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Learn To Speak Cat: “I Love You”

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!


In Practice:

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?
Slow blink

Cat scared by a loud noise outside?
Slow blink

Stressed out in a cat carrier?
Slow blink

Cat looking at you from across the room?
Slow blink

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.

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