Is that a smile on my cat’s face?

Ginger cat smile affectionately

As loving pet parents, our cats’ happiness is incredibly important to us. We are sure that you are interested in knowing if your cat is really happy so that you can continue to do what makes them happy and bring them opportunities that bring them happiness. So, how do you know if your cat is smiling? In this article, Letgetpet will help you understand the signs to look out for to determine whether your cat is happy and has a smile on their face.

Learn to recognize your cat’s smile

Cats express their happiness differently than dogs, which can be complicated for us as owners to decipher, especially if you are not familiar with your cats behavior. Many cat parents wonder if their cat is really smiling because is can often seem like our cats look bored. However, cats smile much more than one might think.

According to a study published in the scientific journal Nature, a cat’s smile can be expressed through a cat blinking their eyes slowly. They can even wink slowly in an intentional way. Another sign that a cat is smiling is when they slightly close their eyes. If you notice that your cat’s eyes are closing but not completely closed, your cat is smiling at you sweetly.

You need to succeed in differentiating a real smile from a grimace that can resemble this. For example, a cat can have an expression that resembles a smile when it is not the case. Cats have olfactive receptors on their palate. When they sniff with their mouth open, you might be under the impression that they are smiling, while they are actually just smelling something.

Smile back at your cat

It is important to understand your cat’s attitude to be able to respond. Smiling back is an excellent way to encourage your cat to trust you, especially if you adopted your cat not so long ago.

Keep in mind that cats smile only at people that inspire trust and safety. In order to establish a strong bond with your cat, you need to learn to smile like they do. Researchers have discovered a useful technique to encourage and maintain contact with cats. This method is called the “slow blink sequence”.

If you want to know if your cat is smiling, try following these simple steps:

  • find a moment when your cat is relaxed,
  • put yourself right in front of your cat while they are staring at you,
  • start by blinking slowly without closing your eyes entirely,
  • open your eyes gently and keep them slightly closed,
  • repeat this until your cat starts to understand and does the same.

While following the steps to the “slow blink sequence” technique, try not to completely close your eyelids. Your expression needs to be natural and you need to look at ease. It is important to not look uncomfortable. Try to smile at your cat without holding out your arms. Wait for your cat to do the same before caressing them or touching them. They will trust your more and will not hesitate to smile more often. To elevate your chances of your cat smiling, practice in from of a mirror before doing this in front of your pet. This will prevent you from frightening or bothering your cat.

Recognize a happy cat to encourage smiling

While it goes without saying, a cat needs to be happy to be able to smile naturally. But how can we identify moments when our feline friends are truly at ease. Here are a few signs to look out for!

Body language

When a cat is happy, their body language will show that they are completely relaxed. If they are lying down for example and you notice that their paws are under their body, this means that they are completely at peace and happy in that moment. At times like these, you can smile and you should receive a smile back in return.

Is their tail held high and slightly folded at the end? This is a sign that they are in a good mood and happy to see you. This is also the case is their ears are turns towards the front of their face and are standing tall. In addition, if your cat blinks slowly while staring at your, this is their way of smiling at you or saying hello. Observing your cat’s whiskers are also a great way to tell if your cat is happy. When cats are happy, their whiskers fan out on the sides of their face.

Daily habits

The first habit that should show you that your cat is happy is the quality of their sleep. As you may already know, cats love sleeping. If they are healthy and have multiple cat naps a day, this is a sign of happiness. A happy cat is also interested in playing and will get moving in no time, especially if you initiated the game.

If your pet is more active after being unhappy, this means that their anger has disappeared and that they are in a better mood now. Purring is also a great indication of a cat’s emotional state. If they purr when you are both comfortably sitting on the couch, they are without a doubt at ease and joyful.

A cat with a large appetite is also happy. Does your cat eat enough and purr satisfactorily after finishing their bowl. At times like these, you might receive a smile as a thank you during these moments. They can also be in a good mood if you give them their favorite treats. With that being said, do not smother them with niceties to stay on their good terms. Healthy eating habits are essential to helping your pet staying in good helath.

The best ways to make your cat happy

Contrary to what one might think, cats need just as much love and attention as dogs. Works published in 2019 in the scientific journal Current biology show that cats consider their owners to be their parents. Consequently, you should show them all the love that you feel with concrete actions.

Tell your cat “I love you”

Smiling is not the only way to prove your affection for your cat. You can also tell them you love them in cat language. To do this, find a moment when your cat is relax and wait for them to look at you. When they do, attempt the “slow blink sequence” with them by looking at them with kindness and closing your eyes gently. Do not close them completely, and then open them gently again.

You can repeat this several times and then wait. It it is highly plausible that your cat does this as well to show their love in return. If they come towards you for a hug, make sure to hug them back. Be sure to respond positively to their requests for affection. Caress their cheeks, their chin, their neck, and the space between their ears. Try to follow what your cat likes. They will send you signs to show you whether you should continue or not.

For advice on how to caress cats correctly, check out this Letsgetpet article.

Cat playing with toy
When it comes to a cat’s happiness, play time is just as important as cuddle time.

Play with your cat

Cats need to interact with their human owners daily. While caresses are an excellent way to make them happy, play time is just as important. Playing allows cats to get the exercise they need and allows you to interact with them. Your bond will therefore be stronger and you will be able to create a close bond together.

Educate your cat with kindness

Cats blossom more in a peaceful and welcoming environment. Even though they can get into trouble, keep in mind that they are not doing it on purpose to annoy you. Punishing them is therefore not the best solution to train and educate them. When you yell at a cat, you are making them stressed and also making them afraid of you. Educating them with kindness instead, without yelling, is the most useful way for you to gain their trust and show your affection.