I have lived all my life with cats and it’s very evident to me when my cats are happy. They purr easily and they want to show me their affection. They are well behaved in terms of their litter habits and they appear relaxed and content. It becomes even more evident how my cats are happy, when I observe situations where they are not happy.
Cats, that are upset in some way, may try to get your attention by various means such as meowing and going up to you for attention while others may sulk quietly and if these initial stages are ignored then they might up the ante with some obvious misbehaving such as peeing where they should not. Litter box issues are often an indication of a cat having an unresolved issue. Some discontent cats will venture off to find another home. I had an orange tabby cat who would run away when we went away on holidays if he was not fed and looked after by a compassionate caregiver.
I have had three cats whose personalities became very irritable and completely different during major transitional periods. In the first instance we adopted a needy kitten that was demanding a lot of mothering attention from our cat, which she gave to the adopted older kitten, but after awhile as the kitten grew our older cat began to resent it. Eventually she adjusted back to her normal relaxed and contented personality, but first she internalized her discontent …and went through some skin sores…that required some healing attention and care.
In the second situation our protective male cats passed away leaving our timid male having to step up to the plate to protect the property and he detested his new role that had been foisted upon him. Our sweet little boy cat would go out the door spit’n and sputter’n with false bravado. It was hard to believe! He seemed like a completely different cat! He was finally able to settle back into his sweet self again after we got a big black male cat who took over the protecting role.
The third situation was where we adopted a kitten and then a week later adopted the mother, but the mom was so distressed with the move that she rejected the kitten. It took her 6 weeks to adjust to the new setting with additional adult cats here that added to her stress, before she relaxed and accepted her kitten again. She is now known for her true lovely lady personality, and is often called ‘the perfect cat’.
All of these cases of discontent cats mentioned here exhibited subtle traits that originated in problems of coping with a new and demanding situation. Too much stress in a cat’s life is not healthy for them just in the same way that it’s not healthy for humans.
My life experience with cats has proven to me over and over that cats have feelings and their emotional needs vary. Tuning in to your cat’s feelings and needs requires patience and a willingness to do so.