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Do Cats Have Eyelashes? Everything You Need To Know

Do Cats Have Eyelashes? Everything You Need To Know

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Cats have eyelashes, just like humans. Cat’s eyelashes are such short hairs that people cannot easily see them, so they often think that cats don’t have any eyelashes.

However, cat eyelashes do not protect their eyes as well as human eyelashes do, and cats have other forms of protection.

Most cats have lashes, the only breed of cat that doesn’t is the hairless cat. Ragdoll cats, Maine coons, Persian cats… usually these long-haired cat breeds have more obvious eyelashes than short-haired cats.

Cat owners always want the best for their beloved cats, and educating yourself on cat’s lashes is also important.

You may have asked yourself, do cats have eyelashes? After all, you probably can’t see them. Well, in the text below you will find everything you need to know about cat’s eyelashes.

Do Cats Have Eyelashes Or Not?

tabby cat with green eyes and a pink nose

You will find different answers to this question. Yes and No. How?

Well, these mixed answers exist because cats do have eyelashes, but they are not easily seen.

Cat’s lashes are not like human eyelashes, they are not as developed as ours and obviously we do not have fur, so our eyelashes stand out more.

Cats’ lashes grow in the same place as human lashes; from the upper and lower eyelids, in the form of thick hairs.

Because cats have fur, their eyelashes disappear into it. Cats do not have long eyelashes, so they often blend into the fur..

Cats have short eyelashes which makes them hard to see, so it is not surprising that most people think cats do not have eyelashes, but they are there under the fur and cat whiskers.

Eyelashes are there to protect the eyes, both human eyes and cat eyes.

So the answer to the question ‘do cats have eyelashes?’ is a firm yes.

However, not all cats have them. Hairless breeds (sphynx cats) are the exception, which is not very surprising since they do not have fur either.

They do not have hair anywhere on their body and therefore they don’t have eyelashes . You might wonder how their eyes are protected? Well, they still have the third eyelid.

Before we go into talking about eyelashes any further, I will briefly explain the anatomy of cats’ eyes.

Anatomy Of Cat’s Eyes

The basic anatomy of a cat’s eyes is the same as the anatomy of human eyes. The cornea is basically the part of the eye which is visible to us when we look at a human or in this case, a cat.

They also have a pupil; the black dot in the middle, but in cats’ eyes it looks like a crack and it is sometimes narrow, sometimes wide.

The next part is the iris, the colored part around the pupil. Beyond this is in the cat’s eye is the sclera, which is the white part of the eye.

Cat’s eyes have posterior and anterior chambers, a retina (light-sensitive part), conjuctiva (membrane that covers the front part of the eyeball), lens (to refract light into retina), tapetum lucidum (used for the cat night vision) and eyelids.

Cat’s eyelids, like human eyelids, are the part that cover the eyes when they are closed. This is important because cats’ eyelids, like human eyelids, have eyelashes coming out of them.

Cats, however, have an additional eyelid, sometimes known as the third eyelid.

Third Eyelid

A cat’s third eyelid, also called the inner eyelid, is a nictitating membrane. This is another eyelid which protects a cat’s eye, but it also keeps the eye moist.

Humans need to blink so their eyes do not dry out. Cats do not need to do this as much because of the third eyelid. This is important (especially for wild cats) when facing danger.

The third eyelid maintains the moisture of the eye and removes any dust or dirt that gets in.

Cats can still see clearly while walking, hunting, or doing any other activity, and their eyes will be protected.

The third eyelid starts at the corner of the eye, and scientists claim that humans used to have one too, and that the red part at the corner of our eyes is proof that there was once a third eyelid.

Eyelash Disorders

 Cat with green eyes sitting outdoor

As it is with everything concerning a cat’s body and body parts, cats can have eyelash disorders. However, these disorders are not very common, and when they do happen they are not usually severe or dangerous.

However, if eyelash disorders last for a longer period of time, then they can affect the health of the cat’s eyes.

All eyelash disorders that affect cats are related to hairs not growing properly, or hairs growing in the wrong place. When this happens, the cat’s lashes may touch the surface of the eye and this leads to damage.

These conditions are divided into three eyelash disorders, judged by the location of lash growth:

Trichiasis

Trichiasis is a disorder of ingrown lashes. This condition usually heals on its own, but in some cases you need to shorten your cat’s hair and fur around their eyes so it doesn’t irritate them further.

In extreme cases of ingrown lashes, surgery will be needed. `In most cases, shortening the lashes solves the problem and there is no need for further treatment.

Distichiasis

Distichiasis is more common in dogs, but it can occur in cats too. This is a medical condition where eyelashes grow in weird places.

Usually, eyelashes grow on the edge of eyelids, but in distichiasis lashes can grow on the margins of the eye or on the skin of the eyelid.

This condition also refers to cases when eyelashes grow in the right place, but grow in the wrong directions.

If the lashes grow in towards the eye instead of away from the eye, it can be very irritating for the cat.

Treatment for this condition includes eye lubricants, repeatedly plucking the extra eyelashes, surgery, or laser treatment which can remove the hair follicle completely.

Ectopic Cilia

This condition resembles distichiasis, but ectopic cilia refers to a disorder of the lashes in which the cat’s lashes grow out of the conjunctiva and touch the surface of the eye.

Treatment for ectopic cilia can be either to freeze the hair follicles (in order to destroy them) or remove the eyelashes with a scalpel.

Symptoms

If you feel like something’s going on with your cat’s eyelashes, aor you notice any unusual symptoms, visit the veterinarian. Going to the vet is always a good idea, better to be safe than sorry!

The vet will always ask about the cat’s behavior over the previous days, so make sure to mention anything unusual that you have noticed..

Symptoms of eyelash disorders may include:

• A change in eye color

• Sign of pain in the eye area

• Redness or swelling

• Corneal ulcers

• Discharge coming from the eyes

• Watery eyes

• Twitching eyes

• Cat constantly touching or rubbing their eyes

Recovery

If any of the aforementioned conditions affects your cat, you might need to clean their eyes.

Clean them, and keep them clean, by washing them carefully according to instructions from the vet using only prescribed eyewash.

Sometimes eyelashes which are operated on or removed can grow back too soon and you will need to pluck them out again.

Frequent check-ups will be needed, but pet parents will do anything for their cat’s health.

Purpose Of Eyelashes

one siamese cat eye macro extreme closeup

What is the purpose of cat eyelashes?

As with our own eyelashes, the purpose of a cat’s lashes is to protect the eyes.

Eyelashes prevent dust and dirt from getting in, but they also warn cats if something is approaching their eyes so they can close them quickly.

However, cat’s eyelashes are rather small and not well-defined, so cats have other ‘protection’. They have whiskers, fur, and a third eyelid to protect their eyes.

Q & A

What are cat eyelashes?

Just like human eyelashes, cat lashes are stiff hairs which grow out of the edges of the eyelids.

Do cats have eyelids?

Yes. As a matter of fact, they even have an extra eyelid.. This extra eyelid is a nictitating membrane which is usually called the third eyelid or inner eyelid.

The third eyelid protects the cat’s eyes even more, keeping the eyes moist so they do not have to blink and can always be on guard.

Do cats have eyelashes on their eyes?

a young cat curiously peeking out

Yes. Cats do have eyelashes, but it is common for owners to question whether or not they have them as cat’s lashes are not usually visible because they are usually short and well hidden under the fur and whiskers.

What breed of cat has eyelashes?

It is quicker to say which breed of cat doesn’t have eyelashes! Only the Sphynx, the hairless cat breed, does not have lashes. This is hardly surprising since they have practically no coat at all..

Every other cat breed has eyelashes and some breeds have more visible lashes than others, e.g. Maine Coons.

Can I cut my cats eye lashes?

You should not cut your cat’s lashes. However, in cases when this needs to be done (eyelash disorders) your veterinarian will do all that is needed.

What purpose do cat eyelashes serve?

Eyelashes protect the cat’s eyes and they provide a warning when something gets close so the eyelids can react and protect the eyes. They prevent dirt, dust, and such, from getting in.

Finally…

In closing, to answer the question Do cats have eyelashes? I say, yes.

Cats do have eyelashes, even though they are not very visible. Some cat breeds like Maine coon or Persian cats have more obvious eyelashes than, for example, the Siamese cat.

Cats can have eyelash disorders and it is important that cat owners educate themselves on these topics, so further health issues are avoided.

Luckily, eyelash disorders are not severe or life-threatening, but even if they were, these problems can easily be prevented or cured when you take good care of your pets.

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