Get to know your Cat: The Slow Blink

Many people have cats or friends with cats, but surprisingly few know how to communicate well with those cats. In this series, I’ll share some tips and tricks I’ve learned through the years!

I’ve always LOVED cats. I had my first cat when I was very young, and ever since I’ve always had or wanted a cat. For those who don’t follow me already, I currently have three cats. I think three is a good number for now, just because we do move so often in this military life, and we have yet to own a house. Three means we sometimes need an exception from the landlord, but since they’re well behaved cats, it’s never been a problem.

My Cats

Before we get into today’s tip, why don’t I introduce you to my cats! Like I said, I have three. Katya will be first; she’s the oldest and the snarkiest.

Katya has been with us since 2012. She was a stray that another military family had found, but they couldn’t keep her at the time. Thankfully my friend I was staying with agreed to let me get her! Katya has been my best friend ever since. Katya is best known for chewing on power cables for attention (it’s like I don’t want her to die or something) and sleeping all day. She’s the best snuggler at night.

Next oldest is Ash. We got her last, in Nebraska. Her hobbies include purring, begging for rotisserie chicken, and excitedly hopping into her chair next to me for morning coffee time, which is what she’s currently doing. She’s most likely to come when called. She’s part ninja. And she’s gorgeous.

Meet Coal. He’s the only boy of the group and we joke that he’s Michael’s boyfriend. Coal loves to smell things. In the kitchen, he’ll obnoxiously cry and walk around your feet because he has to know what’s going on; thankfully we’ve found a fix for that, but that’s a topic for another post. Coal loves to smell your breath, but his depth perception is a little off, so we joke that he “makes out.” It’s adorable and hilarious.

The Slow Blink

If you have been around cats much, you’ve likely noticed that after staring for a moment, they’ll give you what I like to call the “slow blink.” Or they’ll stare at you without blinking. Both of these responses say a lot.

The slow blink, as you may have guessed from its name, is slower than a regular blink. It’s a relaxed and happy blink. I first heard about this from Jackson Galaxy on My Cat from Hell. It’s now something I do without thinking, adopting this cat language into my regular vocabulary, if you will.

Cats are predatory creatures. As such, they aren’t naturally trusting to those they just meet. As you might speculate, you would want to keep an eye on someone you didn’t trust. If a cat just stares at you suspiciously, this is what they’re doing. It’s up to you to try to change this. Take your time with this. Some cats take multiple visits to begin to trust you.

The slow blink is a cat saying “I love you.” Try saying this in your head when you do this.

You see a cat. Keep your distance and make sure to not block their exits if it’s a cat you don’t know.

Make eye contact. Don’t hold this too long, or you’ll defeat the purpose of the slow blink you’re about to do.

Slowly close your eyes and open them, keeping your eyes closed for 2-4 seconds. If the cat doesn’t respond and keeps staring, do it again and try closing your eyes for a couple extra seconds. You’re saying “I trust you” …not to attack me while my eyes are closed.

If it’s a cat you know, chances are your cat will slow blink back at you. I will say that each cat does slow blink differently. For example, Katya will usually slow blink and bow/turn her head away. Ash does a super quick slow blink most of the time, but sometimes I do get a really long one from her, so I know she means it.

Next time you spot a cat staring at you, try this technique out! Let me know how it goes. Also feel free to drop a comment if you’ve already adopting this into your vocabulary. I love to see people showing love to their cats!

I did just update my Instagram to @cats.cocktails.crafts because I hate finding bloggers being inconsistent with their usernames. Ha! Be sure to leave a like and follow!

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