The slow blink
Cats say “I love you” to each other and to us all the time – so how do you say it back?
Look into your cats eyes and slowly blink at them. Its that easy!
A cats slow blink says that they trust you enough to lower their guard. Eye contact is very important in cat language. Staring into a cats eyes intensely is interpreted as a threat – its what enemy cats would do to your puss just before a fight. By relaxing your gaze and blinking ultra slowly, you are saying “I trust you, I love you”.
Humans who don’t know about the slow blink can often interpret it as a cat being disinterested, annoyed, bored or unimpressed. Things a human would be thinking if another person slow blinked at them. Funny how one action can mean opposite things from species to species!
The slow blink can be used to tell a very anxious cat that everything is ok and tell a neighbours cat that you aren’t a nasty neighbour. The uses are nearly endless.
Meeting a friends cat for the first time?
Cat scared by a loud noise outside?
Stressed out in a cat carrier?
Cat looking at you from across the room?
This tiny action is one of the most useful tools in your cat-language tool kit and one of the first you should learn if you want to understand what your cat is trying to tell you. In my work with re-homing shelter cats, the slow blink is invaluable. I use it to help new cats know I mean them no harm, that they are safe now and that I would like to be their friend. If you are familiar with the “East Coast Wave” – that uniquely New Zealand way of greeting each other, I use the slow blink as the cat version of the East Coast Wave quite a lot.