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What Does it Mean When a Cat Winks at You?

David Fields
Last Updated on
by David Fields

Why do cats wink? The most common reason for a winking cat is that they are happy and feeling affectionate. However, there could be other motives that are not so good.

Other not-so-good motives for a cat winking is them having something in their eye (like an eyelash). Cats have allergies as well, or they may have an infection. Slowly winking or blinking indicates that if there are other cats, they aren’t a threat.

Why Do Cats Wink?

Cats Wink
A Cat Winking

Cats communicate with every part of their body, including their tails, ears, mouths, and posture. Their eyes are the most vocal, as you can literally tell what mood exactly they are in or if they are in any type of distress.

Why do cats wink – Emotional reasons:

  • I trust you
  • I am relaxed and content
  • I love you
  • I know you won’t hurt me
  • I feel affectionate
  • Thank you

Cats will also wink at other cats to communicate the same feelings. Did you know that cats have a third eyelid? It’s called the nictitating membrane and helps keep debris like dust out of their eyes.

When cats have a problem, they will blink or wink a lot in the affected eye(s). Because of the nictitating membrane, cat winking rarely happens. So, if you have a winking cat, feel honored.

Why do cats wink – Physical reasons:

  • Pink eye
  • Eye infection
  • Allergies
  • Corneal Ulcer
  • Glaucoma
  • Cataract

How often your cat winks and at what pace they wink will determine if there is an issue. For example, if you notice any of these signs, it may be a good idea to seek a veterinarian’s advice.

  • Rubbing his face
  • Squinting
  • Eyes watering
  • Redness
  • Sores in the eye
  • Blank stares coupled with fast winking or blinking

Why Does My Cat Wink At Me?

To know for sure whether your cat has a medical problem or if they just love you to the moon and back, look for blinks. Slow blinks indicate that your cat doesn’t feel threatened and they trust you. In the animal kingdom, a stare-down means aggression, and heightened emotions are on the rise.

On the other hand, slow blinking indicates calm, nurturing, intense love. Why do cats wink at you and then turn their head? They just gave you a kitty kiss. Go ahead and give one right back.

Can I Wink Back At My Cat?

As mentioned, one way of a cat showing affection and trust is slow winking or blinking. Feel free to mirror the action, but be careful not to stare at them or hold their stare for too long.

How do you know for sure, though, that they are reciprocating what you’re saying and feel love from you? Some signs that a cat really knows are:

  • They haven’t run away
  • They shadow you or sleep with you
  • Cat winking back
  • They respond to your voice or greet you at the door upon coming home
  • They mark their territory where you are
  • They knead and purr
  • They show their underside

Just as you wish for your cat to understand you have deep love and affection for her, how do you give them love in a way they will fully understand?

  • Scratch their favorite spot (usually the butt or chin)
  • Give them a kitty massage
  • Train them
  • Mirror their communication (if they meow – meow softly back)
  • Talk to them while giving affection
  • Groom them
  • Reward with treats and toys
  • Give them their own particular spot (a box, place to hide, own bed)

Unlike dogs, cats won’t try to please you as often because of their independent personalities, so it can be challenging to know how to love them or if they love you back.

As long as you include them in almost everything you do, they will know. Half the battle is feeling confident in yourself and your feline friend that the love is there.

Other Cat-Eye Communication

Cat’s don’t just express their love with slow blinking or winking actions, they communicate with their whole body. But did you know that you can tell a cat’s mood by watching their eyes closed and paying attention to the body language that follows?

Fully Open Eyes:

Fully-opened eyes mean that your cat is awake, alert, and has no emotion other than the fact that they may be happy and trusting. 

Half Closed Eyes:

On the one hand, half-closed eyes can indicate your cat is tired and about to fall asleep. On the other hand, narrowed eyes can mean they feel scared or intimidated and are on the defense.

Pay attention to their body language. If they are laying down, tail relaxed, or showing their body, they are getting ready to rest. If their ears are back and their bodies are hunched, it’s a clear sign that they feel attacked or threatened.

The Stare Down:

The stare-down essentially means that your cat is cautious, suspicious, or feels threatened, and they are guarding themselves and their territory.

Cat Pupils:

For the most part, the cat’s pupils only change based on the amount of light their eyes are catching. You may notice your cat has slit pupils, which help them hunt and chase during night-hours. Also, slit eyes can mean they are excited, threatened, and sometimes happy – so it’s hard to tell. Focus on watching other body language to fully interpret why your cat has slit pupils.

The same goes for wide pupils; however, most times, wide pupils mean contentment or excitement.

Read Also: Why do cats loaf?

About David Fields
David Fields
David Fields is a long-time animal lover and has been blessed to share his life with many companions. A short list includes ragdoll cats, siberian husky and greyhound dogs, an African Grey parrot, many fish of all sorts, and a pandemonium of parakeet. He writes most of the articles on iPetCompanion and is regularly featured on other popular websites on the Internet.
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