Why do cats blink so slowly?

Cats have so many curious behaviors, but what do they all mean? It can be an interesting thought experiment to find out why your cat may exhibit some of these behaviors. According to veterinarians and experts, the ability of cats to communicate with us using body language is unmatched.

Let’s take a look at some common behaviors exhibited by cats, most notably that strange way cats slow blink. It turns out there are good reasons that cats may decide to see that behavior.

Why cats blink slowly

Cat with green eye
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Cats are predators and wary of their environment. A cat is always on the lookout for prey and dangers in the environment. Cats are slow to build trust even with their human companions, and many of these behaviors are present even for indoor cats.

Closing eyes is a sign of trust. It suggests that there’s no threat of danger around, and it’s safe for them to relax. Cats can show this trust in many different ways, but one of those ways is the classic slow blink.

When cats do this, they may look you directly in the eye and blink very slowly. The cat may also decide to close their eyes for a moment as if they’re sleeping. You can also use this technique to reassure your cat that things are safe by slow blinking back at them.

When cats feel threatened, they likely avoid eye contact rather than direct complete eye contact. This can be an aggressive gesture in the wild, so they’ll avoid it to avoid danger.

Overall, the slow blink means acceptance. It may seem disconcerting, but it’s a beautiful gesture of trust that you can share with your cat as you begin to build a relationship.

How cats show affection

Cat touching a person's hand with paw
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A persistent idea is that cats don’t show affection toward their owners, but they do. Cats may not be as affectionate outwardly as other types of animals, but they do show affection regularly; you just have to know where to look.

Some researchers believe that cats are highly expressive beings capable of showing a lot of affection toward their owners. Slow blinking isn’t reflexive like normal blinking. Instead, it shows a willing movement, something intentional.

When your cat does something intentionally, it’s meaningful, of course. It can be a sign of a happy, confident cat, especially if your cat does it to you in settings other than your home. If it happens at the vet’s office, it shows a decidedly trusting cat toward its owner.

What do I do when my cat slow blinks?

This type of slow blinking could be one way that you can establish a relationship with your cat. You can begin to slow blink at your cat to show affection, or you could watch for signs that your cat is beginning to show affection.

If you notice that your cat is slow blinking to you, returning the blink could be something that you can use to build your relationship. Take this sign of affection as something you can do to show your cat that this could be a trustworthy sitution, too.

Other affection signs

Your cat is doing a lot to show you that it loves you. Here are a few other signs you can look for that shows your cat trusts you and is bonding with you.

Displaying a tummy

This is one of the biggest things your cat can do to show affection. A tummy display is a highly vulnerable position. If your cat is comfortable enough to show its tummy, your cat has a serious trust in you and its environment.

Cat lying on its back
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In the wild, showing a tummy could mean death. It means subservience. It’s not something that you’ll ever see an alert animal do, so take this time to show your cat how much you love it when it shows its tummy to you.

In some cases, this could be a defensive posture, however. Make sure your cat is relaxed entirely, or you could meet the claws. The trick is to check to see if your cat’s body is relaxed before you go in for petting.

Tail postures

The tail is also an excellent way to find out if your cat is feeling happy and affectionate. If your cat walks between your legs and curls its tail around them, this could be a sign of affection. Likewise, if your cat’s tail is high but relaxed, that’s also a sign of affection and confidence.

If your cat has an arched back and rigid tail, that’s a sign of distress, while a tail tucked between its legs is a sign of anxiousness. Keep your eyes peeled for its body language so that you can know what your cat is feeling.

Building a relationship with your cat

Cat sitting on the floor
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Cats are affectionate creatures, but the signs are a little more subtle than the signs of dogs, for example. The signs are there, but it’s essential that you look closely for it. If you take the time to look closely, you could see them unfold.

These little signs like slow blinking offer you the chance to find affection in your cat’s actions. Cats aren’t outwardly showy, but they are able to show humans emotions if humans are willing to look closely.

Once you understand the signs of your cat’s affection, things like slow blinking can give you valuable clues to your cat’s sense of contentment and well-being. These signs are subtle, but you can learn to read them.

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