Cat Communication 101- Kitty Kissy Eyes

My Disciples,

Although cats and their Guardians do not speak the same oral language, we are often able to communicate our intentions to one another non-verbally. In fact, the very first connection I ever made with the Guardians came when I saw one of them look out the window at Me and do the slow blink that I call “Kitty Kissy Eyes”.

I was wandering alone in the wilderness at the time. As the son of two feral cats, I thought humans were frightening creatures to be avoided. But when I saw a human looking out the window directly at Me, and then slowly blinking her eyes and opening them again, it stopped Me in My tracks. Thinking that I must be seeing things, I walked right up to the window, sat down and stared up at her. She did it again and I felt compelled to do it back! A momentary sense of calm washed over Me, but then I became uneasy at the strangeness of the interaction and slowly retreated. Over the course of the following five months, both of those who would become the Guardians of Otis exchanged Kitty Kissy Eyes with Me, and in the end, this small gesture played a huge role in gaining My trust.

You too can help instill a sense of calmness and trust in kitties through the use of Kitty Kissy Eyes. Limbo kitty Domino will demonstrate how it is done. First, you look directly at the kitty, letting a sense of calm and relaxation wash over you. You have to let all your tension go or the kitty will sense it and feel uneasy.

Dom's Demonstration 1

Step 1- Be relaxed and calm and make eye contact with the kitty.

Second, slowly move your eyelids together until they are about 95% closed. Breath deeply and continue to project a sense of calmness and relaxation.

Dom's Demonstration 2

Step 2- Breathing deeply, and projecting a sense of calm relaxation, slowly bring your eyelids together until they are about 95% closed.

Finally, slowly open your eyelids until you are once again making eye contact with the kitty.

Dom's Demonstration 3

Step 3- Slowly open your eyes until you are again making eye contact with the kitty.

Throughout the interaction, keep your eyes as soft, and non-threatening as possible. You will know you have successfully delivered your message of peace and calm if kitty does the Kitty Kissy Eyes back at you.

Give it a try, both with your own cats and with those you don’t know. You’ll be surprised at how strongly some of us will respond to this familiar gesture!

So Sayeth Otis

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20 Comments

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20 responses to “Cat Communication 101- Kitty Kissy Eyes

  1. Yes, Kitty Kissy Eyes–you’ve captured the perfect expression for this wonderful exchange. Both of my kitties, Serafina and Atticus, and I share this communication on a regular basis! Some of the kitties in the Special Needs room at the shelter, Lucky and Rascal in particular, have developed advanced Kitty Kissy Eyes skills. I feel so honored when they grace me with these loving eye kisses.

  2. I’ve never done KKE with a stranger kitty, usually I just do it with my own group but there are a lot of friendly kitties in my area that I see regularly…I’ll certainly give it a try!!!

  3. We know how well that works around here! Before I knew about the slow eye blink, I knew that half closing your eyes at a kitty would say “Hey I’m a friend” and wide eyes would say “go away, I’m aggressive!” Which is why people who hate cats always get swarmed because they instinctively narrow their eyes in disgust, MOL, backfires on them! it also backfires on people who love kitties because they usually widen their eyes in excitement!
    I use slow eye blinks, or kitty kissy eyes (love that name!) to try to keep Star from attacking Leo. I just keep doing it until she returns it. It’s hard to be in attack mode when you’re doing the eyes!

  4. Mama and I do this all the time. She looks so cute in a funny human way.
    Teddy

  5. Excellent instructions…are Otis approved instructional videos next? (Then you know Mama Cat will want to create some Cat Olympic training videos…oh, my. Production could get overwhelming)

  6. ooiieeee! now Mom is gonna be doin’ that all the time! She totally believes everything you say Leader Otis…

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