Can Cats Laugh? [And Other Ways To Know They’re Happy]

Is your cat happy to be around you? They may seem like they actually understand what you are saying and seem even happy at certain times.

You may even get the impression that your cat is laughing.  But can your cat really laugh as people can?

Below I’ll go over everything you’ve wanted to know about cats and laughter.

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Can Your Cat Laugh?

No, your cat cannot technically laugh, but they have other signs to show that they are happy.  Purring is your cat’s main way of expressing that they are happy. 

Some people even consider purring as equivalent to cat laughter. That’s fine, but it’s not technically the same.

What signs does a cat show when they are happy?

While your cat cannot laugh, they can do other things that show you that they are happy. A recent study shows that cats do bond with their owners, and this bonding experience can help your cat be happy.  

Sometimes it can be hard to tell whether your cat it truly happy or not. Here are a few things that your cat may do that would show you that your cat is happy. 

1. Cat is Purring

Purring is often a sign that your cat is happy. If your cat is purring, this is the closest vocalization you would get to your cat laughing. 

Purring can also be your cat’s way of helping them stay calm. If your cat is stressed, the gentle soft purr can be their way of helping them soothe themselves.  

2. Cat is Smiling

There are many cute pictures of cats smiling on the internet.  This is one way that you can tell if your cat is happy. 

While all cats do not smile, a simple grin can show that your cat is happy and content. Some cats will be happy even if they are not smiling, as some breeds of cats always look grumpy. 

This is different from your cat baring their teeth, which is often aggressive and warning behavior to leave them alone. A cat’s smile is simply a relaxed, neutral, expression on their face with their mouth closed.

3. Cat is Running Against Your Legs

If your cat is happy, they may rub against your leg.  When you are walking, they are running all around, rubbing on your leg. 

They may do this more when you first get home from work showing you that they are happy and excited that you are home. 

4. Cat is “Making Biscuits” on You

Kneading or making biscuits on you is a sign that your cat is happy.  Many cats do this when they are content and happy.

This is something that they learn from when they were kittens when they knead their mother while drinking milk.  Making biscuits on you is a sign of complete contentment in a cat. 

5. Cat Meows to Greet You

When you first get home from work or when your cat wakes up from their nap, they may meow at you. This is their way of talking to you and telling you that they are excited to see you.

The pitch of your cat’s meow will also help you determine if they are happy to see you.  Most cats that are happy to see their owners will have a very high pitch and very loud meow.

If your cat is scared or hurt, it may be a lower, more screeching meow or yowl. 

6. Cat Cuddles with You

If your cat is happy and loves you, they will come to cuddle with you. When you are sleeping or sitting on the couch, your cat will want to be right there with you. 

When they are sleeping, they may even purr to show you that they are happy to be around you. These are all signs that your cat is happy and content.  


Do cats know when people laugh?

If your cat just did something cute or funny, you may have laughed at them.  Your cat will know that you are laughing at them. 

Cats are very aware of their owner’s reactions and feelings.  They are great at sensing when you are happy, sad, or even sick. 

If you laughed at your cat, they may even seem to get embarrassed and hide.  Some cats are more outgoing and love to be the center of attention, while others are shyer and will hide if they think that you are laughing at them. 

Your cat may even do things on purpose to make you laugh at them.  Cats are always getting into mischief. 

If you have a cat that is very personable and loves attention, they may do things to make you laugh and get your attention. 

What sounds do cats make when they are happy?

The most common sound that a cat will make when they are happy is a purr. This can be heard when they are eating or when you are petting them. 

They may even just be sitting in your lap purring, letting you know that they are happy to be near you.

Another sound that your cat can make, letting you know that they are happy, is a meow. Your cat likely has a high pitch loud meow to tell you that they are happy with you.

This will usually be many meows in a row.  This is your cat’s way of communicating with you.  You may even meow back at them to let them know that you also love them. 

Final Thoughts

While your cat cannot laugh at you, they can show you signs that they are happy.  Purring and rubbing against you are two common things that cats do when they are happy. 

Watch your cat for these signs to know for sure.  Your cat may even do things to make you happy. 

Cats are always getting into things causing you to laugh at them.  If your cat is happy and healthy, this will increase the bond between you and your cat. 

Stephanie Mantilla curiosity trained header logo holding black cat
Stephanie Mantilla

Positive Reinforcement Trainer & Enrichment Specialist

Stephanie has over 12 years of experience training and enriching exotic animals as a Zookeeper. During this time, she received a certificate in Behavioral Husbandry from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums and is an expert in animal behavior.
In her free time, she uses positive reinforcement to train her numerous pets at home and is always thinking up creative ways to prevent her pets from getting bored. On Curiosity Trained, Stephanie now helps people make their pets’ lives better by giving them easy to follow tips and science-backed information.

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