Our wonderful feline friends always find ways to communicate with us. Whether it’s with their tail, ears, purrs, or eyes – they’re always telling us something. We just have to learn to understand them. Your kitty’s body language can tell you a lot, so why does your cat close her eyes?
It’s usually not a cause for concern, but it can actually be the exact opposite. Cats close their eyes in a lot of different situations, and it can mean a lot of things, too. Typically, it means they’re content with whatever situation they’re in.
When your cat closes her eyes, take it as a sign that she’s relaxed, safe, and happy. Of course, you should always analyze the situation she’s in when this happens. If she’s doing something she likes with her eyes closed, know she’s enjoying every bit of it.
However, if your cat is keeping her eyes closed most of the time no matter what she’s doing, it could be a sign of something more serious. We’re here to help you understand all the potential reasons why this happens, and when you should take it as a sign of something more serious.
7 possible reasons why your cat closes her eyes
Most of the time, closed eyes mean your kitty is happy and at peace. But what about the situations in which it happens? They can tell you a lot about what your cat is trying to communicate to you. So let’s go over some of the most common reasons why cats close their eyes.
1. Some cats close their eyes when they’re eating
If your kitty keeps her eyes closed while she’s eating, the reason is pretty simple – she’s fully enjoying her meal. Do you ever eat something so good that you shut your eyes and try to focus on every single taste in your mouth? It’s not much different with our purrers, either.
When our fluffy gourmands eat, they’re usually in a state of relaxation. If their eyes are closed, it means they feel safe and comfortable enough to completely enjoy their goodies. Plus, the meal they’re eating is so flavorful and tasty, they simply have to focus on each bite.
However, sometimes your furball might close her eyes when eating to protect herself. In nature, our favorite pawdators shred meat from the bone, and some fragments of it can fly into their eyes. Because of that, they try to protect them by keeping them shut.
2. She’s enjoying every bit of your attention
If you notice your snuggle bug keeps her eyes closed while you’re petting her, you can be proud of yourself for making your fluff feel protected. Your cuddle buddy enjoys your presence so much that she feels safe enough to close her eyes and relax. Isn’t that what every cat parent wants to hear?
Although we’re led to believe that cats hate human interaction, that’s not really the case. If it’s with the person they feel safe around, our little attention seekers will love every bit of affection they can get. Closing their eyes is simply their way of telling you they trust you.
Cats are seen as pets with little appreciation for anything, but every cat parent knows just how much love they can get from their feline baby. If your purrer closes her eyes when you pet her, take it as her showing you how much she appreciates you being close to her.
On top of that, she’s probably in a state of complete relaxation and comfort. To fully enjoy it, she might close her eyes to get lost in all that love and affection she’s getting.
Cats aren’t the most trusting animals around, and it takes quite a bit of patience and work to earn their trust. If your kitty feels safe enough to close her eyes when she’s with you – you’re doing a great job! There’s nothing to worry about, and you should enjoy these wonderful moments with your furbaby.
3. You’re scratching all the right places
Touching, petting and scratching are all great ways for you to bond with your lovely furry companion. All felines love receiving pets from their parents because it calms them down, and feels pleasurable.
However, sometimes your pets and scratches get a bit too much, and your softie can easily get overstimulated and irritated. If you notice your kitty’s tail starting to swing a little or she starts biting you, it might be time for you to stop petting her, or change it up a little bit and see if that works.
If your fluffy snuggler closes her eyes and purrs, on the other hand, keep doing exactly what you’re doing. She LOVES it. You’re probably scratching all the right places and finding her favorite spots.
Although all cats are different with individual preferences, there are some spots you can pet that most of our fur babies enjoy. They love receiving scratchies around their ears, cheeks, and under their chin. When you pet your purrer’s facial glands, she’ll probably close her eyes to absorb every bit of it.
Your snuggle bug is enjoying the petting session if she shows the following signs:
- Softly purring
- Her eyes are closed
- She’s keeping her tail upright
- She’s making cute little air biscuits (or kneading with her paws)
- Her posture is relaxed
- She’s nudging you with her head
- Her ears are facing forward
4. She’s communicating with you
It’s not unusual for our furry, little lovebugs to close their eyes when their favorite human’s talking to them. No, it doesn’t mean she’s ignoring you or finding you annoying. Quite the opposite, actually. She’s enjoying you talking to her, and slowly closing her eyes is her way of communicating back to you.
Unfortunately, our kitties can’t understand what we’re saying to them, no matter how hard we try. Luckily, all our words of love and affection don’t really go to waste. Although they don’t completely get it, our four-legged sweethearts still know we’re talking to them. And sometimes, that’s just enough.
Yes, they know when we’re talking to them, but the crucial factor in parent-to-cat communication is the eyes. Especially when it comes to communicating emotions. If you blink slowly to your fluff while making high-pitched noise, she’ll probably mimic you. How cool is that?
A lot of people mistake this for their sleepyhead being tired so they stop talking to her, but that’s not the case. Although kitties usually don’t close their eyes completely during this, it still looks like they’re sleepy, so we understand the confusion. Be free to talk to your fluff, even if she ends up falling asleep.
This form of communication strengthens the bond between you and your kitty. If you do this regularly, your smarty-pants will repeat it, and in no time you’ll be able to understand your furbaby just by looking into her eyes.
5. Slow blinks are your kitty’s way of telling you she loves you
Have you heard of eye kisses? It’s your kitty’s way of saying “I love you” with her eyes, and it’s the cutest thing ever! Once you learn what it means and how to recognize it, your heart will melt every time your snuggle bug does it.
Although a cat squinting or closing her eyes can mean she’s feeling safe enough to let her guard down around you, it can also be a way for her to communicate her feelings for you. A slow blink is often seen as an “eye kiss”, and you can take it as a sign of deep devotion your furbaby has for you.
Next time you’re petting her, try giving her a small blink or two. Often, your kitty returns the favor, and it’s the most heartwarming thing ever. It truly shows the special bond you and your fluffy darling have.
Your kitty’s eyes can tell you a lot, but so can the rest of her body language. If your cuddle buddy is purring, rubbing her head on you, or bumping you, those are all signs she loves you. Gentle eye kisses are just cherries on top.
6. She’s grooming and calming herself down
Although it seems like cats are constantly licking and grooming themselves, they’re actually doing it only when they feel like it’s safe to do so. When they’re cleaning themselves, our little, fluffy monsters like to close their eyes, which is why it’s important that they’re not on high alert.
Yes, cats are the biggest clean freaks you’ll meet, but they’re not always grooming themselves just to stay tidy. Sometimes, they do it to calm and comfort themselves. You might notice your nervous Nellie licking herself when she’s uncomfortable, embarrassed, or facing danger.
Grooming sessions are always pleasurable for felines, no matter why they happen. Because of that, most of the time your purrer will keep her eyes closed during it. She’s showing pleasure, while at the same time comforting herself if she’s in a stressful situation.
If she’s brushing her face, she’ll keep her eyes closed for practical reasons. She’s trying not to scratch her eyes or get hair and particles in them.
However, if your kitty closes her eyes during a grooming session with a comb or brush, she’s probably not enjoying it as much. Especially if she’s a long-haired diva. It’s easy for her hair to get tangled, so she might close her eyes to calm herself through an uncomfortable procedure of you trying to brush her knots out.
7. She’s half asleep
Cats sleep for 12-16 hours a day and are usually awake at night. Of course, the only time they’re not sleeping is when you are trying to. That’s how our feline kings and queens love it, and we have to live with it.
So, most of the time when you see your sleepyhead with her eyes closed, she’s probably just taking one of her many naps. Sometimes, however, she might be just “resting”, sitting there half asleep. When your kitty is sitting in the cute catloaf position, she might close her eyes as a result of being deeply relaxed.
Although your fluff might seem like she’s asleep, she’s probably aware of everything that’s happening around her. You can even see her ears moving as she focuses on the noises around her. This enables her to move quickly if there’s any threat around her and is usually one of the first stages of her sleeping cycle.
Health conditions that make cats close their eyes
When cats close their eyes, it’s typically a sign that they’re feeling happy, safe, and relaxed. Although most of the time this is a positive thing, sometimes it can be an indicator of something more serious. Our feline companions are good at hiding sickness, so it’s good to pay attention to what their body language is telling you.
Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelid, and it could be one of the reasons why your kitty is keeping her eyes closed. It is caused by anatomical anomalies, or it occurs as a reaction to bacterial infections, viral infections, allergens, parasites, and more.
If you suspect your kitty suffers from Blepharitis, keep an eye out for these symptoms:
- Eye itching
- Watery and inflamed eyes
- Thicker eyelids
- Blurred vision
- Loss of hair
2. Eye infections
Another common health issue related to cats closing their eyes is eye infections. If your kitty has bright and clear eyes, there’s nothing for you to worry about. Any slight changes in them, however, can be an indicator of an eye infection.
If you’re not sure whether your cat’s dealing with an eye infection, inflammation and discharge are the most obvious signs, and probably the first things you’ll notice. Some of the eye conditions that can cause cats to keep their eyes closed include eye ulcers, conjunctivitis, glaucoma, and uveitis.
Although it might not seem like a big deal at first, untreated eye infections can lead to bigger health issues. As her eye infection worsens, your kitty might feel sicker and sicker.
Some cats with eye infection complications lose their appetite, which then leads to weight loss. If your cat likes to roam free outside, bad eyesight can make it hard for her to manage in the wild and even get her in danger. Because of that, it’s crucial that you visit her vet and get proper treatment for her eye.
3. Eye trauma
If your kitty’s a little fighter that likes to get in trouble with the neighboring cats, then injuries and scratches are something you’ve probably gotten used to by now. However, such wounds can be really painful and uncomfortable if they’re anywhere near her eye.
If your fur fighter came back home with a scratch above her eye, don’t be surprised if she spends the rest of the day squinting or keeping it closed. It might be too painful or uncomfortable for her to keep it open until it heals.
Cat fights aren’t the only possible cause of eye injuries. Accidents can happen even inside, especially if your fluff is extra energetic. Here are some of the symptoms of an eye injury you can look for:
- Increased blinking
- Yellow discharge
4. Upper respiratory infection
Although not completely related to these organs in her body, upper respiratory infections can still cause your cat to keep her eyes shut as the sinuses are close to them. It’s often the case that a cat’s eyes become irritated and sore as a result of respiratory infection, which leads to her closing them to avoid discomfort.
If you suspect your kitty might be suffering from an upper respiratory infection, look for these symptoms:
- Runny nose
- Sneezing and wheezing
- Nasal discharge
- Watery eyes
- Loss of appetite
- Hoarse meowing
If you notice any of these symptoms in your feline, make sure to contact the vet. They’ll give her proper treatment and prescribe antibiotics that will help her get back on her feet.
Can kitty’s eyes heal on their own?
If your cat is dealing with minor eye irritation, don’t worry. It will probably go away on its own, but still, make sure to monitor her to avoid any possible complications. If your kitty’s lucky enough, her eyes will be back to normal in a matter of days.
However, if your feline starts off with minor irritation, but over the days develops other symptoms such as discharge, you should contact the vet. It’s usually the first sign that your cat is dealing with more than just an irritation, and that she might require treatment for an eye infection.
In more serious cases and if not treated on time, eye infections can cause more serious health issues. Those include lethargy, aggression, poor appetite, and in extreme situations – blindness. Whether it’s with eye drops or antibiotics, minor eye infections in cats are usually easy to treat, so don’t worry.
It’s essential that you take your kitty to the vet as soon as you notice the first symptoms of an eye infection. Even if it ends up being nothing – at least you know you did the right thing, and you can rest knowing your kitty’s perfectly fine.