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Do Cats have Eyelashes? An Interesting Question

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Do cats have eyelashes?

Technically, yes, cats have eyelashes. It may look as though cats’ eyes don’t have eyelashes, as cats have more hair generally around the eye area, which gives the appearance of thick hair with no lashes.

The lashes are not well defined from the surrounding hair when looking at a cat. It is certainly understandable that you may think your cat has no eyelashes.

We expect that the lashes will look similar to our eyelashes and those of other mammals. Some mammals, for example, camels and horses, have very well-defined eyelashes. 

Why Are Cat’s Eyelashes Difficult To See?

Cat’s eyelashes do not look exactly like human lashes, and that’s where the confusion is. As mentioned, cats have thick hair around the eye; humans do not.

The eyelashes are mostly not visible or distinguishable from the thick hair in the eye area. This leads many to believe that cats do not have eyelashes.

Anatomy Of A Cat’s Eye Showing Eyelashes

do cats have eyelashes

Cats Can Have Medical Problems Related To Eyelashes

Wag describes the different medical problems that can arise with cats’ eyelashes. 

Distichiasis: occurs when the eyelash grows from the inner rim of the eyelid.
Ectopic cilia: a condition in which the eyelashes grow from inside the eyelid,  is activated when cats walk through bushes, tall grass or at any time.
Trichiasis: occurs when the eyelashes grow in different directions.

All three conditions cause the eyelashes to come into contact with the eye, which can lead to discomfort and pain for the cat.

Reference:  wagwalking.com/cat/condition/eyelash-disorders
do cats have eyelashes

Eyelashes help prevent dirt and other substances from entering the eye, which may cause irritation. When we blink, our tears lubricate the surface of the eye.

Cats have another form of eye protection that lubricates and protects the surface of the eye.

You may have heard about a third eyelid.

Cats Have A Third Eyelid

Does it do the job, or part of the job, of eyelashes?

The third eyelid extends from the corner of the eye to cover the eye and retracts into the corner of the eye when no longer needed.

Its function is to give added protection to the surface of the eye when needed, such as when moving through scrub, bushes, tall grass, and so on.

It keeps the eye moist without compromising vision. It sweeps the eye and gets rid of any debris and pollen while redistributing tears over the cornea to keep the surface of the eye moist. Picture it moving across the eye.

Sometimes it is possible to see the third eyelid. You might see it as your cat is waking up or while the cat is sleepy. It looks filmy and almost translucent.

The third membrane is activated when cats walk through bushes, tall grass or at any time where the eye is exposed and may be scratched.

The third membrane acts as protection.

Other mammals such as dogs, birds, reptiles, fish and amphibians also have a third eye

Did you know that humans also once had a third eyelid, which is now just seen as the whitish, pinkish area at the inside corner of our eye? It no longer acts as a third eyelid.

Do Cats Have Eyelashes?

So do cats have eyelashes? Yes, even though they may not be obvious to an observer.

The ease of seeing the eyelashes will depend on the breed of the cat.

In first place is the Siamese. The Persian comes in a close second; while its eyelashes are not quite as prominent as the Siamese, they are still very noticeable.

The Ragdoll and the Maine Coon are also notable for their eyelashes.

A Breed Of Cat With No Eyelashes At All

Do hairless cats have eyelashes?

Sphynx Cat no eyelashes

Sphynx cats are hairless and they have no eyelashes.

Cats Lovingly Headbutt Their owners

I love it when my cat headbutts me. Why do they that?

woman and cat headbutting

For Fun – Cat With False Eyelash Eyebrows

This is a very short video—only nine seconds. (I say this because I can’t stand fluffing about with videos that waste time.)

It will give you a chuckle.

cats reading the paper in bed
Have you seen my mascara, dear? My eyelashes are just not cutting it at the moment!

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