How To Make Your Cat Happy [Everything You Should Know]

Think your cat is unhappy? Or are you just trying to be the best owner ever and show your cat some extra love? Here are all the ways to make your cat happy (and then we talk about signs of an unhappy cat).

How to Make Your Cat Happy

Now that you’re able to tell when your feline friend is feeling sad or depressed, how can you go about making it happy? Lucky for you, cats aren’t as demanding as dogs when it comes to their need of attention. You can make a cat happy by using a few of the following tips:

Provide Proper Nutrition

A lot of us cat owners make the mistake of not providing our pets with the right diet. Without the right diet, your cat’s well being may be put in jeopardy. A common problem that a domesticated pet may face if not fed properly is obesity. First and foremost, you need to buy your feline friend high-quality cat food. In addition, make sure that the food you buy is appropriate for its age.

The term ‘high-quality’ is very broad when it comes to pet food. If you’re not sure which brand to go with, we highly recommend consulting with your veterinarian. (or check out our Food page where we do several food reviews). As far as how much you should feed your cat, most pet food packages tend to indicate such information. However, you shouldn’t take such information to heart since a lot of manufacturers give estimates instead of exact numbers.

If you aren’t sure how much you should feed your cat, you can try to deduce the right quantity by observing your cat’s weight loss or weight gain. You could also consult with a veterinarian. Another thing you need to be careful with is treats. Only give your feline friend a treat every now and then so he or she doesn’t get too “plump”. 🙂

Lastly, you shouldn’t leave anything that a cat may find tasty without supervision. Foods such as fish or meat should be kept away from a cat’s reach unless you know it’s safe (meaning no bones or dangerous chemicals). It’s important to remember that a feline can  jump high, meaning that any food left on your kitchen counter can end up in your cat’s belly. The road to happiness and well being for a feline starts with maintaining a proper diet.

Always Provide Fresh Water

To stay healthy and happy, your cat must have access to fresh and clean water at all times. This is especially important if your cat’s diet consists of a lot of dry foods that contain only about 10% water, in contrast with wet foods that are comprised of about 80% water. We recommend having multiple bowls of fresh water around the house so that your cat can quench its thirst anywhere.

It also came to our attention that there are cats that aren’t quite fond of consuming water from a bowl. This type of cats like to get their share of water directly from a water source like a tap in a kitchen or bathroom. Of course, you don’t want to walk into your kitchen to see your cat trying to quench its thirst in the kitchen sink, so we recommend buying a water source for your cat.

Give Your Cat Enough Attention

Contrary to popular belief, cats do require a good deal of attention. Felines do seem like they’re self-sufficient and that they don’t mind spending most of their time by themselves, which is true to a certain extent. However, that doesn’t mean that they’re not in need of your attention. You’re going to need to give your cat some attention on a daily basis so that it doesn’t feel ignored.

Tabby Cat in the hands of owner.

There are plenty of ways you can keep your cat company. You can simply pet your feline on its favorite spots and run your fingers on its fur. Another way you can give your kitty some attention is by cuddling with it every day. Alternatively, and this is one of our personal favorites, just grab a laser pointer and start playing with your cat. This will keep it active and happy.

Offer Safe Outdoor Access

If your cat is vocal about going outside, then you want to let it out for a while. However, we don’t all live in safe places where going outside is safe for our pets. You may live across a road where cars are always speeding, which can be extremely dangerous for cats. If the vicinity around your house is safe, then by all means, let your cat go outside but keep an eye on it.

If letting your cat go outside without supervision isn’t an option, you should consider a screened porch, catio, or any sort of enclosure that will allow your cat to enjoy the outdoors without putting its life in jeopardy. You can also consider fencing your yard or maybe cat-proofing a balcony. It’s also possible to take your cat on a walk after leash-training it first.

If bringing you cat outside is just not an option, how about you bring the outdoors in? This is an easy task, actually. All you need to do is get a catnip plant or fresh cat grass from your nearest pet supply store. Other cat-safe plants include lemongrass, rosemary, cat thyme, mint, parsley, silver vine, valerian, and spider plants. You can also plant your own plants from seed.

Another thing you can do to bring the outdoors inside is to things that a cat would play with if it was outside such as tree leaves or branches. It also came to our attention that some cat owners play recorded bird sounds on their stereos to replicate the outdoors environment. This will surely intrigue you cat and send it on a mission to find that hidden bird that it can hear.

Maintain a Hygienic Environment

Like we’ve already mentioned, cats are fastidious groomers and huge hygiene enthusiasts. Part of your responsibility as a cat owner is to provide your feline with a clean environment. If you fail to do so, your cat may become very unhappy. This is why it’s important to keep your place clean and organized. Also, if you notice any sticking dirt on your cat’s fur, it’s time for a bath.

When it comes to providing a hygienic environment, your main focus should be on the cat’s litter box. Ideally, you want to clean it on a daily basis because a dirty litter box can result in your kitty not using it at all. As a consequence, your feline may start urinating or defecating in other places around the house, and we’re quite certain you don’t want any urine on your precious bed.

Another thing you want to pay attention to when it comes to a cat’s litter box is its location. Your feline has to approve of the location where its toilet is placed in order to use it. If your feline isn’t fond of its toileting place, it’ll avoid using it or it’ll use it without being too content about it. Ideally, you want to keep the litter box in a private place and to keep it away from food and water.

Provide a Scratchy Surface

Cats have claws, and their way of sharpening their claws and relaxing their bodies is scratching. To help your cat meet its scratching needs without ruining your furniture or carpets, you can buy a scratching post. However, before you do that, you need to observe your feline’s scratching, as there are cats that like to scratch vertically, while there are others that like to do so horizontally.

Give Your Cat Some Alone Time

Cats value their privacy and alone time very dearly. Often times, you’ll find your cat lying in quiet and private places, away from prying eyes. Now that you’re aware of this, you can help your cat by setting up a private place where it can go to whenever it feels like being alone. All your feline needs is a cardboard box as its hideaway, so you don’t really need to buy a certain product.

Provide Entertainment

In order to make sure that your feline’s psychological health is well-maintained, you must have a few toys around that’ll help keep it entertained and stimulated. Keep in mind that in its essence, your feline is a hunter, and it’s important for your cat to stay in tune with that side of its nature to keep it psychologically healthy. You can either buy these toys or build them yourself.

happy young woman playing with cat. Girl with her cat. Owner playing with cute funny cat at home, closeup

Apart from playing with your cat using a laser pointer, you can attach a piece of string on a post or a door knob, attach a small ball at the end of the string, and just watch your cat play for hours on end. Another thing you can do is just give your cat a small ball and just watch it chase it as if it’s a mouse. Buying a scratching post is also a great way to entertain your feline.

Signs Your Cat Is Happy

  • Playfulness – If your cat is playing regularly, it’s a surefire indication that it’s happy. Just keep in mind that as felines mature, they become less playful and active, which is totally fine. This doesn’t mean that mature cats don’t play at all. To put it simply, any amount of play is a good indication of happiness.
  • Grooming – Unhappy cats often slack on their grooming activities, so if your cat is feeling good, it’ll always look clean and well-groomed. Further, happy cats tend to groom other cats. Not only that, but they like to lick their owners too, which is a great indication of happiness and trust.
  • Eating – If you feline is happy and healthy, it’s appetite will also be healthy. However, you must not overfeed your cat thinking that this will make it happier. On the contrary, by you overfeeding your cat, it becomes more prone to obesity, which will result in unhappiness in the long run. So be careful and don’t fall for your cat’s innocent face.
  • Vocalization – A happy cat will make sure you know that it’s happy. The vocal clues that a happy cat produces tend to be purrs or high-pitched, in contrast with the sad, low-pitched ones. If your cat is a quiet one and doesn’t often communicate with vocalization, it’s more than likely going to opt for silence express happiness and will choose to vocalise only when it’s unhappy.
  • Body Language – The resting position that a cat opts for speaks volumes about whether it’s happy or sad. If your cat’s front paws tend to be tucked under when it’s resting and its ears are tucked forward, this means that your cat is content. In addition, if you stare at a cat from a distance and it blinks at you, it’s an indication of happiness. Check out our guide on cat body language to learn more.

Signs of an Unhappy Cat

  • Diminished Appetite – One of the most obvious indications that your feline friend is sad or depressed is if it stops eating all of a sudden. Most felines tend to have a favorite treat that they just can’t brush off. If you present your cat with its favorite food and it shows no interest in eating it, it could be sad or depressed.
  • Vocal Indications – Cats make a whole lot of noises, from meowing to purring. However, there are audible sounds that cats make when they’re unhappy that you should pay very close attention to. Such noises tend to be mournful, low-pitched, and hard to perceive as happy noises. Louder cats tend to opt for silence when unhappy, while the quiet ones do the opposite. Further, don’t always think of a cat’s purring as a happiness indicator, as a lot of cats opt for purring as a means of comforting themselves when unhappy.
  • Longer Sleep – Generally, felines like to sleep a lot. However, if your kitty is showing an increased interest in sleep that exceeds the usual, it could be sad or depressed. Further, cats tend to have a favorite sleeping spot that they don’t change very often. If your cat is napping in places that it didn’t nap at previously, it could be an indication of sadness.
  • Clinginess – A cat that’s sad or depressed may become clingy or demanding of you. It’ll try to make you notice that it’s sad by hanging around you and rubbing against you more than it usually does. In addition, your cat may display no interest in activities that used to keep it engaged.
  • Reclusive – Alternatively, an unhappy cat may opt for solitude and become reclusive. It’ll also opt for hiding in places that are out of sight. Consider it as your feline’s way of being mad at you for not spending time with it or paying it the attention it needs from you. Also, your cat’s fear of strangers could increase significantly if it’s sad or depressed.
  • Body Indications – There a few body language signs that indicate unhappiness for cats. If your cat’s tail is tucked back or if its ears are held back, there’s a possibility that it’s not feeling so well. In addition, an unhappy cat may lie around without doing anything or you can find it standing on end. Cats also tend to behave like children when they’re unhappy, they may give you the silent treatment for a while.
  • Poor Grooming – We all know that cats are fastidious groomers, but when a feline is in a state of sadness or depression, it won’t pay close attention to its grooming habits that much. As a result, you’ll likely see your cat’s coat looking unkempt and messy.
  • Aggressive Behaviour – An unhappy cat is likely to display unusual acts of aggression. Moreover, sad cats tend to scratch objects more than they usually do. This is a cat’s way of marking territory and comforting itself. If your cat starts acting aggressively or fearfully, it’s likely in a sad or depressed state.
  • Spraying – The final indication that your cat may be sad is spraying. Your cat may start to urinate in places other than its litter box in order to spread their scent. Cats find smelling their own scent comforting. However, this isn’t always an indication of sadness, there are a few other reasons why your cat may start spraying.

fat tabby cat sleep on the table indoor

Final Words

While our feline buddies tend to display acts of self-sufficiency and walk around our houses like kings and queens as if they own the place, their happiness partially counts on us as cat owners and it’s our responsibility to make our pets feel happy and healthy. Hopefully, the information we provided today has given you enough insight with regards to how you can make your cat happy.

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