Do cats blink their eyes?

Many cat owners would wonder if the pet ever blinks because these animals are more noted for their tendency to stare. All felines blink. Even big cats have the ability to blink too. A cat owner can try blinking at the cat to see if the pet can blink too. In most cases, the owner’s blink will be answered by the slow blinking of the pet.

Unlike humans, cats don’t really need to blink to keep their eyes lubricated. Cats are one of the animals endowed by Nature to have a third eyelid. The third eyelid is known as nictitating membrane, a word that comes from the Latin word nictare which means to blink. Birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish have the third eyelid. Cats, as mentioned, have nictitating membrane although it is less common in mammals. This transparent eyelid that is drawn across the eyeball horizontally protects the eye. It also moistens the eye while ensuring that the cat’s vision is not disrupted. This lubricating function of the nictitating membrane is very important for cats. Cats are natural predators. The fixed stare of a cat is very threatening and intimidating to a prey. The stare would in fact immobilize the small animal being stalked by the cat. The split second it takes to blink can mean losing a prey.

An eye to eye contest between a cat and its owner will be won hands down by the cat. This is because cats are very good at staring. Cats are highly territorial animals. Territorial disputes often end up in cat fights. A cat’s stare would warn an intruder to halt. Cats would intently stare to get ready for the opponent’s attack. However, not all cats would manifest aggression at the intruders to its territory. Cats would communicate with other cats, with other animals and with humans with vocalization and body language. Most cat owners would be aware that a blink is a very efficient communication tool. Instead of staring at an intruder, a cat that does not mind the intrusion of other animals would signify its consent by blinking. These days, cats are considered to be the most popular pets. This is in spite of the fact that cats are noted to have independent personalities. Cats would not meet the owner with sloppy kisses and a wagging tail…these are the benchmarks of dogs. Cats have a different way of showing their affection. Cats kiss their owners in the form of a blink. Yes…a blink!

Cats’ blink is different from the blink of humans as the movement of the eyelid is rather slow. A blinking cat would appear as if it is winking or squinting because the eyelids will cover the eyes halfway rather slowly. This slow blinking is the cat’s way of showing affection. In a multi-cat household, cats would be seen blinking at each other. This eye movement allows cats to tell other cats that all is well. A resident cat would blink at a new pet to reassure the newcomer that it is not intruding on other cat’s territories.

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