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Understanding Cat Eyes

Understanding Cat Eyes

Although the meow is the most common way for cats to communicate, cats are extremely smart, and can also use their body language and other gestures for conveying messages. For instance, feline furries have extremely expressive cat eyes with distinct cat eye meaning, which can tell you a lot about their moods, in addition to their general health, how they are feeling, or if they wish to communicate any special message. As cat parents, we are always fascinated by the adorably silly and complex behaviour of our feline buddies, and learning their body language, the meaning of a cat’s pupils dilating and shrinking and cat’s eye meaning can help us understand our feline friends better. 

Difference between the shape of cat eyes and human eyes

Although like humans, a cat’s eyes are sensitive to light and the pupil can dilate constrict accordingly to regulate the amount of light that enters the cat's eye, cat eyes are vastly different from human eyes in terms of the shape, functioning, and meaning of cat’s eye pupils. 

The meaning of cat’s eye pupils in a cat’s eye can be easily distinguished from human eyes. While humans have round pupils, our fabulous felines have cat eyes and pupils compressed to vertical slits, which can open wider when it is dark and contract in the presence of bright light. The elongated vertical slits in cats can allow greater variations in pupil size to better regulate the amount of light, making cats have a clearer vision in the dark than humans with their feline eyes. In addition to allowing cats an improved vision during their nocturnal hunts, the vertical slits in a cat’s pupils greatly improve their depth perception and accuracy. 

Understanding the meaning of cat eyes

Cats have brilliant, expressive cat eyes that can also communicate a wide range of emotions including excitement, fear, anger, affection and trust. Furthermore, changes in the shape of a cat’s eye can also make cat parents aware of the changes in their moods. In addition to the cat’s eye meaning such as cat dilated eyes and constriction of pupils that can suggest your fabulous feline munchkin is excited or scared by something, a cat’s body language, including the movement of their tail, whiskers, and vocalizations can inform you of their feelings, and can help cat parents develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of their feline friend. 

Common cat eye behaviour and their meanings

  • Slow blinks -

    In spite of their introverted and reserved nature, cats are incredibly affectionate and loving, and slow blinks in the cat’s eye language can be considered the feline equivalent of a warm smile. Slow blinks by cats convey deep love, trust and affection towards their favourite humans. Often accompanied by purring, half-closed, and relaxed eyes in the cat’s eye language, slow blinking also suggests how safe and comfortable your precious fur baby feels around you.
  • Half-closed eyes -

    It is no surprise that as intelligent and expressive cats are, they also communicate using their cat eyes and eyelid movements. Half-closed eyes allow cats to communicate when they are feeling relaxed, happy, and peaceful. In addition to half-closed eyes of a cat, they can also convey happiness through head butting or rubbing their furry head against you, high-pitched meows, displaying their tummy, or raising their tail with the top curled like a question mark. 
  • Hard stare -

    While cats are gentle and friendly most of the time, they can also reveal their defensive and aggressive side if they feel threatened. as per the meaning of a cat’s pupils dilating and shrinking, a long, hard stare from cat dilated eyes allows cats to access their environment. Hard eye contact with fewer blinks and a puffed-up tail and fur can also suggest stress, discomfort, aggression, and dominance.
  • Wide eyes and dilated pupils -

    Cats do not always respond well to sudden changes, which might leave them stressed. Wide cat dilated eyes and pupils are a common sign with the meaning of eyes of a cat that your feline munchkin is out of its element and is trying to assess the new environment. In addition to upright ears pointed forward and a high head position, wide cat dilated eyes and pupils can also indicate an engaged and alert cat.
  • Narrowed pupils -

    Cat eyes are immensely sensitive to light, allowing cats to dilate and constrict their pupils depending on the lighting in their environment. Hence cats basking in the sunlight will have narrowed, slit-like pupils on cat eyes. However, even when not in a bright, well-lit environment, cats can still have thin slit pupils in their cat eyes when they feel threatened or upset. Growling, yowling, and hissing are also signs that your cat is feeling aggressive and is close to attacking.

Cat eyes can also indicate health issues

It is important for cat parents to look out for warning signs in cat dilated eyes meaning. In addition to other body language, paying attention to the eyes of a cat, such as squinting, feline eye discharges, and watery feline eyes can indicate if your fur baby has any health issues that require medical attention. Struggling to find their food, bumping into things, and hiding can also suggest poor eye health that requires immediate professional care. 


  • What does it mean if a cat’s pupils are big?

    Having bigger pupils allows cats to see better, but it might also indicate a state of excitement in cats. In addition to their mysterious look, having a big pupil can have cat dilated eyes meaning such as being surprised or scared.

  • Do cat's pupils dilate when they love you?

    Cats are incredibly affectionate and loving, so it is no surprise that they love to be cuddled and admired. So, when they are being affectionate and loving, the cat’s pupils can also dilate, expressing their excitement to be around you.

  • How do you read a cat’s eyes?

    Cats’ expressive eyes allow cats to convey the cat eye meaning of a cat’s pupils dilating and shrinking. Learning to read the changes in the feline eyes, cat’s eye language and the cat eye meaning of cat’s eye pupils can allow you to understand your cat better. 

  • Why is my cat staring at me?

    Staring can have a wide range of cat eye meaning. However, if your cat is staring at you, it mostly has positive associations such as showing affection or asking for cuddles. But a fixed, hard stare followed by hissing can suggest aggression.

  • What does it mean if a cat squints at you?

    The squinting eyes of a cat often suggest that your cat is feeling happy, relaxed, and peaceful in your company. Squinting and slow blinks from the eyes of a cat are also the feline equivalent of a warm smile, expressing love and trust for the humans.

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