Our furry companions may not speak using words, but their body language is communicating more than we realize. If you are a cat owner, you may have noticed that your cat seems to enjoy slowly blinking at you. Why does she do this, and should you be reciprocating the gesture?
What does your cat’s “slow blink” mean?
One thing to know about cats is that they generally avoid eye contact when they feel afraid or threatened. When they are feeling aggressive, they will stare. But that kind of staring is pretty easily differentiated from the “slow blink.”
Cats have a number of ways they demonstrate that they feel comfortable around their humans. If they are closing their eyes or exposing their bellies, this vulnerability means they feel safe around you. Similarly, when your cat slowly blinks at you, animal behaviorists say that this is an indication of affection and trust. Some people call slow blinking “cat kisses.”
Should you blink back?
Whether you’ve noticed your cat slowly blinking or not, it’s worth trying it out on her. Staring without blinking is a signal of aggression to your feline, so be sure to hold a gentle gaze and slowly close and open your eyes.
If she blinks at you in return, it’s probably a good sign that she’s enjoying your presence. If she doesn’t, you shouldn’t interpret it as her disdain. She just might not be in the mood. You know how cats are!
Vet in Gilbert, Arizona
Whether your cat is overtly lovey-dovey, or more likely capricious at best, there are still small ways she shows you her affection, and the slow blink is one of them. If you’ve never noticed this behavior in your feline, we encourage you to observe her more closely and to get curious about what her habits and behaviors are telling you. And if you’re not sure, ask us the next time you bring your four-legged companion in to see us at East Valley Animal Hospital. We are well-versed in cat-talk!