The cat slow blink prevents an intimidating stare

You’ll see it a lot on the internet; cat lovers discussing how their cat does the classic ‘slow blink’ at them and happy to say that it is a sign that their cat loves them. In general people consider the cat slow blink to be a sign of affection from their cat.

It is, in a way but I think its origin indicates that its meaning can be slightly different.

The blink stops a cat staring. And a prolonged stare is intimidating to another cat particularly a subordinate one. The subordinate cat might withdraw.

Therefore in order to maintain social relationships and the benefits that come from that, non-aggressive cats when staring at other cats and their human companion will blink which is a signal that they are not hostile. The blink breaks up the stare.

To be non-hostile is not quite the same as being affectionate. However, it probably has evolved in human households to mean that.

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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3 Responses

  1. Albert Schepis says:

    BRILLIANT ! This is why if anyone asks what ONE website is at the top of my list, it’s this one. Think of it, most people (including myself) try to see the meaning of why cats do something, but this explanation is about what the cat is making the extra effort to show what he’s NOT doing. It’s just brilliant, and I’m kicking myself because I hadn’t thought of it.

  1. October 10, 2020

    […] The cat slow blink prevents an intimidating stare […]

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