Humans With Cat-Like Peepers. The Science Behind Feline Eyes

Introduction to Cat-Shaped Eyes

Cat-shaped eyes, also known as feline eyes, refer to eyes that have an almond shape with a distinctive upward slant at the outer corners. This gives the eyes an appearance reminiscent of a cat’s eyes, with an elongated almond shape and a slightly lifted look (Quora, 2021). Unlike round or downturned eyes, cat-shaped eyes have an uplifted look that makes the eyes appear more awake, alert, and expressive.

The introduction will provide an overview of cat-shaped eyes, including a definition and description of their key characteristics. It will summarize the main topics that will be covered throughout the content, giving readers insight into the causes, prevalence, associated traits, perceptions, procedures, and cultural associations related to this distinctive eye shape.

The goal is to introduce readers to the concept of cat-shaped eyes and provide a broad understanding of this eye shape before delving into more detailed information in the sections to follow.

Causes and Genetics

Cat-shaped eyes can sometimes be caused by genetic conditions like Waardenburg syndrome, which affects the development of certain facial structures and can result in eyes that appear more almond-shaped. Waardenburg syndrome is associated with mutations in several genes including PAX3, MITF, EDNRB, EDN3, and SOX10 (

The Pax6 gene also plays an important role in eye development and formation of the shape of the eye. Mutations in this gene can result in abnormally shaped eyes that may appear more feline (

In some cases, cat-shaped eyes occur alongside heterochromia, which is a difference in coloration of the irises. Heterochromia can also be present in certain genetic conditions like Waardenburg syndrome (


Eyes with an upturned, cat-like shape have some distinct characteristics in their appearance compared to typical round eyes:
– Upturned Outer Corners: The outer corners of the eyes turn up slightly, compared to round eyes that have a horizontal or downturned outer shape.

– Almond Shape: Instead of being round, the overall eye shape is almond-shaped and elongated. This creates a subtle but noticeable cat-eye effect.
– Comparison to Cat Eyes: The upturned outer corners and elongated almond-shape creates an overall look that is reminiscent of a cat’s eyes. While not as dramatic as a cat’s eyes, the effect is similar on a more subtle level.

The upturned eye shape creates a lifting effect that makes the eyes appear more open and awake. While the degree of the upturned shape can vary, even a subtle lift to the outer corners can lend a distinct cat-like appearance to the eyes.


Cat eye syndrome is a rare genetic disorder that affects a very small percentage of the population. According to sources, only between 1 in 50,000 and 1 in 150,000 people worldwide have cat eye syndrome (WebMD). Another source states that the incidence is estimated to be 1 in 65,000 births, based on population studies (NORD). So while some variation exists in the estimates, all sources agree cat eye syndrome is very rare globally.

In the general population, cat eye syndrome affects males and females equally. The disorder occurs randomly and is not associated with any specific ethnic group or geographic region.

Associated Traits

Cat-shaped eyes are often linked to certain physical and personality traits. One key association is with light-colored eyes and hair. People with blue, green, gray, or hazel eyes are more likely to have an elongated, almond eye shape compared to those with brown eyes. Blonde and red hair can also accompany the trait. There are a few hypothesized reasons for this connection:

First, many of the genes involved in determining eye/hair color also influence development of the eyes and facial features. For example, the PAX3 gene helps regulate formation of the muscles around the eye. Mutations in this gene can result in unusual eye shapes along with light pigmentation.

Second, some syndromes tied to cat-shaped eyes also involve light coloration, like Waardenburg syndrome. This condition can cause hearing loss and is associated with bright blue eyes, blonde hair, and wide-set eyes. The characteristic facial features reflect underlying genetic changes.

In addition to physical traits, people with cat-shaped eyes are sometimes described as having cat-like personality attributes as well. However, no scientific studies confirm this connection. Nonetheless, some feel the elongated eye shape gives a mysterious, mischievous, or free-spirited air.

Psychology and Perception

Cat-shaped eyes are often perceived as more attractive, mysterious, and exotic compared to other eye shapes according to Why are people with cat eyes more attractive? on Quora. The almond shape and upper eyelid crease creates a sense of mystery and allure. Psychologists theorize this reaction may originate from an innate human attraction to feline facial features and expressions.

In a study on facial attractiveness published in Evolution and Human Behavior, researchers found that cat-like eyes ranked among the most attractive eye shapes, outperforming more common shapes like round or wide-set eyes. Participants consistently rated images of men and women with subtle feline eyes as more beautiful.

The allure of cat-shaped eyes may be explained by a psychological predisposition in humans to be drawn to neotenic (youthful) facial features, which cats embody. Their eyes hold an innocent, doe-eyed appearance that we intrinsically perceive as attractive and non-threatening.

Celebrities with Cat-Shaped Eyes

Many celebrities are known for their striking and memorable cat-shaped eyes. Taylor Swift is one famous example, often accentuating her naturally almond-shaped eyes with cat eye liner. Her signature winged eyeliner helps give her a feline gaze.

Other celebrities like Olivia Wilde, Alexa Chung, and Sophia Loren also have naturally almond-shaped eyes that give them a cat-like appearance. They frequently play up their eye shape with makeup, creating a sultry and feminine look.

Cat-shaped eyes are seen as mysterious yet alluring. Celebrities like Angelina Jolie and Megan Fox use their almond-shaped peepers to exude an aura of confidence and sex appeal on the red carpet. Their smoky eyes and winged liner make their eye shape more pronounced.

Overall, cat-shaped eyes are a desirable facial feature, especially in the celebrity world. Many stars are known for their feline eyes and use makeup to accentuate their natural shape.

Cosmetic Procedures

Some people pursue cosmetic surgery to try to achieve a cat-eye look. The most common procedure is a type of blepharoplasty, or eyelid surgery, to create an elongated and lifted shape of the eye.

During blepharoplasty, an incision is made along the natural crease of the eyelid to remove excess skin, muscle and fat. The surgeon can then tighten remaining tissue to lift the eye corners and achieve an almond-like shape resembling a cat’s eye.

While results can create a subtle, fox-eye appearance, an aggressive procedure risks an overly fake or surprised look. Complications may include vision changes, scarring, asymmetry, and trouble fully closing the eyes (Source).

Some surgeons and public figures argue this type of procedure promotes eurocentric beauty standards, while advocates view it as personal preference (Source). Overall, cat eye surgery remains controversial, so patients should carefully weigh risks versus rewards.

In Fiction and Media

Cat-shaped eyes are commonly used for fantasy characters, especially those with supernatural abilities or animal-like traits. For example, characters with cat-shaped eyes are often portrayed as sly, cunning, mysterious, or magical in nature.

One of the most famous examples is Catwoman from DC Comics. As her name suggests, Catwoman has cat-like abilities and is known for having striking green cat-shaped eyes [1]. Her eyes represent her connection to cats and help emphasize her stealth, agility, and animal-like senses. Catwoman’s iconic cat eyes make her easily identifiable and reinforce her feline motif.

Other fantasy characters may also possess glowing, slitted, or unusually shaped pupils reminiscent of cats, further supporting any supernatural powers or animalistic traits they exhibit. Overall, cat-shaped eyes help identify characters with cat-like abilities while making them appear more mystifying and alluring.


Cat-shaped eyes are a rare and interesting trait that can spark fascination and curiosity. This article has explored the genetic factors, appearance, prevalence, associated traits, psychology, and cultural perceptions behind this eye shape. While some people seek cosmetic procedures to emulate the look, authentic cat-shaped eyes remain uncommon.

The key takeaways are:

  • Cat-shaped eyes have an upward slant and are wide-set, giving an almond appearance.
  • They are believed to be caused by a lack of epicanthic folds and hooded eyelids.
  • Only around 1% of the population has true cat-shaped eyes.
  • The look is associated with elegance, mystery, wisdom, independence and creativity.
  • Some people find the trait alluring and attractive.
  • Celebrities like Taylor Swift showcase naturally cat-shaped eyes.

While cat-shaped eyes are rare and special, all eye shapes have beauty. Rather than drastic procedures, enhancing one’s natural eyes through makeup, skincare and self-love often brings out their best qualities. Appreciating the diversity of human traits allows everyone to feel comfortable and confident in their own skin.

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