Cat Slow Blinking and What It Means

Your cat's slow blinking is essentially a feline smile and a way to communicate "I love you."

Published February 10, 2023
A sweet, fluffy Cat, brown and red, closed her eyes in pleasure when the mistress strokes her in the soft warm ligh

You've probably noticed your cat staring at you, giving you a slow blink. It turns out, if a cat slow blinks at you, it means they love you, and research supports this idea. Cats only shut their eyes when they feel safe, so cats blinking slowly is a sign that your feline friend trusts you deeply. Experts even suggest you can return the gesture by blinking slowly at your cat. Think of it as saying "I love you" in cat talk.

What Does a Cat "Slow Blink" Mean?

A slow blink from a cat translates to trust. Felines are both predators and prey, so they remain on high-alert at all times. This is why cats often stare at you. They're observing their surroundings and watching what you're doing. It's only when they feel entirely safe that a cat will close their eyes.

If your cat softly blinks their eyes when you're around, know they feel comforted by your presence and can let their guard down. A study published in 2020 found that you can even use slow blinks to communicate back to your cat.

The experimenters tested 21 cats in their home environment, and taught a slow blink technique to the cat owners. Using statistical analysis, they found that the cats were blinking back, and that cats experience positive emotions when receiving and returning slow blinks from their people!

Fast Fact

A cat's slow blink is their way of communicating "I love you." It translates to comfort, safety, and trust.

How to Use Cat Slow Blinking to Say "I Love You"

Slow blinking can be a great way to strengthen your bond, whether you have a solid relationship with your cat or they're new to your household and you're just beginning to earn their trust. In order to do the cat slow blink, you'll need to put yourself in your cat's line of sight. Make sure you get their attention in a gentle way.

  1. Look into their eyes without staring, as staring can be interpreted as threatening to cats. Instead, gaze with soft eyes.
  2. Slowly blink your eyes closed, then open them.
  3. Speak softly to your cat while you do this.
  4. If your cat is amenable, you can stroke or pet them gently, avoiding their belly, feet, or tail areas.
  5. If your cat returns the gesture with eyes closed or slow blinks, they're telling you they love you too.

Cat Slow Blinking Explained

Not all cat blinking is a sign of positive emotions. Cats can also narrow their eyes or blink rapidly when they're fearful. Squinting eyes could indicate a medical problem. Use your cat's body language to help decode whether your cat's slow blinks are loving blinks or nervous blinks. A cat that's in a loose, relaxed position likely means they are content, whereas if they are in a crouched position or their ears are pinned back, they're probably scared. Spend time with your cat to learn their body language and use slow blinking to let them know you care for them deeply.

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Cat Slow Blinking and What It Means