Happy Or Sad, How To Decypher Your Cats Complex Moods.
Updated: Mar 9
Even after hundreds of years, sharing our homes and our hearts with our beloved felines.
How is it that they still remain our little fur-covered anomalies when it comes to understanding their feelings.
Of course, a cat’s happiness seems obvious, as they purr in your arms, and there’s no mistaking an angry hissing cat, but these emotions are short-lived. What about the overall temperament of your feline friend?
So just how do we know if our furry family member is a happy or sad?
Since humans and cats obviously don’t speak the same language, we don’t always have the ability to communicate as well as we would like, although sometimes when my kitty “Oliver” and I talk, it feels like we really understand each other. For those of us who could use a little help understanding our cats needs, here are some helpful signs you may have an unhappy cat on your hands.
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#1 - A Lazier than normal cat. Is your cat a couch potato?
Cat lovers know this is a hard one to decipher. Our beloved Kitties can snooze anywhere from 12 to 16 hours a day, so it’s not so unusual to witness a cat sleeping anywhere they find a cozy spot, but when your cat is awake, how is their behavior? Are they lying around instead of snooping and nosing like a curious kitties do? Will toys still get your cat to play and be silly or does their reaction seem less than enthusiastic as they turn and walk away?
If this is the case with your furry family member, then something might be dragging your fur-baby down in the dumps.
Now let’s keep in mind that indoor cats can get bored just like a human can, cats require plenty of stimulation to help keep them active, but over time a cat can begin to mimic their human parent, taking up a lifestyle of lazing about that isn’t healthy. Like humans, a couch potato lifestyle can lead to a host of health problems for your cat as well. When your four-legged family member begins to age, you’ll might notice a gradual slowdown of course, but complete inactivity is not normal at any stage in your cat’s life. Seek medical advice for a cat who seems to have lost their interest in activities.
A cats Body language can tell us a great deal about what a cat is feeling. It’s completely normal for them to lash out when angry and purr when happy. But these are short-lived reactions that quickly pass. If your cat is constantly walking around on edge, avoiding their favorite chin rubs or showing no interest in playing with favorite toys, then your cat is telling you something by saying nothing.
Cats use their body to speak. Watch their body language to pick up clues. Standing fur, ears pinned back, or a tail that is constantly lashing back and forth are just a few of the ways cats communicate distress. Watch for the postures of an unhappy cat. If the actions are constant, it might be time to make some changes.
Here’s a short list of tips to keep your cat happy and active:
(1 - Climbing)
Climbing is a natural activity during outdoor life for a cat, but living inside comes with limited opportunity to flex the climbing muscles. Simply installing cat ledges, hammocks or placing cat trees in key spots, their boredom can be greatly alleviated.
(2 - Scratching posts)
These should be placed around your home will help bust your kitties boredom. Cats scratch on things for a multitude of reasons everything from marking territory, stretching, to just keeping their sharp claws manicured.
(3 - Toys are key)
This will help keep your cat entertained, but they can be picky, this we know. Just because you think that squeaky mouse covered in glitter and shinny things is adorable, doesn’t mean your cat will.
According to Veterinary Medicine professionals, cats have what’s called a “prey preference.” Some are drawn to toys that mimic feathers and wild birds, while others might prefer dangling bells or strings. It might be a toy that creates noise, like chirps or squeaks, that will send your fur-baby over the moon.
(4 - Maybe training your cat to walk on a leash.)
It sounds crazy, but some cats love a nice stroll with their human. My kitty “Oliver” loves his daily walks and he is better on a leash than some dogs, so much so I have called him my little puppy.
#2 - Hiding For Long Periods:
Even though we understand that cats are natural-born hiders. The level of their skill can sometimes be alarming to the human who is looking for them. But eventually cats will come out of their hiding spot when there ready, usually when they get hungry for some dinner or just a good snuggle from their pet parent.
On the other hand, an unhappy cat will hide, as well, whether out of fear or illness, a cat who no longer wants to hang out with his family is experiencing some sort of turmoil.
While hiding from strangers in the house is a normal response for some cats and kittens, when your kitty continually avoids loved ones, this is a sign something is wrong. If your cat is going out of his way to avoid you and your snuggles, you could be the one of the sources of stress your cat is reacting to.
Now don’t take it personally cats are simply unpredictable, there is no doubt about that. One minute your furry friend is bathing peacefully on the couch, suddenly all that’s seen is an invisible force shooting through the room like a bullet. Cats can experience fear and feel stress just like us. When that fear and stress are a constant, anxiety can definitely create an unhappy cat.
Try to remember that a good number of animal species cope with new experiences by cowering, hiding from the unknown, so how do we determine when normal fear has shifted into crippling anxiety?
If your worried anxiety is affecting your cat’s happiness, or maybe you suspect your cat has developed anxiety issues, make an appointment with the vet. To discuss solutions for your cat and do plenty of research. There are ways you can help fight their anxiety. Helping your kitty Feel safe and comfortable again.
#3 - More Frequent Meowing:
Cats tend to be on the dramatic side when it comes to personalities, giving long and sad meows as a sign of their displeasure. They like to cry out about their food bowls being empty or their satisfied state of fullness, but sometimes that cry can be misinterpreted. So, if you believe your cat seems to meow or moan more frequently about food, even when the bowl is full, then they might be trying to tell you something else entirely.
There are a number of diseases that may cause a cat to feel unusually hungry, thirsty, restless or irritable, any of which is likely to prompt meowing. Even if your fur-baby has a history of meowing for food, you should still consider having them checked by your veterinarian, as a precaution.
If your cat receives a clean bill of health, then it might just mean your kitty really wants some extra attention and time with their human. After all, they do love us as much as we love them. Next time your cat gets loud, give him some playful hugs and snuggles. Love and affection are often the strongest tools in helping an unhappy cat, and might just be all the remedy your kitty needs.
#4 - Packing on the pounds or Picky Kitty:
Cats can be food crazed monsters. Really, I believe eating is one of their favorite things to do. So, if if you notice a sudden loss of interest, your little fur-ball with the endless belly stops loving food, something could be upsetting your four-legged family member.
The problem could be something as simple as a newly developed dislike for their food. Cats who have eaten the same brand of food for a long period of time, can decide they don’t care for it anymore. They’re picky like that. It might be they’ve grown bored with their current food or the lack of variety. This could be due to the fact that in the wild, cats hunt different types of prey, offering them a large selection to choose from. At home, the choice is removed and can lead to a case of picky kitty. Try changing it up a bit with a few new selections for your cat to choose from.
Also, just like humans a cat won’t eat when their mouths are in pain. Dental problems are a serious concern, but are a common issue in aging cats.
The three most common dental problems in cats are periodontitis, gingivitis and tooth resorption with varying levels of severity.
Overeating can be a sign of an Unhappy cat as well. While chubby cats are super cute and cuddly, it could be a sign of some serious issues, if your trim kitty suddenly seems to pack on the pounds.
Either the cat is unhappy or you may have some health problems on your hands, like diabetes. This could become a concern, might be a good idea to have them in for a check-up. If introducing new food doesn’t solve the undereating issue or the overeating continues to be overwhelming, might be time to visit your veterinarian, as a precaution.
Also be sure the cat’s water dish is always filled with fresh and clean water. You can add some fun to your kitties drinking by purchasing a water fountain for animals. The bubbling water encourages drinking and provides hydration and entertainment for your furry friend.
#5 - Self cleaning to much or not enough:
Cats can be obsessed, when it comes to their cleanliness. The pride taken in grooming reflects a cat’s care about their little persons. cats spend 30% of their time grooming. Beyond a want to feel clean, grooming can calm a cat down when their feeling out of sorts.
If all of a sudden you notice your kitty disregarding the care to keep their paws and tails immaculate, maybe check in with your kitty and see what’s going on. A cat that stops bathing is turning away from self-care for a reason, whether they’re depressed or ill, this should be looked into.
But cats who spend too much time licking and grooming their fur can cause baldness and a serious skin irritation. If your vet can’t find a physical cause for overgrooming, the diagnosis could come back as psychogenic alopecia, this is a compulsive disorder that can usually be brought on by stress or anxiety.