Why Do Cats Wink?

cats wink

If you own a dog, you know exactly what your furry friend is telling you. Dog lingo is relatively easy to figure out: wags, grins, enthusiastic leaps and bounds, happy barking, growls and snarls, tail between the legs. They put it all out there for you to see and understand. Their faces are expressive, and they talk to you with their whole body. But with cats, it’s a completely different ball game. Does the tail wag mean they’re annoyed? Does the purr mean anything? Why do cats wink? And blink? When they roll over, is it because they have a tummy ache? When they chew grass, scratch up the furniture, butt heads with you – are you supposed to get the message?

Animal Crackers: Why Do Cats Wink and Other Facts

Dogs were domesticated more than 30,000 years ago. Dogs slowly started getting attached to human groups in the wild because there was easy access to food scraps.

Gradually, they evolved into the dog species we know today and were the first animals to be domesticated. Ancient burial sites provide evidence of the close dog-human relationship.

They were deified by many ancient cultures, such as the Egyptian, Greek, and Mayan. The relationship was mutually beneficial, and in many ways, both evolved together to become what they are today. They served mainly as companions on the hunt and as guard animals.

Since they have evolved in such close proximity to us, dogs have learned to distinguish voice tones, human facial expressions, and body language. They also have a good understanding of words that matter to them, such as fetch, walk, or food.

Cats were domesticated much later, around 7500 BCE. Many animal experts feel that cats domesticated themselves, having lived alongside humans for several millennia. This means that they still retain many of the features of their wild nature.

It also means that we have a lesser understanding of them. They were initially not kept as companions but to keep rats at bay. However, their mysterious nature and cryptic ways of communication soon resulted in humans raising them to a divine status.

The communication gap could be because of this. We are still learning their language, and cats are still deciding whether it’s worth learning ours!

Odd Behaviors Displayed By Cats: Why Do Cats Wink?

Each cat lover is unique, like cats themselves. Like the humans they choose to live with, cats can develop traits that mirror their pet parents’ traits. But again, cats have too individualistic a personality to imitate anyone or anything.

Every person or family with a cat in residence would have their own set of anecdotes and stories about their furry feline. Though many of these tales are as quirky and distinctive as the cats, there are many similarities that run through them.

Also Read: Cats Upper Respiratory Infection

Cats display certain peculiar behaviors that can puzzle the most experienced of pet parents as a species.

Staring: Some pet parents find this creepy, while others take it as a sign of love. Feline experts opine that this behavior could be because your cat is curious about something on your face, or they are hungry because they love you, or they’re feeling unsafe about something. Whatever you imagine it to be, your cat can out-stare you if you engage in a staring contest.

Head Butt: This is kitty’s way of showing that whatever’s being butted belongs to them. They mark territory, objects, and people this way.

Interrupts When You’re Busy: When you’re on the phone or computer, playing your piano, or playing a board game with friends, kitty loves to sprawl right in the middle, on top of everything. That’s a display of jealousy and attention-seeking.

Kneading and Treading: Does kitty knead her claws into your lap or your favorite couch, or tread with rear paws as if she’s about to zoom off? It could be a throwback to kitten days and is happy cat behavior, though experts are not really sure what it means.

Honestly, Why Does My Cat Wink?

Humans view eye contact as a sign of friendliness and confidence. However, in the cat universe, direct eye contact is a sign of assertiveness domination and could be felt like a threatening gesture. Staring, blinking, and winking could also be ways of telling intruders, “Back off, this is my neck of the woods.”

Unlike dogs that are pack animals, cat ancestors were lone hunters. To make them feel part of your family can take a lot of time and effort, and most of it has to come from the cat.

Also Read: Why Do Cats Bite?

They may avoid eye contact with the group that they consider their family because they don’t want you to feel intimidated or leave the place.

Your fur baby wants you to stay right where you are, and that’s why they only make occasional, very swift, and brief eye contact in the form of blinks and winks.

One of the weirdest and funniest sights you could encounter as a cat parent is your cat winking at you! It sometimes happens after they gaze at you for a while, ensure that they make eye contact with you, and then suddenly snap one eye shut.

Some pet parents have noticed that their cats stare and blink slowly at them. This could be because they’re sleepy or want a little cat nap. This is different from blinking, where both eyes are shut for a split second.

Six Reasons: Why Do Cats Wink? 

Love and Affection: Feline psychologists feel it could be a form of communication where the kitty feels content and relaxed and wants to tell you that. If you spend a lot of time with your cat, you’ll likely be the recipient of a wink or two.

Some pet parents refer to this as the “cat kiss,” especially if it’s a slow and deliberate wink. From a human’s point of view, this is a great compliment from a cat to let you know that they feel comfortable and safe with you. You can return the compliment with a wink or blink of your own.

Eye Irritation: Winking could also indicate an eye problem. Often, a strand of fur, specks of dust, or pollen could enter the eye and get lodged there. Cats may repeatedly blink to dislodge this foreign particle.

Eye irritation can cause itching and burning, causing your cat to wink continuously. This is a form of self-healing, where the eye gets hydrated through constant opening and shutting, enabling it to combat the irritation through natural saline in tears. If the problem persists for more than a couple of days, you can talk to your vet.

Eye injury or infection: Minor injuries are usually self-healing. Cats frequently get their eyes scratched by blades of grass or dust. Winking helps to moisturize the eye and prevent infections. Cats are prone to frequent eye infections.

Pink eye is a common problem, and the eye’s inner lining gets infected with bacteria. Allergies are another cause of winking. Corneal ulcers may result in pain and irritation that cats try to combat with winking to refresh the moisture in the eye.

However, consult your vet immediately if you notice redness and swelling, and the winking hasn’t stopped after a day or two.

Respiratory issues: The upper respiratory system and the eyes are inter-connected in cats. If you notice sneezing and nasal discharge along with repeated winking, it’s a sign that kitty may have a respiratory allergy or infection.

This may not heal by itself, and your vet will probably prescribe a course of antibiotics to tackle the problem.

Third Eyelid issues: If you know cat physiology well, you know that cats have a third eyelid (palpebra tertia) besides the upper and lower ones. This is a transparent structure called the nictitating membrane.

It helps to keep the eye moist and clear and protect it when the cat is moving through trees, grass, or other terrains. It moves diagonally across the eye in an upward direction from the inner corner of the eye.

This may get dry for various reasons, including aging. Cats blink or wink to refresh the moisture content in the eyes. When this eyelid gets infected, the kitty may experience irritation and pain. She may try to cope with it by repeated blinking. The third eyelid gets swollen and protrudes out of the eye if left unattended.

That is why it is important to take your cat to the vet whenever you notice repeated winking behavior for more than a day or two.

Emotional Signal: Cats are independent creatures and don’t crave human affection. When they want some love, they ask for it. It’s up to us as their human companions to understand and acknowledge these signals.

Winking could also be a sign of depression or loneliness. It may indicate that their feelings are hurt for some reason. Some cats wink in a friendly way to show that they trust you.

If you’ve just brought a cat home, they may wink at you to show anxiety or show you that they want to be friends. It may be the equivalent of a handshake between humans.


Winking is not a normal part of a feline personality. But it does occur due to various physical and emotional reasons. As a true cat lover and devoted kitty parent, it’s your responsibility to decode the signals that this beautiful, graceful and mysterious companion is sending out.