Behaviorist reveals the five signs your cat is happy - and number four might surprise you

Cat head butting man
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Most of us want our feline friends to be happy and there's certainly lots we can do to try and ensure that they are. From filling their bowls with the best dry cat food to making sure they have plenty of toys to play with, these are some easy wins us pet parents will go after in an attempt to keep a smile on our kitty's dial.

But how do we know that our cats are truly happy? After all, it's not like they can give us verbal feedback and reassurance that all is well in their world. Well, according to behaviorist Jackson Galaxy, the answer to your cat's contentment lies in their body language. 

In a series of videos posted to TikTok, all of which you can view below, Jackson shares six key signs to be on the lookout for that are your cat's way of communicating their happiness:


♬ Blue Blood - Heinz Kiessling & Various Artists

1. Their tail looks like a question mark

"Number one is that backwards question mark tail where they're walking around with their tail up in the air like that," Galaxy says. "That's telling you that they're confident, they're walking around like 'I own this space', but in a very happy way."

2. Making biscuits

"Whether they're doing it on a blanket or especially when they do it on you, it is a sign that they are regressing back to kittenhood where they just feel nice and peaceful and relaxed," explains Galaxy. "This is the way they would get milk out of mom, so it's like you're their mom."


♬ Blue Blood - Heinz Kiessling & Various Artists

3. Lying with their tummy exposed

"When you think about it, happiness is about trusting," Galaxy says. "When your cat is laying around with their tummy exposed, that means they feel safe. They don't care about that primal fear of someone coming up to them like a predator and so they show you their belly - that's the cat hug."

4. Slow blinking

So, if there's a cat hug, does your feline friend also have a way of saying 'I love you?' You bet they do! "The cat 'I love you' is the slow blink," explains Galaxy. "Do it to your cat, they do it back to you - that's a happy, loving cat."


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5. Marking you with their scent

"You know when your cat rubs up against you that that means they're happy because what they're doing is they're owning you," Galaxy says. "The head bonk is also a really happy thing. That's because it's about scent glands and when they put their scent up against your scent, that's love." 

Now that you know some of the signs your cat is happy, you may be wondering what signs to be on the lookout for that signal your cat is feeling blue. Our guide to six ways to tell if your cat is sad has got you covered. 

Kathryn Williams
Freelance writer

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.