How Do Cats Communicate with Their Eyes?

Our furry feline friends seem to say a lot without saying anything at all. It’s all in the
subtleties and body language. So how do cats communicate with their eyes?

What Cats Say With Their Eyes

What Cats Say With Their Eyes

It seems our cats are little enigmas — just when we think we have them figured out, they turn the tables and leave us confused.

By now, we’ve figured out that when they expose their belly and look imploringly at you, they’re not asking for tummy rubs — they’re testing you.

We also understand that they may occasionally transform into furry little boomerangs of destruction for no apparent reason during a time we like to call their ‘mad half hour’.

But have you yet to decipher the mysteries of cat eye language? Short of actually talking, there’s only so much cats can do to communicate with you, and if you look closely, you’ll notice that they say an awful lot just through their expressive eyes. But how do cats communicate with their eyes? How can you tell the difference between “I love you, human” and “put your hand near me and I’ll fight it”? 

We’re glad you asked! Let’s delve into the beautiful world of cat eyes.

Interested in cat body language? Discover why cats knead.

Why Cats Stare at You

Why Cats Stare at You

When your cat is staring, unblinking, at you from a distance, this is a clear sign of dominance or control. At times, it might even be a sign of aggression. You’ll most likely notice this stare if your cat interacts with a new pet, particularly a dog. It’ll be accompanied by a large, bushy tail and slow, deliberate movements. With this unblinking stare, a cat can warn off people and pets, protect their territory and guard their food bowl.

Kitty Kisses — The Slow Blink

kitty kisses cat

These slow eye blinks are our favourite. They’re a sure sign that your cat loves you and trusts you. In fact, they’ve become known as ‘kitty kisses‘, and if you get a series of slow, lazy eye blinks, consider it an honour from your beloved pet! Keep an eye out for partially-closed lids, a sleepy expression, and languid eye blinks. Try reciprocating with a slow blink of your own to share the love!

The Slit Pupil

slit pupil cat

If you see your cat’s pupils suddenly shrink to tiny slivers, take note! It’s a sign that something has caught their attention and they’re very interested. It might be prey; it might be a cat toy; it might be your hand. It may be something as simple as seeing their favourite pouch of cat food, or they may have found a stray bit of catnip. You’ll more than likely notice your cat is very alert at this time, its movements sharp and quick.

Narrowed Eyes

Most of the time, our furry companions are the cutest, sweetest things — and sometimes they’re downright scary. Your cat will use their eyes and body language to tell you whether it’s comfortable or irritated, playful or angry. If you notice your cat narrowing its eyes, flattening its ears and backing away, it’s a clear signal that they are on the defence. They are likely scared or intimidated, and at times like this, they need their space. Respect that and back away until they’re comfortable and ready to come to you.

While we have you — check out why cats purr

Eyes Wide Open

Eyes Wide Open Cat

Wide, alert and open eyes are a sign of trust for cats. You’ll notice their pupils are still wide and undilated. When your cat is in a mood like this, they might even come to you for fuss or a head butt.

The Lazy Eye Squint

The Lazy Eye Squint cat

There is nothing lovelier than the lazy eye squint. Not quite a blink, not quite asleep, the squint is a content middle-ground between snoozing and awake. Your cat is at ease, comfortable and at peace with the world. Enjoy the company, the purring and the calm energy — before they start on their next manic energy spree.

Looking for ways to entertain your cat? Catipilla furniture is the way to go. To stay in the loop, sign up to our mailing list and be notified of new products and special offers straight to your inbox.

Our Core Values

Why Catipilla? Every product and idea we have is built around these core values.

Cat health and well-being.
Cats deserve the best. They deserve to be active, to be entertained, to stretch, to climb and to rest. To play out all of their natural instincts where they feel safest – at home. Our range has been designed to cater for these instincts and provide the most enjoyment possible.

High-quality, space-saving additions to your home.
Every unit we design is built to last. We want you to have the confidence that our products will stand the test of time. We also want to ensure that cats feel secure on our units and have the freedom to roam wherever they please.

Sustainable products that last a lifetime.
All of our Catipilla products are made from 85% recycled material and we actively work to reduce our energy footprint by sourcing materials close to home.

Paws For Thought

Our blog is packed full of interesting tidbits and tips on caring for your cat. Whether you’re wondering how to keep your cat stimulated inside or want to learn more about their unique traits, our blog has a wide range of relevant topics to choose from. Click on an article below to get started.

Introducing A Kitten Into Your Home
One of the most exciting times in pet ownership is bringing a kitten into your home for the first time and welcoming a new member into the family. Having spent…
Cat Teeth Clean
Keeping Your Cat’s Teeth Clean
Keeping cats’ teeth clean and in pristine condition is often an overlooked aspect of cat ownership. Indeed, eight out of ten cats over the age of three will develop some…
Cats Up High
Cats Love To Be Up High. Why?
What is it about cats and being up high? The vast majority of breeds love to seek height, whether that’s up a tree, on a shelf, on top of the…

Find Us On Instagram