A Kitty's Point of View: Why Does My Cat Slow Blink and Wink?
Meow! Meow! Blink! Blink! I wonder if my humans can understand what I am trying to say to them? It’s very important that they understand my body language, but my guess is that they think that us cats can only meow and purr and look cute; they have a lot to learn!
I am quite sure that I can let my humans know how I am feeling. For example:
- If I’m scared, I will run off and find my favourite hiding place where I know I will feel safe and secure. I do this when there are lots of firework celebrations (I hate all those loud bangs and hisses), or if a stranger comes into the house (I don’t like to be picked up by someone I don’t know).
- If I’m alert, I will hold my tail upright with a little kink at the end, and this means that I’m aware of what’s happening and happy to say hello.
- I’m on my guard and ready to pounce if I’m wagging my tail - this normally means that I’ve spotted something lurking under the sofa… maybe it’s my favourite toy mouse!
And, although humans don’t think that our facial expressions change, let me put you right! They may be subtle, but if you look carefully you will learn that my whiskers and ears will tell you just how I’m feeling:
- I’m feeling playful, if my ears and whiskers are facing forward
- I am feeling worried, if I point my ears in different directions, and my whiskers are facing backwards. When my ears are flat against my head, that’s also a sign that I’m feeling stressed or uncertain.
- I’m relaxed and happy when my whiskers are fanned out to the side of my face
- I’m also being curious when my whiskers are facing forward, which I usually do when I’m exploring or hunting.
And, then there’s my eyes!
- If my eyes are open wide, I’m feeling worried about something.
- If I stare without blinking, it means that I’m sending a signal to another cat to go away without us having to get too close. I have to do this sometimes when that other cat tries to block my territory - if I give them a long hard stare they know exactly what I mean!
- When my eyes are squinting and I have a slit-eyed look, it’s worth checking out the rest of my body language. If my ears are back and my tail is swishing then please move away as I’m worried and may need to get my claws out to protect myself! If only one of my eyes is squinting then it may be that I have a sore eye so it would be a good idea to check with the vet (not that I enjoy traveling to the vet but I know they help keep me healthy).
Want to know why I slow blink and wink?
Some clever people have been studying us cats to find out what it means if we blink and wink slowly at humans, and it’s quite interesting that they have worked out that when we blink slowly at humans, it means that we are smiling at them!
Very interesting! It certainly makes me feel happy if my human slow-blinks at me - so I will slow-blink back at them to let them know that I like them too and I trust them! My human has plugged in FELIWAY Classic Diffuser which makes me feel more relaxed and serene, so when we have visitors in the house, I might even approach a stranger if they slow-blink at me, but that’s only if they don’t try to pick me up when they see me. I like to get to know people well before I get up close and personal with them!
Other reasons I may be blinking
It’s important that my human keeps an eye on my eyes (haha!). Although my whiskers are there to detect things that might be getting too close to my eyes, and they warn me to close them to protect them, sometimes I might pick up an infection or they feel itchy. Then, I will probably blink too much, so best pop me in my cat carrier and take me to the vet to be checked out.
Try it out!
It might look as if I’m feeling sleepy when you see me slow-blinking, but why not try blinking slowly back at me - yep, that’s me smiling right back at you!
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