If you see your cat winking at you it may mean that she trusts you and she’s comfortable and safe when she is with you. However, it could also mean that she has an eye infection or it may be her way of saying “Thank you for the treat/snack/toy”.
What does it mean when a cat winks at you?
Cats are sociable and affectionate animals and they can also manifest loyalty and affection to their pet parents. They have certain behaviors that humans find peculiar but if we take the time to understand it we realize that it’s just their way of communicating with us. Take for instance, when your pet cat winks at you.
If you’re a first-time cat owner, you would be a little confused or you may even think that your cat is a little naughty. For us, humans, a wink is a gesture of being flirtatious or naughtiness. So, what does it mean when a cat winks at you?
Here are some of the common reasons why a cat winks at you:
It is a cat’s way of communicating her trust and affection to you
If you notice that your cat is winking at you then you should be glad for yourself because it means that she trusts you and she’s comfortable, happy, and safe in your presence. For cat parents, this is a great milestone considering that sometimes cats tend to be aloof and indifferent. Dr. Gary Weitzman, author of the book “How to Speak Cat”, stated that a cat’s wink is a sign of friendship and trust.
Similarly, there’s a slight variation to this cat behavior, the slow blink, which is also often referred to as a cat or kitty kiss. When a cat blinks, which is to close both her eyes, it means she’s showing love to you and she’s comfortable and relaxed. This is also standard communication between cats in the wild when they trust each other and when they see that another cat doesn’t pose any threat or danger.
It could be due to their nictitating membrane
Cats have a third eyelid called the nictitating membrane which is translucent and moves diagonally from the eye’s inner corner and up across it to maintain the moistness. It helps cover the eye while allowing the cats to see because it’s semi-transparent. The membrane moves quite fast and we rarely see cats blink using it. However, there are times that one of the eyes may become drier compared to the other or there may be a trapped strand or fur which makes cats blink with their regular eyelids. As a result, if cats just blink one eye to remove a foreign particle, it may appear that they’re winking at you.
It could be that she has an eye infection or eye problem
If your cat winks at you at certain times of the day or if you notice that she’s constantly doing it then you should be wary as it may be a sign of an eye infection or other eye problems. You may try to assess it yourself or you should bring your cat to the vet at once for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Here’s a list of some common eye problems among cats:
1. Conjunctivitis or pink eye – there’s an inflammation in the mucous membrane that lines both the eyeball’s outer part and the eyelid’s inner part and usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection
Symptoms: gray, yellow, green or rusty red eye-colored discharge; the inner eye is swollen or reddish; may affect one or both eyes; sneezing and nasal discharge
2. Other types of eye infection – this may be caused by bacteria, virus, fungi or parasites
Symptoms: rubbing and squinting; redness and swelling; sneezing; eye and nasal discharge
3. Allergies and irritation – these are usually caused by irritants like strong perfume, cleaning chemicals, tobacco, dust, and smoke.
Symptoms: itchy and watery eyes; rubbing; squinting; redness and discharge
4. Corneal ulcer – sores in the eye’s surface which could result in a cloudy appearance in the affected part of the eye
Symptoms: rubbing and squinting; eye pain; redness and discharge
5. Glaucoma – a serious condition caused by pressure in the eye due to excess fluid buildup; this should be treated immediately to avoid blindness
Symptoms: eye rubbing and squinting; crying due to pain; eyes are runny, cloudy, and reddened
6. Cataract – a condition where a cloudy area develops on the eye lens and blocks the light from reaching the back of the eyes resulting in vision loss or blindness.
Symptoms: a cloudy and milky eye appearance; will only show symptoms in the advanced stage; may also result in weight loss and excessive thirst and urination if associated with diabetes mellitus
Common eye language among cats and what it means
Here are other common cat eye language that we normally notice among our pet cats:
- fully open eyes – it may mean your cat is alert and giving something her attention
- half-closed eyes – it may mean your cat is sleepy, contented and may also mean that your cat trusts you
- dilated or expanding pupils – it may mean your cat feels fear or aggressive excitement; it may also mean she’s nervous, submissive or excited to see you, a feline buddy, food, or toy
- constricted or narrowed pupils – it may mean she’s angry but may also mean she’s confident, contented, or calm
- direct eye contact – it may mean aggression and may mean she’s sizing you up; for cats, direct eye contact is threatening and hostile
- direct stare along with wide pupils – your cat may be visually taking in as much information as she can
- avoiding eye contact with another cat- it may mean she has a friendly intention towards another
If your cat looks and winks at you then you’re one fortunate pet parent because it probably means that she trusts you and she feels comfortable and secured with you. However, be wary if your cat repeatedly does it even though she’s just lounging in her favorite nook. The winking may also be due to her nictitating membrane or she may be experiencing an eye infection in which case you should bring her to the vet at once for immediate action.