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Why Does My Cat Wink at Me? 3 Possible Reasons for This Behavior

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Paola Cuevas

MVZ (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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If you are like most cat owners, you are regularly surprised by the things that your cat does. Cats are rarely predictable, at least until they get old and set in their ways. One quirky thing that some cats seem to do is wink at their human family members. But cats cannot be winking for the same reasons that humans wink, right? So, why would a cat wink at someone? We have decided to answer this question once and for all. Here is why your cat might occasionally wink at you.

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The 3 Possible Reasons Cat Winks At You

1. Their Palpebra Tertia Is Acting Up

Cats do not use their regular eyelids to blink. Instead, their palpebra tertia does the blinking in the background. A cat’s palpebra tertia, or nictitating membrane, is like a second eyelid. It helps protect the cornea, especially in nature, where leaves, branches, and tall blades of grass could injure the eyes.

If the eye becomes too dry, a cat will blink with both the palpebra tertia and eyelids until it gets moistened again. This can cause your cat to look like they are winking at you, when in fact, they are simply just trying to blink and moisten their eyes and lids. Once their eyelids are properly moistened, the blinking/winking should subside.

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Image Credit: Josephchae, Pixabay
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2. They Want to Show Trust and Loyalty

Cats sometimes wink at people whom they trust and feel loyal to. If your cat enjoys spending their time around you and they feel a deep bond with you, chances are that you will get a wink from them at least occasionally. Some cats wink at their owners out of adoration with one or both eyes, depending on the situation and the particular cat’s personality.

Pet owners whose cats are typically aloof or indifferent likely will not do any winking at their family members. But cats that tend to stick to the sides of their human companions and show other signs of affection, such as rubbing and talking, are likely to find the time to wink at the ones they care about most, but if you are not paying attention, you might miss it.

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3. They Are Dealing With an Eye Infection

Unfortunately, eye infections are common in cats, and some infections can make your cat blink, and the blinking can be confused for winking. A good sign that your cat is dealing with an eye infection is them winking consistently throughout the day. Your cat might be dealing with pink eye, which is when the membrane lining the eyes becomes infected by bacteria. In addition to winking, your cat might have discharge coming from their eyes and/or experience swelling around the eyes.

Corneal ulcers can be painful, irritating the eyes and making them blink, which sometimes looks like winking. Corneal ulcers can also create a cloudy look in the eyes. Allergies can also make your cat wink. Other symptoms that could accompany allergies include redness, rubbing, and squinting of the eyes.

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Image Credit: Ilike-Shutterstock

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Is Winking Anything to Worry About?

Unless the winking is caused by an eye problem of some kind, there is no reason to worry about your cat winking at you occasionally. If you suspect that the winking is due to a healh condittion of some kind, do not hesitate to schedule an appointment to see your veterinarian for a checkup. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

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There are only a few reasons that a cat might blink or wink at you, so it should not be tough to figure out the specific reason for your cat’s winking habits. More than likely, you will not see your cat blinking or winking often. It simply is not a major part of their personality or temperament. If you do catch a wink from your cat, take the time to reinforce their affection with a pet or a cuddle. How often does your cat wink at you, and why do you think they do it? Get in the conversation by leaving us a message.

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Featured Image: shell_ghostcage, Pixabay