Do Cats Have Eyelashes? Truth Revealed!

We all love our cat’s enchanting eyes and long whiskers, but do cats have eyelashes? This is a question asked by many pet parents, and cat enthusiasts alike.

In this post you’ll discover the truth, as well as many other interesting facts about cat’s eyes. Keep reading to find out about cat eyelashes as well as the third eyelid, and lots more fun stuff.

Whether you have one kitty or many cats, you’ll enjoy reading this post.

The answer to the question “do cats have eyelashes?” is mixed. While some say a definite yes, other cat owners aren’t sure.

Some animals like cows and horses have eyelashes that are obvious to see. While others like birds are not so obvious.

In fact, bird eyelashes are modified feathers, but that’s another story. The truth is all land mammals have eyelashes which are designed to protect the eyes.

These of course include cats. So, yes, most cats do have eyelashes. However, in most cases you’d really need to look hard to find them.

This is because unlike many other mammals including humans, a cat’s eyelashes are very short. Added to which, they’re mixed in with hair.

There are exceptions though. This includes the Sphynx, a hairless breed of cat. Also, the Devon Rex and Cornish Rex are also without eyelashes

Do Cats Need Eyelashes?

do cats need eyelashes

If you’re wondering if cats actually need eyelashes, technically speaking no. Unlike many other mammals cats have third eyelids to protect the eyes.

In addition, fur and whiskers help stop particles of dirt or debris getting into them. This means your cat has multiple ways of protecting her eyes.

Do Kittens Have Eyelashes?

Providing they’re not a hairless breed, yes, all kittens have eyelashes. Whether your kitten has long or short fur her eyelashes will be fully formed just as in adults.

About The Third Eyelid

do cats have eyelashes-about the third eyelid

As I just mentioned the third eyelid I’d thought I’d explain a bit more about it. If you’ve ever watched your cat half dozing, you may have noticed a thin translucent film in her eyes.

However, as your cat becomes alert this quickly retracts. This is known as the third eyelid and serves to protect the cornea.

It evolved to protect cat’s eyes as they forage face first through undergrowth stalking prey. As you can imagine, without this protection the risk of damage to a cat’s cornea would be high.

If you can see your cat’s third eyelid though, apart from when she’s sleepy it’s a sign something’s wrong. It’s totally normal however if your cat is in the light stages of sleep or just deeply relaxed.

In fact, it’s not unusual for cats to have their eyes open during light sleep. This is a survival instinct used to protect themselves from predators.

Eyelash Problems In Cats

Although eyelash problems are rare in cats they can still occur. If you notice any problem with your cat’s eyes it’s important to see your vet.

NEVER try home treatments as you could make things much worse. Although gently dabbing the edge of the eye with clean water is ok.

Ectopic cilia

Ectopic cilia are eyelashes that grow abnormally into the eye. As a result your cat would experience irritation.

This condition is actually more common in dogs, but very rare in cats. You probably wouldn’t be able to see any hairs as they’d be too small.

However, your cat would be squinting, or rubbing her eyes if there was a problem. There are many other eye conditions in cats that are far more common.

Do Cats Have Eyebrows?

do cats have eyebrows

You may think if cats have eyelashes they must have eyebrows. However, this certainly isn’t the case.

If you look closely at your cat’s face you’ll notice whiskers sticking out of the brow area. These not only warn of approaching danger, but help protect your cat’s eyes as well.

Interestingly, eyebrow whiskers can move independently of those in the cheek area. While humans use eyebrows in facial expressions, cats use other ways of showing their moods.

Eyes especially can seem to convey expression, especially that slow blink. However, even though you may think your cat smiles at you, she’s not evolved to show facial expression!

The only expression believed to reassure other cats is the slow blink. It’s thought to be a way of letting other cats in their den know it’s safe to sleep.

If you’ve ever tried slow blinking in front of your cat, you’ll notice her copying you. Cats are complex animals and understanding cat language isn’t easy.

Although your cat can’t smile or frown she has many other ways of expressing herself.

Fun Facts About Your Cat’s Eyes

fun facts about cats eyes

Apart from having very short eyelashes and no eyebrows there are a few more facts you may find interesting. These include an amazing ability to detect prey moving at four millimetres per second.

That’s way more than humans are capable of! Also, despite popular belief, cats are unable to see in total darkness.

This is because they’re crepuscular animals. This means they’ve evolved to be more active around dawn and dusk.

Small prey such as mice and other rodents are also active around this time making them easy targets for your cat! Your cat has amazing peripheral vision and is capable of seeing 200 degrees on each side.

This makes hunting and stalking prey easier. Lastly, cats are near sighted making it hard to see anything close up.

This is why your cat doesn’t always see treats placed under her nose!

Final Thoughts

All cats apart from hairless breeds have eyelashes. Whether you have an exotic Persian or short hair kitty she will have eyelashes

. Even though you can’t see them they’re helping to protect her eyes from dirt and debris. Fur and whiskers will hide her eyelashes as they blend in.

While it’s rare for cats to suffer any problems with eyelashes, you should always get your vet’s advice if you notice any abnormality.

If you’ve enjoyed this post please share. Also, if you have any questions, or want to share experiences, leave a comment below.

Wishing you a purrfect day:)

10 thoughts on “Do Cats Have Eyelashes? Truth Revealed!”

  1. Hi Kathy,
    I love coming to your site because I know that you will have another wonderful article posted. I had never given any thought to my cats having any eyelashes or eyebrows, But, I have noticed those long eyebrow whiskers! Very interesting!
    And that inner eyelid, I have noticed when I wake the cat when they are dozing off.
    Fortunately, I have never had any problems with their eyes that required a vet. Now, I will have some idea what is wrong when I do! Thanks, for this great post!

    • Hi Chas, thanks for stopping by again:) Yes, those long eyebrow whiskers have multiple purposes. They not only help gauge distances, but serve to protect the cat’s eyes as well. I’ve also noticed the third eyelid in my cat when he’s in a light doze. It’s also amazing how quick it moves back into the corner of the eye! Glad to hear your cats have never had problems with their eyes

  2. What an interesting article! I love it. You share miscellaneous knowledge about cats and it helps owners know better. The third eyelids, ectopic cilia, slow blink, and near-sighted eyes are things I never understand before reading this post. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    • Hi Matt, good to see you on my blog again:) Glad you enjoyed this post about eyelashes in cats. Yes, there’s a lot of fascinating information about cat’s eyes some of which I shared here

  3. Thank you for another great post about cat’s life, Kathy. I wasn’t really aware of the third eyelid. That’s something interesting to me. It makes sense seeing the purpose of it. I am also surprised reading cat’s do not show any facial expression rather than theirs famous slow blink. I always love reading your posts, as they are learning base for me. Please, so continue your great work. Cheers

    • Hi Julius, nice to see you back, and glad you enjoyed this post:) Yes, it’s hard to tell a cat’s mood by facial expression. However, they can swivel their ears and even move cheek whiskers! A swishing tail, and flattened ears facing back is a sign of playful aggression. My cat shows this expression at least once a day! The third eyelid is something most of us don’t think about unless there’s a problem:)

  4. Very interesting, Kathy. What I found the most interesting is the third eyelid. It is so interesting how animals are created with absolutely everything in mind considering their lifestyle and the protection needed in this regard.

    • Hi Schalk, good to see you here again, and glad you found this post interesting:) Yes, it’s wonderful how animals have everything needed to survive in their environment. Every species is unique with different needs, and this has all been addressed in evolution:)

  5. Wow. Cats have a third eyelid? Really interesting.

    I was totally wondering how that worked until you explained further. Nature’s wonderful I guess. The peripheral vision is pretty impressive too. I mean, 200 degrees from their eyes would have them almost seeing backwards. Little wonder they’re such great predators.

    I always enjoy your cat posts because there’s always something new to learn.
    Well done Kathy!


    • Hi Femi, nice to see you here again:) Yes, not everyone realises cats have a third eyelid. It really is impressive how nature equips different species with the right tools they need for hunting and surviving. It truly is little wonder they’re such great hunters!


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