Why Do Cats Blink Slowly at You? It’s a Kitty Kiss!

Have you ever wondered about that trance-like “eyes nearly closed” look your cat gives you sometimes?

By: brownpau
Slow blinking means “I feel really comfortable with you.” By: brownpau

Whenever I go to my sister’s house for a visit, her 2 cats are always sitting by her doorstep. As I get out of my car and begin walking toward them, I notice they are eyeing me cautiously. I guess they consider themselves guard cats.

I pick them up, one at a time, gently cuddling them. After a little purring and some kneading, they are out of my arms, back on the ground, seeming quite content.

And that’s when I notice an odd little thing — a slow blink, almost a wink.

Slow blinking by a cat (sort of an eyes-almost-closed look, almost trance-like) is a good sign — one that says, “You’re my buddy, and I feel comfortable hanging out with you.” My sister’s cats certainly must like me, as they have never jumped at me, hissed at me or run from me.

I did a little research on this topic, and it turns out that cats do a lot of talking with their eyes — the eyes are part of a feline’s communication system. If you are directly staring a cat down, you’ll only make that cat nervous. They see a stare-down like this as a threat.

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Giving You a “Kitty Kiss”

Slowly blinking at you is a sign of pure love, and it’s often even referred to as a “kitty kiss.”

When other cats are around, you may see your cat slow blinking a lot. This is to let the other cats know that everything is cool. In the wild, where cats battle for territory, this blinking message is important because all the other cats will realize they are not a threat to each other. They’re signaling that there’s no need for fighting.

Try Blinking Back!

At times, our own facial expressions can get a response from a cat. If you’re in a comfortable setting (and you don’t feel too ridiculous doing so), try slow blinking at your cat. Chances are, she’ll send a “kitty kiss” back your way.

A mutual friendship may develop from this batting of eyes. Your cat may even come over and jump in your lap, giving you an open invitation to pet her.

All cats (yes, even feral cats) tend to have the “slow blinking eyes” thing going on. If you’re a brave person, take the plunge: Next time you’re at the zoo, blink slowly at a tiger, rather than staring directly into its eyes, and see if you gain a new feline friend.

Understanding your cat’s body language will make bonding with your pet a little easier.

You might also want to check out my articles on how cats sweat and why cats bump their heads against you.

Additional Resources

Gayle Hickman

View posts by Gayle Hickman
Gayle Hickman has been researching and writing about pet behaviors since 2011. In addition to Petful, her articles have appeared on Reader's Digest, Yahoo Shine and WebVet, to name a few.

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