Cats are incredibly affectionate creatures that have proven to be enduringly beloved pets for multiple generations.
The problem is that cats can also be very solitary creatures that often enjoy their alone time, and they often also have incredible survival instincts that allow them to be very independent.
This means that, sometimes, it can be hard to tell exactly what a cat is trying to communicate with its behavior.
Where it’s immediately clear what a dog’s wagging tail communicates, it is a little harder to tell what a cat’s wagging tail communicates.
One common cat behavior that many people find themselves mystified by is winking. Have you ever noticed your cat winking at you?
Ever wondered what it might mean? If you have, then you have come to the perfect place. Let’s dive right in and find out what your cat might be trying to say!
What Does It Mean When A Cat Winks At You?
There are actually numerous reasons why your cat may be winking at you.
One of the reasons may be to show gratitude or love, whereas other reasons may be because your cat is suffering from some kind of problem with their eye.
Let’s take a deeper look at some of the reasons that cats wink at you.
To Show Affection
Cats are very affectionate, and can prove to be very loving and loyal pets, however, this affection needs to be earned, as, unlike dogs, cats will not simply show affection to just anyone.
If your cat has ever winked at you, it is most likely because they are trying to show affection for you.
This behavior often goes hand in hand with slow blinking, which can also be used to show affection to owners.
The reason that cats wink and blink slowly to show affection is because they are showing that they feel safe in your company, as by closing their eyes they are leaving themselves vulnerable, but they trust you not to take advantage of that.
Cats also do this with other cats, to show that they do not believe them to be a threat.
The reason why cats sometimes wink instead of slow blinking is often unclear, but it is most likely just a simple quirk of their biology, and not likely a sign of any deeper meaning!
The Nictitating Membrane
You may or may not be aware that cats actually have a third eyelid that closes independently from their exterior ones.
This is called the nictitating membrane, and it is a translucent membrane that moves diagonally across the eye, and keeps it moisturized.
You may not have even known that your cat had one, because they tend to use them so quickly that they can easily go unnoticed!
However, if the nictitating membrane is ever impacted, then it can cause irritation to a cat, which may cause it to blink more frequently in an attempt to clear the issue up.
Things that can cause issues with the nictitating membrane include whiskers, strands of fur, or even small bits of dirt or debris.
If you see your cat winking at you rapidly, and they look as though they are in discomfort, then it is possible that there may be something irritating their nictitating membrane.
If you believe this to be the case, allow the cat some space to sort the issue out for themselves, but if it persists for a considerable amount of time, and your cat continues to wink in discomfort, then it may be worth contacting your veterinarian.
Another reason your cat may be winking, though a little less likely, is that it may have an eye infection or some other kind of physical problem.
You’d be able to tell if your cat’s eye is injured or infected by looking to see how often they do it.
If your cat continues to blink frequently within a short space of time, then it is likely that it may have an eye problem.
You’ll be able to tell if it is a large problem because, unlike with an irritated nictitating membrane, your cat will continue winking for hours at a time.
Common eye problems that affect cats are issues such as conjunctivitis, which is an inflammation of the mucous membrane.
It may also be caused by an infection, either viral or bacterial, which can cause the eye to become very red, and may also cause the cat to sneeze excessively.
Less frequent causes can be things such as cataracts, glaucoma, and allergies.
If you ever notice that your cat is winking excessively and that the behavior does not let up, make sure to contact your vet.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Does My Cat Wink At Me With One Eye?
Your cat may wink to show affection, or in order to remove an irritant from its eye. Sometimes cats can accidentally poke themselves in their eyes, which can cause them to wink.
How Do You Tell Your Cat You Love Them?
If your cat is being affectionate, and you want to also prove your affection, you can show it by slow blinking back at it. Most cats will be incredibly receptive to this, as it shows you trust them.
Do Cats Know Their Names?
Research has shown that cats actually can recognize their own names, and that they just simply choose to ignore them sometimes, which creates the belief that they do not!
To Wrap Up
As you can now see, the most likely reason that your cat has been winking at you is simply because it is trying to show affection towards you!
Winking and slow blinking shows that a cat feels comfortable in your presence, and that it does not consider you a threat!
On the other hand, if you notice that your cat is winking excessively, and more often than usual, then it could be that it is suffering from some kind of irritation in the eye.
If you notice your cat winking more than usual, make sure to contact your vet as soon as you can.
At Love4Cats, our practice involves consistent collaboration with licensed veterinarians and reputable industry experts. However, it's important to note that the content provided on Excited Cats is not intended as veterinary advice. While we strive to enhance your understanding of feline care, the information presented on this blog should not replace professional veterinary guidance.