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What your cat’s eyes say about him

 by bora on 23 Jul 2020 |
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Cats are subtle communicators, but you can learn more about what your pet is thinking by watching his eyes. Here’s how.

We’ve all watched our cats attack their favorite toys, but some observant pet parents will notice their cats’ pupils grow to the size of dinner plates during playtime. This phenomenon signals your pet is excited and is just one of many ways Kitty’s eyes give us a glimpse into what he is thinking.

Cats are natural predators, so tossing and catching his favorite toy—or your sock—is something Kitty does from time to time. Wide pupils indicate your cat is excited and engaged, but they can just as easily be a sign of anxiety or fear. To understand what your pet’s large pupils mean, pay attention to what is going on around him: Is there something disrupting your cat’s day-to-day routine, such as a thunderstorm or new animal in his household? Watch for other body language, such as an arched back, that indicates your pet is feeling fearful, and give him space to calm down if he appears upset. In the same way his eyes can become the size of dinner plates, so can your cat’s pupils shrink into narrow slits. If his eyes are open in this manner, it typically indicates some sort of arousal, whether it is pleasure or fear. Again, context is key in reading what your pet’s gaze means: If he is growling or hissing, he is clearly upset. But, if Kitty’s pupils are small while relaxed next to you on the couch, his eyes indicate he is enjoying himself and ready to be approached.
In addition to his pupils, your cat’s eyelids speak volumes about his mood. Pets that give you a direct state may seek to threaten you and are ready for confrontation. Avoid these cats allow them time to cool down. However, cats that simply appear alert with wide eyes are showing they trust you, especially if their gaze is follow by a cheek rub or other affection behavior. The ultimate sign of feline trust, however, is the slow blink. As the name indicates, this gesture involves a cat’s eyes partially closed with a sleepy appearance. When a cats lets his guard down like this, it shows he trusts you to the fullest. Return your pet’s slow-blink with your own slow blink display to show him the trust is mutual.

Cats are subtle communications, so it can be easy to miss their body language altogether. Since Kitty cannot tell you what he is thinking, however, it is worthwhile to pause to understand his body language. Combined with context, your cat’s behavior will help you get to know your his emotional and mental states, allowing you to interact in ways that improve the bond you share with your companion.


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