Do you wonder if your indoor cat is truly happy? Or, if they’re bored, depressed, and yearning to know what’s really on the other side of the window?
In this article, I’ve listed 17 signs of a happy indoor cat to help put your mind at ease.
Indoor cats require more playtime and interaction from us. They don’t have the vast outdoors to explore, they can’t chase butterflies, hunt mice, and do all those other things outdoors cats take for granted.
This doesn’t mean they can’t live a super happy and content life though. In fact, chances are your cat is perfectly happy and content right now!
Take a look through the list below and see how many apply to your cat.
- 17 Signs of a Happy Indoor Cat
- They Have a Nice Shiny Coat
- Your Cat Is in Good Health
- They Are Eating and Drinking Well
- Your Cat Purrs When You Stoke and Pet Them
- They Greet You (And Not Just for Food)
- They Sleep in Strange Positions and Places
- They Enjoy Playing
- Your Cat “Makes Biscuits” Kneads Things
- They Have Good Litter Box Etiquette
- They Are Being Curious
- Your Cat Sleeps on the Bed With You
- You Catch Them Slow Blinking at You
- They Trill or Vibrate Their Tails
- Your Cat Rubs Things Around the Home
- They Don’t Hide!
- You Get Head Bunts
- They Try to Lick and Groom You
- Some Related Questions:
- Wrapping Up
17 Signs of a Happy Indoor Cat
They Have a Nice Shiny Coat
When cats are down, depressed, stressed, or dealing with any other physical or mental issues they stop grooming and looking after themselves as well.
I notice this with my cats when I go away for a couple of weeks. I come back and their fur is matted and dirty because they had some anxiety due to a change in their routine.
Your Cat Is in Good Health
A cat’s general health is also a good indicator of how happy they are. Indoor cats are prone to being overnight, so it’s your job to get them exercising if they’re a bit on the chubby side.
They Are Eating and Drinking Well
Happy and healthy cats eat and drink well. Often a little too well, just look at my last point about making sure your cat gets enough exercise.
Cats should drink several times a day, and eat at least twice a day. Plus a few healthy treats of course.
Your Cat Purrs When You Stoke and Pet Them
Everyone knows a purring cat is a happy cat. There are some instances when purring might not mean they’re happy, but you’ll know your cat well enough to know they’re happy if they’re purring.
Go over and give them a little fussing right now and see how they react. A happy cat can’t resist a good purr!
They Greet You (And Not Just for Food)
First of all, don’t be offended if your cat never greets you. Some cats just don’t. But if they do, it’s a sure sign they like you.
Does your cat ever get under your feet and weave in and out of your legs? Maybe they just rub their cheeks on you. All signs they’re happy and comfortable with you.
They Sleep in Strange Positions and Places
Cats instinctively find somewhere safe and secure to sleep. This is why they typically pick somewhere off ground level, with good visibility, and are always ready to spring up.
They Enjoy Playing
Playing is important for indoor cats. Cats can be lazy creatures, especially if they’re stuck indoors. It’s up to you to make them work a little while playing.
They’ll calm down as they age, of course. But a young cat should find it hard to resist chasing a fly on a stick or a laser pointer dot if they’re in good form.
Your Cat “Makes Biscuits” Kneads Things
I always smile at the term “making biscuits” which is commonly used to describe the treading or kneading motion cats make.
For the most part, cats knead things because it’s comforting to them. It’s the same motion they make to stimulate milk from their mothers, and something only a happy and content cat will do.
They Have Good Litter Box Etiquette
One of the most frustrating things to deal with as a cat owner is litter box issues. Right?
It’s usually one of the first signs that your cat is dealing with a health issue or some anxiety. So, a kitty with perfect litter box etiquette is a good sign all around.
Related – Do you really need more than one litter box?
They Are Being Curious
Cats are curious animals by nature. They like to investigate everything, especially something new. (This means sleeping or sitting on anything you leave out)
They also do daily “checks”. This means they look in each room to see what – if anything – has changed. If your cat isn’t active around the home, it’s not a good sign.
Your Cat Sleeps on the Bed With You
I think I’ve seen and experienced just about everything when it comes to cats and sleeping behaviors over the years.
One thing I know for sure. As annoying as it may be, from your cat’s perspective it should be an honor for you to have them on your bed at night.
When a cat slow blinks at someone it’s supposed to be the equivalent of a kiss. I’m not sure if I’d go that far, but it’s certainly a sign that your cat likes you. Or, maybe even loves you.
See if your cat does it next time they’re chilling out by you. Don’t stare at them to the point that you annoy them. Just gaze over and see if they give you the slow roll.
Related – Why does my cat wink at me.
They Trill or Vibrate Their Tails
Trilling and vibrating of the tail are two cat body languages that usually means they’re happy.
A trill is a noise a cat makes that sounds similar to someone rolling an “r”. A bit like a purr, but more of a one-off noise.
Sticking their tail in the air and shaking it can mean a few things. But very rarely does it mean they are agitated.
Your Cat Rubs Things Around the Home
Cat’s mark their territory and lay claim to things around them by rubbing their scent glands and leaving their scent on stuff.
It’s more relevant outdoors as cats fight for territory. But seeing this behavior indoors is also a reassuring sign that your cat is happy to call home their home.
They Don’t Hide!
One of the most obvious signs of distress for a cat is hiding. It may happen on occasion, especially if they think they saw or heard something that spooked them.
As long as they aren’t hiding on a regular basis you know they’re living a carefree life around the home with nothing bothering them. That’s super important for the long term health of an indoor cat.
You Get Head Bunts
Head “bunting” is another way cats show us affection. A head bunt is basically a head butt. If you’re in close fussing your cat and they give you a head butt, you should feel honored.
The height of trust and love from a cat is often bunting, tuning into rubbing your face and head, leaning into you.
They Try to Lick and Groom You
It’s not the nicest feeling having a sandpaper-like tongue scraping over your skin. But it is a sign that a cat is happy and treating you like one of their own.
Personally, I discourage it. Don’t feel bad about doing so, it’s not going to make them like you any less.
Related – Why does my cat lick me all the time?
Some Related Questions:
Do Indoor Cats Get Depressed?
It’s generally believed that indoor cats are less stressed than outdoor cats. They don’t have the territorial battles to contend with, fights with other cats, and all the other hazards that are present outdoors.
You do have to pay them more attention though. Indoor cats are also at higher risk of being overweight as they burn off less of their explosive energy unless played with often.
How Do I Know If My Cat Is Bored?
Basically, if your cat isn’t checking most of the boxes I covered above for what makes a happy cat- they may well be bored.
It’s up to you to evaluate if they’re bored or not and provide them with stimulation. This means regular playtime and some furniture of their own such as interactive cat trees.
So, how did you get on? What do you think; is your cat bored, sad, happy, or somewhere in the middle?
If you have any concerns about your cat’s wellbeing, I’d get them seen by a vet to rule out any health issues and discuss your thoughts.
From there, I’d address the individual behaviors that are causing you concern on your vet’s advice.
Image credits – Header photo by Kedar Dhond, other photos by Kazuky Akayashi, Jem Sahagun, Brusk Dede, Larry Zhao, and engin akyurt on Unsplash