Why Does My Cat Wink At Me? A Helpful Guide

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Cats are expressive and sometimes they are just hilarious. For instance, did you know that your cat can wink at you among other hilarious quirks? Well, in this article, we are going to uncover what your cat means when he is winking. If you have been asking yourself ‘why does my cat wink at me?’ you are about to discover what it means.

Understand that cat and human behavior are totally different. This means that your cat is not winking at you for the same reasons we wink. On the contrary, it could mean a few things that may include:


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Why Does My Cat Wink At Me

Dirt in the eye

This is not exactly unusual for us and even for our feline friends. It could be that there is something irritating his eye and thus the winking. He is blinking the one eye in efforts to clear the eye. In this case, we can say that it is totally normal for cats to wink.

This, however, will only happen once rather than repeatedly.


The nictitating membrane

Did you know that cats have a third eyelid? That’s right, but you are not supposed to see it. However, due to an infection, your cat might appear to be winking at you. It is unlikely for your cat to show the third eyelid unless you are petting him and you happen to see it.

The nictitating membrane is a translucent membrane that covers the cornea as well as provides moisture for the eyes. However, as we have mentioned above, you are not supposed to see it from afar.


Is my cat winking at me or is he sick?

Even though winking is quite normal in cats, he will do it less often. On the contrary, if your cat is ill, you will definitely think he is winking but it is probably his third eye showing. So, what are some of the illnesses that may lead to the nictitating membrane showing?



This refers to the inflammation of the moist tissues of your cat’s eye. As we have mentioned above, this is the nictitating membrane that provides moisture for the eye. Conjunctivitis causes your cat to persistently wink using the infected eye.

Other symptoms of conjunctivitis may include redness of the eye, eye discharge as well as excessive fluid in the eye. In some serious cases, your cat might also suffer from upper respiratory illnesses.

This illness is caused by exposure to the herpes virus. Cats that are regularly exposed to other cats may contract this illness. In other cases, it is caused by bacteria, known as the dry eye. Purebred kitties are at more risk of contracting conjunctivitis than others. It can also be as a result of allergens.


Treating the conjunctivitis

It might be fun to watch your cat winking at you. However, if at all he has been diagnosed with conjunctivitis, your vet will recommend treatment. However, there is no need to worry as it will be treated on an outpatient basis.

If your cat had a viral infection, the vet will prescribe medications for managing the infection. On the other hand, a bacterial infection will be treated using cat antibiotics.

If at all your cat will be playing with others, you should vaccinate him for prevention. Follow up with your vet to ensure that he recovers safely.



Lack of enough water could possibly lead to the third eyelid showing. Note that even though cats have the ability to stay for long without drinking water, you should make sure that he does not get dehydrated.

It is unlikely that your cat will suffer dehydration. However, dehydration can be a result of other illnesses such as diarrhea, vomiting, and fever. In order, to determine whether your cat is dehydrated, check his gums. Raise his gums and gently touch to feel. If the gums have viscous, he is only in the first stage of dehydration, while on the other hand, dry gums mean that he is severely dehydrated.

The eyes of a dehydrated cat will also have sunken eyes and the eyelid might be visible.

Take your cat to the vet if you suspect that your cat is dehydrated for a close examination.


Why Does My Cat Wink At Me


This is also a possible cause for the third eyelid showing. If your cat has suffered an injury, both his eyes might be infected. As a result, you might see his third eyelid. Well, you should rush him to the vet care immediately.


Haw’s Cat Syndrome causing a cat to wink

Haw’s syndrome is the common reason for showing the third eyelid. It is usually as a result of intestinal issues. For instance, if your cat has suffered a stomach upset or diarrhea. In other cases, it could be that your cat has been infected with worms.

Cats under the age of two years are at a higher risk of contracting the Haw’s syndrome. However, there is no need to panic as the symptoms will go away on their own. Do not ignore the protrusion of the third eyelid mas it could also be a sign of a more serious condition.

To be able to manage this condition, you might want to pay a visit to the vet care offices. In addition, you should offer him a lot of wet food as well as water.



As rare as it is, sometimes there is the formation of cancerous cells even on the smallest body organs. Therefore, if your cat does not seem to get better, you may consider taking him to the vet for a check-up. Beware that cancerous cells may appear and then progress the illness quickly.

There are so many types of cancer and thus you cannot take this for granted. In addition to showing the third eyelid, there are other signs and symptoms of cancer. For instance, check your cat for lumps or wounds that will not heal. Vomiting and diarrhea might also be involved as well as persistent respiratory issues.

However, do not panic for observing some of these symptoms. The best thing to do is to take him for a thorough examination to determine what is wrong with him. Your vet will be able to provide a conclusive diagnosis as well as treatment.


Foreign material in the eye

Your cat can also start showing his third eyelid from foreign material entering his eyes. Well, given that cats are at a closer level to the ground, it is easy for foreign particles and other materials to get in his eye. As a result, your cat might appear like he is winking at you, trying to get the particle or object from his eyes.


Why does my cat wink at me while he rests?


In most cases, there is no need to worry when a cat winks at you, especially if you have ruled out the possibility of medical complications. It could mean that he trusts you, especially if he is just resting. It is unlikely for your cat to be sleepy when he winks at you.

Now, in order to understand your cat, you must learn their body language, especially their eye talk. In fact, it would not be harmful to wink back at him to acknowledge that you understand him. In other words, this is called the eye kiss or your cat letting you know that he loves you. Therefore, there is no need to panic unless he has an infection.


What does it mean when a cat wink or blinks slowly at you?


As a cat owner, you might witness your cat blinking slowly at you. This is called the fluttering blink and it indicates trust. A cat can only close his eyes when he trusts and feels safe around you. Therefore, there is absolutely no need to panic when your cat blinks at you.

Now, you can respond to him by blinking back at him for assurance. However, your cat cannot feel safe around you when you are angry or upset. It is actually funny how cats pick our energies and they definitely know when to play, cuddle and when to keep off.
For this reason, it is important for you to relax before initiating the blink. Take deep breaths and focus on creating a peaceful atmosphere to encourage your cat to come to you. Well, you can always enjoy this when cuddling with him.

If at all you want your kitty to blink at you, do not stare at him. I mean, he is going to perceive this as a threatening gesture.


Why Does My Cat Wink At Me


Direct eye contact with your cat

Other times, your cat will challenge you into a staring contest. Cats avoid eye contact with each other even in the wild. This is usually a gesture to challenge or threaten each other. So when your cat looks at you directly in the eye, he is probably challenging you. A friendly cat will avoid eye contact with you whatsoever.

He is probably trying to get your attention.



Does your cat wink at you occasionally? Well, this is usually a friendly gesture towards you. In other words, your cat is only giving you a casual cat kiss using his eyes. It means that he trusts you completely. On the other hand, it could be that your cat is ill and thus showing the third eyelid.

Note that you are not supposed to see his nictitating membrane. When it shows, you may want to pay extra attention to your kitty. This way you will be able to determine whether he is ill and thus administer the correct form of treatment.

Should your cat have an eye infection, you should rush your cat to the vet care center. As we have mentioned above, there are a number of reasons a cat may wink at you. If at all he is doing so as a friendly gesture, you may want to reciprocate and give him the same gesture. For instance, you may wink back but most importantly, avoid looking at him in the eye. He might feel threatened if you do so.

Observing your cat’s body language is key to determining your cat’s health as well as emotional status. Your cat will naturally wink at you when he is at his best emotionally but if he appears to wink at all times, it is probably because of the third eyelid showing.


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Michael Grover

About Me I have been a pet owner for most of my life. I am now retired and spend my days writing about problems relating to cats, dogs, and funeral poems. I am passionate to stop animal cruelty in any shape or form. My passion is to help people like you identify behavior problems in cats and dogs. That is what I do. Over the years of my life, I have always kept cats and dogs. About 4 years ago I retired and found I had a lot of time on hands so I started to write all about dog and cat problems. It was suggested to me that I should start up a website and publish my words to help people with their pet problems. I am still writing every day and hope you find my articles useful. Regards Mike Grover

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