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New Study Confirms That You Can Communicate With Your Cat With Slow Blinks

Cats have a reputation for being standoffish and largely unaffectionate, but the thing is, that’s because they’re compared with dogs, who are so eager to please their humans. My wife and I do cat rescue, so we have a lot of cats at any given time, and our cats range in their level of affection-seeking. However, one thing has become clear to us. Even our most feral cat craves affection. His instincts rarely allow him to get too close to us, but on the rare occasion that he does and we’re able to pet him or pick him up, he’s purring like crazy.

A new study has shown that there’s a way that cat owners can bond with their cats, and it’s through something that I read about a while back. As it turns out, if you think that your cat’s slow blinking at you is them communicating with you that they love you, you’re absolutely right. Cats smile by slowly blinking their eyes and all we need to do is slow blink back at them. Scientists observed cat-human interactions and confirmed that making this expression compels cats to approach and be receptive to humans, whether the cats are familiar or strange to you. Our feral cat never slow blinks at us as our other cats do, but we’re going to try this with him.


Psychologist Karen McComb works for the University of Sussex in the U.K. and she said that as someone who is a cat owner and has also studied animal behavior, it’s “great to be able to show that cats and humans can communicate in this way.” As she said, cat owners have already suspected this, and it’s great to have evidence for it. What we’re referring to by “slow blinking” is when cats partially close their eyes and slowly blink. It’s very similar to the way human eyes narrow when we smile, the experts say.Cats only do this when they’re contented and relaxed, which is probably why our feral cat never does it to us.



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He just has a really hard time relaxing, although he is a happy cat who enjoys his life very much. By his nature, he’s just always on guard. To try to help him be more comfortable around us, we’ll follow the advice of the researchers, which is to copy the cat’s slow blinking to indicate that we’re open to interaction and friendly. He’s lived with us for nearly three years, so we’re finally getting somewhere. Right now, his eyes are just wide open all the time, watching everything every single minute. Now here’s a video of how cats say they love you.

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