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Home > Cats > What Do Cats Like? 10 Things That Make Them Happy

What Do Cats Like? 10 Things That Make Them Happy

cat playing with catnip toy

When we share a home with our furry little felines, their happiness is paramount. After all, you are the prime person responsible for ensuring they are safe, well-fed, and emotionally fulfilled.

But what can you do to enhance your cat’s quality of life? It’s surprisingly simple.


The 10 Things That Make Cats Happy:

1. Provide Good Scratching Surfaces

  • Purpose: Exercise, damage prevention

It probably didn’t take long after you brought home your first kitty to understand how crucial cat scratchers are. If you value your belongings, you know you have two choices—you can either forfeit your lovely fabrics or buy a scratching post.

Cats need a variety of scratching surfaces to keep their attention. Different textures include sisal rope, sisal fabric, cardboard, and carpet. Each of these materials provides a different texture and tension so your cat can exercise the muscles in its front legs.

The motion of shredding benefits more than just physical activity, it also helps your cat shed dead portions of their nails to keep their claws fresh and sharp.

Some cats are more interested in scratching surfaces than others, so consider the individual cat’s activity level. Regardless of their interest, it’s vital to offer some scratching surface, as all cats need to sharpen their claws.

2. Cozy Napping Spots

  • Purpose: Safety, comfort

We all know cats love a good napping spot. Some cats prefer having secluded napping spots, while others don’t mind being out in the open. These cats can fall asleep just about anywhere after a long grooming session, whether it is a cozy plush cat bed in the corner or a window hammock.

Knowing the difference can make your cat feel safe and secure. Over time, you might learn that they love certain materials or designs and shop accordingly. Also, there are tons of cute DIY ideas floating around the web on making your own cat bed for your beloved felines.

3. Adventuring and Exploring

  • Purpose: Mental stimulation

All cats love a good adventure from time to time. When a cat is too bored, they’re going to get into mischief just to make up for that. Even if you can’t let your cat explore the great outdoors, you can still cater to their sense of adventure in the home.

Thanks to the ever-expanding toy market, there are so many cool ideas for climbers and explorers, like:

  • Cat exercise wheels
  • Cat caves
  • Wall mounts and perches
  • Suspended bridges
  • Cat trees and play centers

Not only can you make or buy designs your cat will love, but it can also totally throw together the aesthetic of your home.

Main coon cats resting in scratching post perches
Photo By: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

4. Tasty, Mouth-Watering Snacks

  • Purpose: Rewarding, pleasure

What kind of cat would turn down a delicious treat? Not many, that’s for sure. Anytime you are proud of your cat, giving them a treat is a sweet reward they are sure to enjoy. These little love nudges show your kitty that they are loved and cared for—and they will respond with equal affection.

Obesity, especially in fixed and aging cats, is a real health concern. Please don’t overdo it. While snacks are terrific in moderation, try not to overfeed your cat. Chubby cats are adorable, but those extra pounds can lead to unwanted ailments like feline diabetes and organ malfunction.

5. Fresh Food & Water

  • Purpose: Optimal health

It might seem like a no-brainer, but having a freshwater source and routine feeding schedule is super important when you have a cat. They rely on consistent meals and deserve to have clean water, which prevents bacteria growth and potential sickness.

If they are eating out of unsanitary bowls, it can cause some pretty severe illnesses, and it doesn’t make your cat very happy at all. Also, make sure to throw out any old food and replace it with fresh food daily.

You might even try a self-watering bowl to keep a constant flow for ultimate freshness. They have tons of options on sites like Amazon and Chewy.

sphynx cat eating hepper nom nom cat food bowl

6. Interactive and Solo Play

  • Purpose: Exercise, stimulation

Cats can indeed entertain themselves for the most part. But that doesn’t mean they don’t want some time pairing up with a playmate. You or someone in the home can have lots of fun play sessions with your cat by offering interactive toys and activities.

However, it’s just as cool to get your cat toys that will operate themselves and are generally rechargeable or require batteries. These interactive toys create the sensation of mutual play without having another party around.

7. A Variety of Toys

  • Purpose: Channels energy

Just like us, cats get sick of the same old thing. If they have the same old boring toys day after day, they’re going to lose interest and start to seek out other things that aren’t for them.

The internet is crawling with commercial cat toy options catering to every play style imaginable. You can get a series of toys or stock up on their favorites to ensure they always have something to do. These days, manufacturers are getting even crazier, creating cat wheels and crazy playsets for felines.

You can even get on sites like Pinterest to do a DIY project that is super affordable and easy to craft.

a cat playing with toys
Photo By: winni-design, Shutterstock

8. Affection & Attention

  • Purpose: Safety, comfort

Every cat’s tolerance for affection will be different. Some cats are incredibly lovable, never wanting to give you a moment’s peace. Other cats are more aloof and after themselves, not requiring as much attention.

But regardless of your cat’s affectionate nature, every cat sometimes needs cuddles from their humans. Because it can vary, use your best judgment. If it seems like your cat could use some extra love—or they keep coming up to you for attention—take a moment to give them some scratches and kisses.

9. A Clean Environment

  • Purpose: Promotes good hygiene and litter box habits

If you don’t keep your cat’s litter box and lounging areas clean, it can start a series of behavioral problems that can be difficult to correct. Cats thrive much better when they have neat litter boxes – and enough litter boxes for each cat in the home. Cats can get very territorial when it comes to the bathroom.

Multi-cat households can start rivalries that end in urinating on fabrics that are not-so-easy to clean spaces. It’s a mess you don’t want to deal with, so just make sure everything is hygienic and kitty-friendly.

As a general rule, you should have one litter box per cat, plus one.

cat lying on a cat bed
Photo By: VGstockstudio, Shutterstock

10. Give Them Good Company

  • Purpose: Promotes healthy bonding

Compatibility between pets and humans is essential. Your cat wants a peaceful environment. It doesn’t matter if it’s the family dog that stresses your cat out or a screaming baby. If your cat spends most of its time stressed out, it will make it difficult for them to be happy.

Try to separate your cat from the madness if you can. Ensure that your cat has a best buddy and activities to keep them busy throughout the day. The more involved they are and the more at home they feel, the better off everyone will be.


Top 3 Things to Avoid

Knowing how to make your cat happy is dandy, as is knowing what not to do. Let’s touch on a few things that can negatively impact your cat if you’re not careful.

1. Crowded Litter Boxes

Some cats can be incredibly picky when it comes to who they share their bathroom with. They don’t want to poop where someone else dares poop or deal with another cat’s scent while doing their business. So, give them space–each their own.

2. Lack of Personal Space

Cats are independent, and no matter how cuddly they can be—they value their alone time. They need a stress-free place to escape when they’re overstimulated.

3. Rough Handling

No cat, or animal for that matter, likes to be bullied. So, being too rough during play, punishments, or general handling can put a bad taste in their mouth.

You might notice they start retreating, becoming defensive, or even showing signs of aggression.



Keeping your cat happy really isn’t too challenging—and you probably have realized that your cat is pretty content now. Try pinpointing and resolving the issue in the rarer events that something at home is causing inner kitty conflict.

There are plenty of ways to coexist and thrive alongside our furry counterparts. And if you’re having a bit of a hiccup, know that these issues will be resolved with the proper proactive steps.

Featured Image Credit: Ellie Burnett, Shutterstock

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