids not only for that shiny coat but for general wellness.
Our cat food is also made with kiwi, known as a superfruit. A great source of vitamin C that helps with hairball control and collagen production, making your cat’s coat look softer and more radiant.
Self-grooming is a characteristic of most cats and they take it very seriously. Cats are flexible and well-equipped for grooming. You might notice them stretching and twisting into some pretty unusual positions when doing so.
Grooming is an excellent reference for their mood. A cat who feels content tends to groom themselves, so a shiny coat is a good sign that all is well in your cat’s world. But when they’re feeling under the weather or unhappy, they may stop cleaning themselves.
On the other hand, over-grooming can indicate a medical or behavioural problem. If you notice your cat is grooming excessively, talk to your veterinarian.
We can’t communicate verbally with our cats, but they have vocal cues to give us context clues. These will help you tell if they feel hungry, affectionate, anxious, or in pain. Note that cats do not meow at one another; they only do it as a way to get attention from humans.
Murmuring sounds that include purring usually means contentment and approval while chattering or twittering happens when a prey is around. There’s a chance your cat might feel frustrated or excited when seeing a feathered friend nearby.
Purring, in particular, is a good sign that your cat is happy and fond of you. Cats are believed to reserve their purrs exclusively for humans they adore. They don’t even purr for other felines except for their own kitties. The higher the pitch of your cat’s noises, the happier they are.
But remember to give your cat space when they growl or hiss at you. Cats make these sounds when they are annoyed, stressed, or scared. It’s a signal to back off.
Engaged and playful
Another sign of a happy cat is their playful behaviour. It means they’re in the presence of someone they trust and are healthy and active. While cats are famous for thier spontaneous bouts of energy (from chill to maximum energy in a split second), they still make for playful pets.
Your cat will often show you how happy they are by asking to play in several ways. It can be from lying on their side to twitching their tails. Even senior cats still have a sense of fun, albeit in a less physically active way. No matter the age, cats will interact with you and other household pets they like and trust.
A cat that’s ready to play will become alert with their ears forward and tail up.
Cats are expressive if you know what to look for in their body language. Try and pay attention to your cat’s posture. When they rub their bodies or chin against you, it’s often a display of love and affection, but this also means they are marking their territory. A happy cat may roll and display their tummy for you.
How they hold and move their tail communicates a lot of things, too. For example, when it’s curled around your legs, your cat is being friendly. When they hold their tail high, they are projecting confidence.
Cats are expressive with their eyes as well. If your cat gives you a long, slow blink, consider it a compliment—it’s their way of saying they trust you.
Finally, when your cats start to rub their cute little paws into your lap, pushing and pulling like they’re whipping up a batch of biscuits, it’s called kneading. It’s a behaviour they learned as kittens. Cats may knead anywhere, from a soft surface to you, perhaps your shoulders, when they are happy.
Cats do not communicate with us the way we do with other people, but they do talk to us in their own way. Make it a habit to spend more time with your cat. Whether it’s playing or just chilling at home, it will go a long way toward your cat’s mental and emotional health.