Reasons behind your cat ‘winking’ at you

Have you ever been sat in a room with your cat and thought, ‘Did they just wink at me?’.

We should never be surprised by the actions of our felines. Their quirky behaviour is what makes them so unpredictable, and of course, so lovable.

The “slow wink”, or the “cat kiss” as it’s known by some pet parents, is actually a relatively common behaviour. 

It’s also a compliment.

A cat will wink at you when they feel comfortable in your presence. It’s a sign that they trust you, that they’re loyal to you.

But, as this article will explore, that’s not the only reason. 

4 reasons why your cat is ‘winking’ at you

  1. Communication. As we’ve already touched upon, your cat may be winking in your direction because they want to let you know how much you mean to them. Our cats communicate with us in a variety of ways – through their tail, ears, mouth, even the way they carry themselves; blinks and winks are just another way of keeping us up to date with how they’re feeling.   


  1. They have something in their eye. It can be an extremely uncomfortable experience for our pets when a foreign body finds its way into their eye. Dirt, dust particles, grass seeds can all wreak havoc with cats, and may be why they’ve suddenly started squinting for no apparent reason. Winking isn’t the only sign your cat may be struggling with something in their eye. They may begin producing excessive tears and/or start repeatedly pawing at their eyes. 


  1. They’re suffering from an eye infection. If love and affection isn’t the reason behind your feline’s winky behaviour, it could be something a little more serious, such as an infection. Conjunctivitis, upper respiratory infections, corneal disorders, and glaucoma can all bring severe discomfort. Symptoms may also include redness around the eye, watery eyes, discharge, and inflammation.


  1. Their third eyelid is acting up. Yes, that’s right; cats have a third eyelid. It’s called the nictitating membrane and helps to keep dust and dirt out of their eyes. The problem with this semi-transparent membrane is that it can sometimes begin to stick out a little, leading to irritation and possibly infection. If you can see their nictitating membrane – it will look like a white layer coming from the corner of your cat’s eyes – then this tends to indicate there’s a problem.

Should you seek veterinary support?

Most of the time, a cat winking or slow blinking is completely normal and nothing to be concerned about. If they’re winking/blinking far more than usual though, then there’s most likely an underlying issue that needs investigating.

Your cat may be dealing with an eye infection, or there may be a problem with their nictitating membrane. It could be something simple like a stubborn piece of dirt refusing to move.

Whatever you think the cause may be, if the blinking’s persistent, or doesn’t calm down after an hour or so, you will need to call the vet. 

The longer the issue remains unresolved, the more chance there is of it causing lasting damage. 

Should I wink back at my cat?

The bond between cat and pet parent is without a doubt as strong as it is special. 

Spending time in their company is always one of the bright spots of our day. And for the majority of cats, it’s a huge highlight for them, too. 

They may not consistently show it, but when they do express affection, it’s only right we return the favour. 

Slowly shutting and opening your eyes will let them know exactly how you feel, serving to further strengthen that unbreakable bond. 

And remember, winking isn’t in every cats’ personality, so don’t be offended if you never receive a “cat kiss”. 

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