Can't tell when your cat is happy? Behaviorist reveals how you can check, and it's all in the body language

Cat is being stroked by a human
(Image credit: Getty)

Cats have a reputation for being quite sassy little individuals and are known for making it clear if you're in their good books or not. However, if you have a cat of your own, you may still sometimes wonder if your cat is happy or when something is up.

For example, if your pet isn't touching their bowl of the best wet food then there are things to check when your cat's not eating to figure out the problem and a solution. It turns out another way you can understand your cat better is by its body language.

Certified feline behaviorist, Michelle Case, from the Miss Feminist Kitty Tiktok account has shared how you can tell if something is wrong with a cat by its loafing position. 

What is a cat's loafing position? Loafing is a term used to describe a domestic cat's sitting position when they are perched on its belly with its forepaws resting underneath the chest.

Michelle digs into this a little deeper in her video which you can view below...


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In the Tiktok video, Case identifies three different loafing positions a cat may adopt and what this can say about how your cat feels. Of course, these aren't the only types of body language your cat will display if it's feeling happy or not and it's always best to have a vet check out your cat if you have serious concerns about anything or an ongoing problem.

But if you want to feel a little more in touch with your cat's day-to-day feelings then Case's feline body language analysis is a good place to begin. Here are  feline behaviorist's three loafing positions and what they mean:
The comfy (happy) loaf

The comfy loaf is simply when a cat adopts the loaf position and everything about it looks very relaxed. Its paws will be nicely tucked in and it won't look like there is any straining in the neck or anywhere else.

The 'my spot' loaf

If you have a multi-cat or multi-pet household then your moggy may adopt this loafing position to express that where they're resting is their spot and no one else's. They will typically still be perched on top of their forepaws but their head will be up and looking very alert.

The nauseous/uncomfortable meatloaf

You may be able to tell if your cat is feeling sick or is in some form of pain or discomfort if it's in the loaf position but its ears are back and the head is dropped down slightly. Case adds, "You’ll also see sometimes some other signs of nausea like lip smacking or drooling." Any signs of discomfort will signal to you that something could be up with your moggy. 

Case recommends that cat owners pay attention to the body language of their cat especially if they're concerned that their furry friend isn't as happy as normal and could be feeling unwell. Is my cat sick is a commonly asked question and something no cat parent wants to worry about. Seeking advice from a veterinary professional should always be your first port of call.

Jessica Downey
Staff Writer

With over a year of writing for PetsRadar, Jessica is a seasoned pet writer. She joined the team after writing for the sister site, Fit&Well for a year. Growing up with a lively rescue lurcher kindled her love for animal behavior and care. Jessica holds a journalism degree from Cardiff University and has authored articles for renowned publications, including LiveScience, Runner's World, The Evening Express, and Tom's Guide. Throughout her career in journalism she has forged connections with experts in the field, like behaviorists, trainers, and vets. Through her writing, Jessica aims to empower pet owners with accurate information to enhance their furry companions' lives.