The Mysterious Allure of Cat Eyes. What Do They Mean?


Cat eyes refer to eyes that have an almond shape and an upward slant at the outer corners. The term comes from the resemblance to a cat’s eye shape. Cat eyes are commonly associated with makeup looks featuring winged eyeliner flicks that extend beyond the outer corners of the eyes. This article will provide an overview of what cat eyes are, their appearance, causes, tips for recreating the look with makeup, associated personality traits, historical/cultural significance, celebrities known for having cat eyes, and how to achieve the look naturally or with cosmetic procedures.


Cats with “cat eyes” have a distinctive almond eye shape that gives the appearance their eyes are more angled, elongated and narrow compared to other cats. The key characteristics of cat eyes include:

– Almond shape – Their eyes have an almond shape instead of being fully round.

– Slight upward tilt at outer corners – The outer corners of their eyes tilt slightly upwards, compared to a rounded eye where the outer corners would tilt downwards or be straight.

– Wide-set – Cat eyes tend to be set more widely apart on the face compared to other cats whose eyes may be closer together. This accentuates the almond shape.

Overall, the angled almond shape with the upward tilt gives cat eyes a very distinctive look that makes them appear more narrow, exotic, and some may describe as “sultry” compared to normal round cat eyes. It gives them a very recognizable “cat eye” appearance.


Some of the main causes of having cat eyes or an almond-shaped eye appearance include:


Many people inherit cat eyes from their parents or ancestors, especially in certain ethnic groups where the gene for an almond eye shape is common (see below on ethnicity) (Rover, 2023).


Almond-shaped eyes often occur more frequently in certain ethnicities, such as people of Asian, Middle Eastern, or Indigenous American descent. The genes for this eye shape have been passed down through generations in these populations (Rover, 2023).

Facial Structure

The natural structure of some people’s faces can give the appearance of cat eyes. Those with prominent cheekbones and wide-set eyes are more likely to have an almond eye shape. The facial proportions and bone structure around the eyes contribute to the cat eye look (Rover, 2023).

Makeup Tips

Here are some makeup application tips to help achieve a cat eye look:

Eyeliner Styles to Try

Cat eyes really emphasize the eyeliner. Some eyeliner looks to try include:

  • Wingtip eyeliner – extend outwards and upwards from the outer corners of the eyes
  • Retro flick eyeliner – create a subtle flick upwards at the outer corners
  • Puppy eyeliner – draw a slight uptick at the inner corners and outer corners
  • Double wing eyeliner – draw one wing extending from the lower lash line and one from the upper lash line

Eyeshadow Looks

Use eyeshadow to accentuate the cat eye shape:

  • Apply a light shimmery eyeshadow to the inner corners to make eyes look wider set apart
  • Use a mid-tone eyeshadow on the eyelid and blend upwards towards the crease
  • Apply a darker eyeshadow to the outer v-shape of the eye and extend outwards

Mascara Application

Finish with mascara to emphasize a cat eye look:

  • Curl eyelashes before applying mascara for a curled and lifted look
  • Wiggle mascara wand at base of lashes, then pull upwards as you apply
  • Apply extra coats of mascara to the outer top and bottom lashes

Associated Personality Traits

People with cat eyes are often described as mysterious, alluring, feminine, and feline. The almond shape and softly curving inner corners create a sense of exotic allure. According to traditional Chinese face reading, cat eyes indicate a gentle, mild, and agreeable personality.

The mysterious aura of cat eyes comes from their slightly downturned shape, which can make it harder to interpret the person’s thoughts and feelings. There is an air of intrigue and inscrutability. At the same time, the roundness of the eyes creates a sense of approachability and warmth that balances out the mystery.

Cat eyes are associated with femininity due to their soft, delicate shape reminiscent of a cat’s eyes. The roundness conveys a sweetness and vulnerability considered classically feminine. Women with cat eyes are sometimes described as having a feline essence – graceful, elegant, yet independent.

Overall, the mystique of cat eyes creates an alluring, feminine appearance full of nuance and depth. While the personality associated with cat eyes varies by individual, the shape poetically evokes the enigmatic nature of a cat.

Historical and Cultural Significance

The cat eye look has a long history, dating back thousands of years. In Ancient Egypt, around 3100 BC to 332 BC, Egyptian women would line their eyes with kohl to create a striking, elongated shape. This cat eye makeup was associated with the goddess Bastet and was a symbol of power and status.

In Egyptian art, goddesses and queens were often depicted with bold, extended cat eyes. The shape complemented the natural almond eye shape and was meant to emulate the grace and divinity of a cat. This eye look remained popular through the reign of Cleopatra, who famously accentuated her eyes to assert her rule.

The cat eye has also emerged in Japanese anime and manga. Many female characters have large, doe-like eyes with elongated tips or tails at the outer corners. This stylized shape gives a sense of innocence and youth and is meant to represent feminine beauty ideals. Iconic anime characters known for their signature cat eyes include Sailor Moon, Doraemon, and Hello Kitty.

In modern media, catwoman has embodied the mystique and allure of the cat eye. With her stylized mask and feline-inspired makeup, catwoman uses the shape to convey a sense of fierceness, power, and enchantment. Her iconic cat eyes showcase the transformative potential of the look.

Celebrities with Cat Eyes

Many celebrity women are known for their beautiful and alluring cat eyes. Cat eyes are characterized by an elongated, upward slant of the eyes that resembles the shape of a cat’s eye. Some of the most iconic cat eyes in Hollywood belong to Taylor Swift, Megan Fox, and Blake Lively.

Taylor Swift is easily recognizable by her stunning blue cat eyes. Her eyes have an exotic tilt and almond shape that complements her other facial features perfectly. Swift’s cat eyes are one of her most distinctive physical traits and she often plays them up with cat-eye liner and mascara (Source).

Megan Fox is also famous for her sultry, cat-like eyes. She has striking green eyes with a strong upward slant that gives her a mysterious, feline gaze. Fox’s eyes are considered one of her best features and she emphasizes them with dark, winged eyeliner (Source).

Blake Lively’s blue eyes have a noticeable upward tilt with an almond shape, giving her a dramatic, cat-eyed appearance. Her eyes are considered seductive yet playful. Lively often plays up her eyes with cat-eye makeup looks (Source).

Getting the Look

There are a few ways people try to achieve the cat eye look, including with makeup, surgery, or eye exercises.

Using makeup is one of the easiest and most accessible ways to create the illusion of cat eyes. Cat eyeliner flicks drawn with liquid or gel eyeliner at the outer corners can mimic an upward tilted eye shape. False eyelashes placed higher at the outer corners can also pull the eyes up for a cat eye effect. Eyeshadow shading techniques, using lighter colors on the inner corners and darker on the outer, can also elongate the eyes.

Some choose to get more permanent cat eyes through cosmetic surgery procedures like canthoplasty or lateral tarsal strip surgery. These procedures alter the anatomy of the eyelids and corners to create a lifted, almond shape. However, surgery carries risks and does not work for everyone.

Performing eye yoga exercises over time may also help strengthen muscles around the eyes and open up the gaze for a subtle cat eye look. Exercises like looking diagonally up and outward can target the outer eye muscles. However, results require diligent practice.

While makeup is the easiest try-on option, those seeking dramatic or permanent effects may consider surgical procedures or eye exercises. Consulting a doctor is important to understand risks and manage expectations.

Potential Downsides

While cat eyes may appear aesthetically pleasing, there are some potential downsides worth considering.

Smaller Visual Field

The distinctive almond shape of cat eyes results in a smaller visual field compared to round eyes. Having a narrower field of vision can make it more difficult to detect objects in the peripheral vision ( This may require more head turning to fully observe the surroundings.

Sun Sensitivity

The upward slant of cat eyes can make them more vulnerable to sunlight exposure. Excess UV radiation may increase the risks of conditions like pterygium growth or pinguecula ( Wearing sunglasses or a hat with a brim is recommended when spending prolonged time outdoors.


Those with cat eyes are more prone to eye allergies and irritation. The narrowed inner corner can obstruct tear drainage, while the wider outer corner allows more allergens and irritants inside the eye ( Using allergy eye drops can provide relief when experiencing itchy, watery eyes.


In summary, the term “cat eyes” refers to eyes that have an almond shape and an upward lift at the outer corners. This eye shape is often considered mysterious, alluring, and feminine. While genetics play a major role in eye shape, certain makeup techniques like winged eyeliner can help achieve the cat eye look. People with cat eyes are sometimes associated with personality traits like independence, creativity, and ambition. Culturally, cat eyes have been admired in places like Egypt and Asia for centuries. Iconic celebrities like Cleopatra, Marilyn Monroe, and Taylor Swift are known for their captivating cat eyes. Overall, cat eyes are considered beautiful and distinct, though the narrow shape can pose challenges for eye makeup and vision. Embracing your natural eye shape is most important.

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