Last updated: 28 Oct, 2020
Published on: 9 Oct, 2013
Do you speak cat? - Dilated pupils
What is your cat saying when their pupils are dilated?
“I’m feeling pretty stressed right now.”
If it’s not dark and your cat’s eyes are dilated, then there is a good chance that she’s feeling stressed. Eyes dilate to let in more light and it’s her body's way of helping her see what is threatening her.
It may not be a direct threat. More likely a situation in which your cat is feeling vulnerable, such as moving to a new house, encountering new animals in the area, a visit to the vet, or being picked up by a stranger.
How do you alleviate your cat’s stress? First, work out what’s causing it and do your best to remove her from the situation. Then give her time to recover. We humans love a hug, but often it isn’t comforting for a cat to be held, cuddled or patted after a stressful situation - even if she really loves you!
Instead, make sure they have somewhere safe to hide, somewhere to get up high and are left alone for at least half an hour. This doesn’t mean you can’t sit quietly with her, just don’t try to convince her that your lap is the best place to be. Wait for her to come out in her own time.
Pain or illness can also dilate your cats eyes, so if you are unsure of the cause, visit your vet for professional advice.
Do you have a dog too? Find out what your dog is saying when he flicks his tongue.