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Do Cats Laugh?

Ed Malaker

By Ed Malaker

Grey British Shorthair happy cat

Cats and humans share many traits, so it’s not uncommon to wonder if cats can laugh. Sad as it may seem, the answer is no, cats cannot physically laugh. Continue reading while we look at why people might think their cat is laughing and the causes behind it. We’ll also discuss how cats show emotion, how to tell if they are happy, and whether cats have a sense of humor to help you learn more about your pet.

Laugh Reaction

If you have owned a cat long enough, you have likely seen it make many more facial expressions than you ever thought were possible. Some of these expressions might look like your cat is smiling or even laughing, and if you notice it after you’ve done something foolish, it can be hard to believe it isn’t laughing at you! However, you are likely to fall victim to anthropomorphizing, which is when you attribute human traits to an animal.

Siberian cat with open mouth
Image Credit: Sunykiller, Pixabay

Do Cats Have Emotions?

Though cats don’t laugh, they do have several facial expressions that we can learn to read, and many of these seem to convey your pet’s mood. When something happens unexpectedly, especially when playing, your cat can have a surprised look with upright ears and wide eyes. This happy appearance is distinctly different from a cat that’s startled or frightened, even though it will also have erect ears and wide eyes.

As you bond and spend time with your cat, you will notice several other expressions, and you can tell if the cat likes or dislikes someone who walks into the room, if it smells or tastes something bad, and if it’s tired. These are just a few of the many expressions that you might see your cat make.

How Can I Tell If My Cat Is Happy

Since cats don’t laugh or smile, many people wonder how they can tell if their cat is happy. Let’s take a look at the telltale signs.

happy cat outside
Image Credit: islam zarat, Shutterstock


Vocal cats tend to be happy cats. Cats don’t vocalize in the wild because it would give up their position. Only captive cats that are trying to get the attention of their owner tend to meow a lot. That’s not to say every meow you hear is a happy one. The cat will also meow to let you know it’s hungry or if there is a problem. However, when the vocalizations continue and sound more like talking or singing, there is a good chance your cat is expressing its happiness.


Purring is one of the surest signs that your cat is happy. While cats can also purr at other times, like when they feel threatened or need medical attention, if your cat starts to purr when you pet it, there is a really good chance it enjoys your company and is happy to be there.

yawning and purring british shorthair kitten
Image Credit: Dmitry Kalinovsky, Shutterstock

Slow Blinking

Another common way to tell if your cat is happy is to look for the slow blink. The slow blink is when your cat sits at a distance from you and stares at you while slowly blinking its eyes. Slow blinking is a sure sign that your cat likes you and that it is happy in its environment.

Watch the Ears

The ears are one of the most expressive parts of your cat, and you can tell a lot about your cat by learning to watch the ears. Flattened ears mean the cat is tense or angry, while upright ears mean the cat is alert and happy. The more forward the ears are, the more relaxed it is. Ears that move around are trying to focus on something.

kitten lying on a pieces of paper on the table
Image By: birgl, Pixabay


The cat also gives away a lot of its emotions through its tail. A tail that’s sticking straight up or looks like a question mark is often the sign of a happy cat. Happy cats also often wrap their tails around the legs of humans that they like. Cats that swing their tail back and forth rapidly are feeling anxious, and they might even smack their tail off the floor to show their discontentment. A puffy tail often means that the cat is afraid, and a scared cat might also tuck its tail between its legs.


Another thing that happy cats do is repeatedly press their paws into a soft object like a pillow or blanket.  This action resembles a baker kneading dough, which is where it gets its name. Some owners believe that cats knead because it reminds them of their mother since newborn kittens perform a similar action to get milk. Cats will only knead when they feel comfortable and safe, which probably means they are happy.


Unfortunately, cats do not laugh. However, they can express themselves in various other ways, including through facial expressions, tail movements, and vocalizations. Cats are experts at hiding their emotions, but you will be able to read them as you spend time with your cat. Once you can communicate with your cat, you have a better chance of providing better care, leading to a happier cat.

We hope you have enjoyed reading over this short guide and found the answers you need. If we have helped you understand your pet better, please share our look into if cats can laugh on Facebook and Twitter.

Featured Image Credit: PHOTOCREO Michal Bednarek, Shutterstock

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