A ‘blink’ is an act of quickly close and opening both eyes. It should be differentiated with a wink where only one eye is involved.
We already looked at why cats stare without blinking, we will be focusing on whether they blink or not and for what reasons?
Cat eyes anatomy
Cats have the upper and lower eyelids just like human beings. In addition, they have the nictitating membrane, or a third eye often referred to as to the palpebra tertia found on the “inner surface of the eyelids (palpebral surface) on one side and the cornea on the other side (bulbar surface),” notes Scientific American.
The nictitating member moves diagonally very fast beginning for the inner eye corner, and it is not easy to notice it moving unless you observe it keenly.
It functions are believed to helps keep the eye surface moist by moving tears as well as remove any debris, protect the cornea from any injuries, among other functions.
Therefore, this means that unlike human beings, these pets don’t need to blink to keep their eyes moist. In fact, it is not uncommon to see cats sleeping with their eyes open.
Do cats blink and when?
Yes. Cats blink or squint. However, as Wikipedia states, they “do not need to blink their eyes on a regular basis to keep their eyes lubricated (with tears).” They can stay without squinting and this helps them while hunting as they can remain focused on their prey.
Perhaps a more precise way to put it is as PetMD says, “cat’s upper and lower lids rarely meet completely, so “blinking” of a cat’s upper and lower lids is often referred to as “squinting” as opposed to outright blinking.”
They squint for protection purposes especially as they walk through grassland or if something appears to want to poke them. They have eyebrow whiskers whose role is to help sense anything that may poke or strike their facial area.
Secondly, it is a means of communicating to their owners, something often known as kitty kiss which we need to talk more about including its meaning.
What does it mean when your cat blinks at you?
Here, you need to differentiate between a normal squint and when your cat blinks at you slowly. The former can happen for any of the reasons we have seen while the latter is what is known as a kitty-kiss.
During a kitty-kiss, your cat will slowly squint or almost close their eyes slowly before opening them again. If this happens while your fluffy friend looks relaxed and their pupils are not dilated, it is a good sign.
It a sign of affection and this pet feels at ease with you. It indicates your kitty trusts you and does not perceive you as a threat. Why else will this pet squint slowly if it feels threatened or if there is its predator there? Showing their belly also sends the same message of trust.
Others interpret it to mean ‘I love you’, ‘I am relaxed and happy’, or any other word that indicates contentment.
If you want to get a cat-kiss, do not stare so much. If you get it, in return, you are also supposed to return the gesture by slowly blinking too with your body and eyes relaxed.
Finally, kitty-kiss can also happen to another cat. The reasons are the same and it is a form of greeting intended to show affectionate.
How often do cats blink
From the discussion, you already know the answer. They will only squint when something is out to hit their face or go near their eyes or if they are communicating with you. Otherwise, they are may not.
Therefore, unlike human beings, it is hard to say how many times since that depends on the two factors we have discussed.
However, if you are talking about the third movement, it happens so fast and you may miss seeing it when it happens.