Do Female Cats Have Eyelashes?

Cats are known for their keen senses, elegant movements, and mysterious nature. One of their most striking features are their eyes – with vivid irises, vertical pupils, and seemingly all-seeing gaze. But what about their eyelashes? Do cats even have eyelashes? While not as prominent as a human’s long, curled lashes, felines do in fact have delicate eyelash hair around their eyes. Understanding cat eyelashes provides fascinating insight into their anatomy and evolution as hunters and pets. In this article, we’ll explore whether cats have eyelashes, their purpose, differences from human lashes, myths, care, and some fun facts about these fine hairs that frame the window to a cat’s soul.

Anatomy of a Cat’s Eye

A cat’s eye has several parts that work together to provide cats with excellent vision. The main external parts of a cat’s eye include the eyelids, eyelashes, conjunctiva, and cornea.

Eyelids protect the eye and help spread tears across the surface of the eye to keep it moist. Cats have an upper and lower eyelid, as well as a third eyelid called the nictitating membrane that can sweep across the eye.

Eyelashes help keep dust and debris out of a cat’s eyes. Cats have rows of eyelashes on their upper and lower eyelids.

The conjunctiva is a thin membrane that covers the inside of the eyelids and front part of the eye. It helps lubricate the eye when blinking.

The cornea is the clear outer layer of the eye that helps focus light. It provides a protective covering over the front of the eye.

Inside the eye, the iris controls the amount of light entering the eye. The lens focuses images onto the retina, which detects light and converts it to signals to send to the brain for processing into vision.

Cats also have an extra set of muscles around the lens that allow them to change its shape and focus well on near and far objects (Source).

Do Cats Have Eyelashes?

Yes, cats do have eyelashes! Cats’ eyelashes are very fine and short, averaging around 8-12 eyelashes per eyelid. The eyelashes are located on the upper and lower eyelids and help protect the eyes from debris, dust, and dirt (Catster, 2022).

While cat eyelashes are not as prominent as human eyelashes, they serve an important purpose. The eyelashes help keep the surface of the eye clean and prevent foreign objects from getting into the eye. When cats blink, the eyelashes catch debris and push it out to the corners of the eyes where tears collect and drain (Quora, 2016).

So even though they are not very noticeable, cats rely on their tiny eyelashes to keep their eyes healthy and clear of irritants. The delicate hairs along the eyelid margins play an essential role in feline eye care and protection.

Purpose of Cat Eyelashes

One of the main purposes of eyelashes in cats is to help protect their eyes from dirt, dust, and debris. According to (, eyelashes act as a barrier or filter to keep foreign particles from getting into a cat’s eyes and causing irritation or infection. When particles in the air come near a cat’s eye, the eyelashes help block them from getting too close to the surface of the eye. ( explains that eyelashes form the first line of defense for a cat’s eyes. The lashes help filter out dust, pollen, and other debris that could otherwise scratch the cornea or conjunctiva. This protective barrier function helps maintain healthy eyes and clear vision for cats.

So in summary, a key reason cats have eyelashes is to serve as tiny screens or filters that prevent unwanted particles in the environment from coming into direct contact with their sensitive eyes.

Differences Between Cat and Human Eyelashes

While cats do have eyelashes, there are some key differences compared to human eyelashes:

  • Cats have fewer eyelashes – around 6-8 per eyelid compared to a human’s 200-300 lashes per eyelid.
  • Cat eyelashes are shorter, thinner, and lighter in color than human lashes.
  • Human eyelashes grow from the eyelid and point upwards. Cat eyelashes grow from the inner corner of the eye near the nose and point outwards.
  • Cat eyelashes are more sporadic in placement and irregular in length compared to the neat rows of human eyelashes.
  • The main purpose of human eyelashes is to keep debris from entering the eyes. Cat eyelashes serve that purpose too, but cats also rely heavily on their whiskers.

While less prominent than human lashes, cat eyelashes play an important role in protecting cats’ sensitive eyes from dust and other irritants. Their outward angled placement aids cats in keeping track of objects in their peripheral vision.

Myths About Cat Eyelashes

There are some common myths and misconceptions when it comes to cat eyelashes. One myth is that cats need mascara or other cosmetics to accentuate their lashes. This is not true – cat eyelashes already naturally serve their function to protect the eyes from dust and debris. Applying mascara or false eyelashes can actually be harmful by weighing down natural lashes or getting into the eyes.

Another myth is that cat eyelashes help cats see better in the dark. While cats do have excellent night vision due to the high number of rods in their eyes that allow them to see in low light, their eyelashes do not assist with this ability. Cats are able to see in near darkness thanks to their unique eyes, not their eyelashes.

While cat eyelashes may not be as prominent as human lashes, they serve an important purpose. Knowing the facts can help debunk myths about why cats need long, lush eyelashes.

Caring for Cat Eyelashes

To ensure the health and longevity of cat eyelashes, proper care is essential. Here are some tips for maintaining healthy lashes:

Regular Grooming – Gently wipe your cat’s eyes daily with a warm, damp cloth to remove any discharge or debris caught in the eyelashes. This helps prevent irritation and infection.

Watch for Issues – Check for any signs of inflammation, redness, swelling or discharge, as these can indicate an eye infection or condition needing veterinary attention. Left untreated, problems can lead to eyelash or eye damage.

Some common eyelash conditions to monitor include conjunctivitis, entropion (inverted eyelids), trichiasis (misdirected eyelashes), and distichiasis (extra eyelashes). Schedule veterinary exams twice yearly.

Groom Overgrown Lashes – Very long or misdirected eyelashes may need occasional trimming by a vet. Never trim them yourself, as this risks injuring the eye.

Protect from Irritants – Keep irritating chemicals, dust, smoke, etc away from your cat’s face to prevent eyelash damage. Cats with white heads/eyelashes may be prone to sunburn, so limit sun exposure.

Nutrition – Feed high-quality cat food to promote good eyelash health. Omega fatty acids support lash growth and shine.

With attentive, routine care, your cat’s lovely lashes can stay beautiful and healthy for years to come.


Fun Facts About Cat Eyelashes

Cats’ eyelashes serve several interesting purposes beyond just framing their eyes beautifully. Here are some fascinating facts about feline eyelashes:

Cats have three rows of eyelashes on each eye for a total of about 12 rows across both eyes. This provides an exceptionally full fringe around their eyes to protect them from dust and debris.

A cat’s upper eyelid has about 30-35 eyelashes while the lower lid only has about 15-20. This asymmetry helps prevent their vision from being obscured.

Kittens are born with their eyes closed and the eyelashes touching each other to form a tight seal. The lashes help protect their developing eyes.

White cats can sometimes appear to have no eyelashes at all. But they do have pale lashes that blend into their fur and are hard to see.

Cats molt their eyelashes just like they shed their fur. Eyelashes typically only last around 5-8 weeks before falling out.

Eyelashes help cats communicate. Their forward-facing eyes allow for subtle eyelash motions to convey messages.

Cats stretch and spread their eyelashes wide to enhance their facial expressions. Perked-up “bright eyed” lashes signal happiness.

Protruding or overgrown eyelashes in cats can indicate health problems like eyelash mites. Veterinary care may be needed.

Ancient Egyptians admired cats’ eyelashes and emphasized them in hieroglyphic art. Lashes symbolized divine balance and protection.


In conclusion, cats do have eyelashes, though they are very fine and short compared to human lashes. Cat eyelashes serve important functions like protecting the eyes, regulating moisture, and facilitating sensory information. While cat lashes are not just for decoration like human lashes often are, they are still an essential part of feline anatomy. Cats’ eyelashes are adapted perfectly for their needs as hunters and pets. With proper care, cat eyelashes can remain healthy. Though small, cat eyelashes are a wonder of biology and essential for cats’ vision and comfort.

This article explored the anatomy of cats’ eyes, detailed whether cats have lashes, and described their purpose and care. We learned that cat eyelashes aid vision, protection, and sensory perception in ways unique to felines. While delicate, cat eyelashes are an indispensable part of their eyes. With this knowledge, cat owners can better understand their pet’s vision and properly care for their lashes. Cats’ eyes are intricate organs, and their fine eyelashes play a critical supportive role.


Cats require protein from meat for a healthy diet. Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they must eat meat to acquire all of the nutrients they need for good health. Unlike omnivores such as humans that can obtain required nutrients from both plant and animal sources, cats lack specific metabolic pathways and cannot utilize plant sources of many nutrients.

According to the National Research Council, dietary protein requirements for kittens are around 25-30% on a dry matter basis (DMB). This is roughly equivalent to 50-60% on an as-fed basis. Adult cats require around 20-25% protein DMB (40-50% as fed).

Cats cannot synthesize some essential amino acids like taurine and arginine, so these must be obtained from animal sources in the diet. Taurine is particularly important for eye and heart health. Meat, poultry, fish, and eggs contain complete protein with all the essential amino acids cats require.

Plant-based sources like grains, vegetables, and fruits do not provide complete protein for cats. While small amounts of plant material can be included for fiber and other nutrients, cats cannot thrive on a vegetarian or vegan diet. Feeding inappropriate diets risks serious nutritional deficiencies and health problems.

The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) provides nutrient profiles to ensure cat foods contain adequate protein from animal sources, including muscle meat, organs, cartilage, and bone. By-products can provide important nutrients as well but alone are not a complete source.

In summary, cats are obligate carnivores requiring a high level of quality animal-source protein in their diet for health and longevity.

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