If you have a cat at home, you’re probably already familiar with their sweet and funny facial expressions.
When you look over to find your cat winking at you, you might be wondering what exactly this goofy look means! It’s completely adorable, but there’s also science behind your cat’s charming winking face. Here’s what it means when your cat winks at you.
The Science Behind The Winking
Unlike humans, cats have an additional membrane between their eyelid and their eye. This membrane is called the nicitating membrane or ‘third eyelid’. The main purpose of this membrane is to keep your kitty’s eyes nice and moist, and because of this, it’s rare to see your cat blink. The membrane is translucent in color and moves very quickly from the inner corner of the eye upwards.
If you notice your cat winking at you, it’s likely because there’s an issue with their nictitating membrane and they need to blink with their eyelids instead. This often happens if they get a small dust particle or piece of fur caught in their eye.
Is my cat okay when they wink at me?
It’s very normal for cats to wink occasionally. Just like humans, they occasionally get something in their eye or have a very dry eye that needs to be cleaned out. The quickest way to do this is by winking.
However, if your cat starts winking often, or you notice swelling or other issues with their eyes, it could be indicative of an infection.
Many cats will start to paw at their eyes when this happens as well. In this case, it’s always best to take your pet to the vet, just to make sure they are okay. Eye problems can deteriorate quickly, so it’s best to get them checked out straight away. If necessary, your vet can get them the appropriate treatment for an eye infection so they can heal quickly.
What about slow blinking?
Since cats don’t usually need to blink to moisturize their eyes, they actually use blinking as a way of communication. In the past, you might have noticed your cat blinking very slowly with both eyes when you are around. This sweet gesture is your cat’s way of communicating that they are relaxed around you.
In the wild, cats need to be vigilant and alert to watch out for predators. When they blink, they’re letting their guard down because they feel calm and safe. Take it as a compliment if your cat blinks around you – it means that they trust you!
Do kittens slow blink?
Just like adult cats, kittens also will blink slowly at their owners, other people, or even other cats to indicate trust and relaxation. Slow blinking is a learned behavior that cats pick up from their mothers, so it’s something they start at a very young age.
If you notice your kitten blinking at you, it means you’ve created an environment where they’re relaxed and happy.
Why does my cat make direct eye contact?
Alternatively, you might notice your kitty making direct eye contact with you and wonder what that means. Since cats don’t need to blink the same way that humans do, you might notice them staring at you for quite a long time!
When your cat stares at you for a long period of time, it’s usually because they’re interested in what you are doing and want to better understand your behaviors.
Even if you’re just hanging around the house, your behavior could be fascinating when seen through a cat’s eyes!
Is my cat just sleepy?
Sometimes, cats wink or blink just because they are sleepy. Cats average a whopping 15 hours of sleep each day, and many cats sleep even more than this! It’s not uncommon for an older cat to sleep over 20 hours in a day. When your cat winks or blinks at you, it could be just because they are feeling sleepy.
Cats use their eyes to communicate, so when they slow blink, it’s a communication of trust. However, winking is usually just their way of cleaning their eyes! These cat eye behaviors are very normal and can result in some sweet, funny facial expressions for your cat.