One of the unique things about cats is that they often blink with only one eye. If you have a cat, you’ve probably noticed them do this on plenty of occasions.
Since this can be outside the norm and not something that you may be used to seeing, the logical question is why they are doing it in the first place.
When a cat blinks with only one eye, it’s generally meant to indicate peaceful and friendly intentions. So much in a cat’s world is based on threatening actions and hostility that they appear to have developed a one-eyed blink as a way to tell one another that they only have friendly intentions.
Pet owners are naturally curious why certain animals do certain things. After centuries of evolution, there are usually some excellent reasons behind every action that a cat undertakes.
Our own cats started to blink with one eye at an early age as they started to trust us from when we got them at 8 weeks old.
Continue reading to learn more about cats blinking with one eye and why this is different from other animals.
Should I Be Concerned That My Cat Only Blinks With One Eye?
In most cases, there is nothing to be concerned about when a cat blinks at you or other animals with only one eye. It is perfectly natural for them to do so. In fact, it’s something that they have been doing for centuries, which isn’t going to change anytime soon.
A few different reasons lead a cat to blink with only one eye.
4 Reasons a Cat May Blink with Only One Eye
Like most people, you probably assume that cats blink with both eyes. After all, this is what humans and dogs do, so why not cats? While a cat will often use both eyes to blink, there are some distinct reasons why they switch to doing so with only one eye.
While we obviously cannot ask cats why they are using one eye to blink, researchers have the following four reasons why this phenomenon happens that cover most situations.
1) They Are Blowing You Kisses
Cats are adorable creatures. After all, that is probably why you are attracted to them in the first place. While they may not stay by your side every minute of the day like some other pets do, there are other ways that a cat can show his or her affection for the kind humans in its life.
One possible reason that cats may blink with one eye is that they are actually showing you just how fond they are of you.
Many people will refer to this as the kitty kiss. It is meant to convey how comfortable the cat is to be around you and how peaceful and content they are in the moment.
2) They Are Communicating with Other Cats
Another reason that cats may blink with one eye has nothing to do with you.
This is one way that they have effectively developed their non-verbal communication skills with other cats. It’s an important way for them to decipher between friend or foe.
You will often notice that cats who are not familiar with one another end up staring at each other for long periods of time. This is because they feel threatened.
However, when one cat blinks with one eye, it is their way of telling the other cat that they are friendly.
In essence, they are trying to tell the other cat that they should not feel threatened by their presence.
3) Their Third Eyelid Is a Factor
You may not know this, but cats have three eyelids. Scientifically, this is referred to as a nictitating membrane.
This will close at the side of the eye when your cat blinks. Because cats have this membrane, the eyes stay moist most of the time and do not tend to dry out. This is why cats do not need to blink very often to begin with.
Who knows why they do it, but cats will only blink the eye that is dry. The other eye might be moist, so there is no need to blink that one.
This is known as casual blinking, and cats have become quite proficient at it.
4) They Have Experienced Mild Trauma
To this point, every mention of a cat blinking with one eye has been relatively positive in nature. In essence, there has been nothing to be concerned about.
However, there are occasions where a cat may be blinking with only one eye quite often because of some type of trauma that has been experienced.
You may notice that your cat is blinking with one eye far more often than the other. Take note of this and look to see if there is any visible discharge coming from the eye.
If there is, and it continues, it might indicate that the eye has been scratched somehow. If so, you may want to head over to the vet to have it looked at.
How Do Cats Use Eye Contact To Communicate?
The very nature of this question reveals just how important eyes are in how a cat communicates.
Sure, they use their voice as well, but eyes can often do the trick for them just as nicely.
Eye contact is used to convey everything from feelings of content with their own to an expression of danger to any cat that dares enter into its territory.
The one-eyed blink is just the beginning.
Here are four ways that cats can use eye contact to communicate their feelings to other cats and to humans.
- It is willing to submit – Cats who are not friendly with one another may start a staring contest. At some point, one of them will be willing to submit. They use their eyes to do this. The one who blinks is the one who is saying that they will submit. Interestingly enough, fights tend to break out when no cat enters into submission.
- It is watching out for predators – It is relatively recent in the animal kingdom that cats became domesticated. By nature, they are hunters. Hunters, in exchange, must always be mindful of predators. This is why your cat may never seem fully asleep. They are using their eyes to keep a lookout for any predators that may threaten them.
- They want to tell other cats they are no threat – It is also important to keep in mind that cats will use their eyes to tell one another that they are not a threat. It could be because one cat looked at another by accident. If that is the case, some form of eye contact is then necessary to calm the situation and make sure everyone stays friendly.
- They are expressing their affection – Cats can be affectionate when they want to be. Eye contact is one way that they communicate this, particularly with humans. When a cat starts blinking at you slowly, it is their way of saying that they appreciate you and that you can stick around for a while.
Eyes are powerful communicators.
Cats certainly demonstrate this. Eye contact has become essential to a cat’s life, so keep that in mind the next time you notice your pet doing something unique with this part of their body.
The next time you notice your cat blinking with only one eye, you will now better understand what is going on. The chances are good that this is how it communicates its affinity for either you or another cat. It is also one more way that cats illustrate just how unique they are in the animal kingdom.