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Do All Cats Have Eyelashes? Vet Approved Facts & FAQ

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Himalayan cat eyes

Vet approved

Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Paola Cuevas

MVZ (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Human eyelashes protect our eyes from foreign objects and are considered a mark of beauty. Since ancient times, women have adorned their eyes with mascara and eyeliner to accentuate their long lashes and embolden their eyes. While your cat’s eyes may be startlingly beautiful without makeup, you might be surprised to learn that cats also have eyelashes—though not necessarily in the same way humans do.

hepper cat paw divider

Why Do Cats Have Eyelashes?

Most cats have eyelashes, but they may not be very noticeable. Their “eyelash” hairs are called cilia and they line the upper and lower parts of the eyelid. They seem to serve similar functions as human lashes but aren’t as vital because cats also have whiskers.

Human eyelashes alert our eyes when a foreign object comes too close. If debris brushes our eyelashes, our eyes automatically close to protect them from harm. We’re thankful for this because we don’t have whiskers to alert us when an object becomes dangerously close! Cats rely more heavily on their whiskers for this protective function, but most still have eyelashes for additional eye protection.

Like humans, eyelashes may also be a cosmetic feature in cats because it’s not strictly necessary for them. For example, hairless breeds like the Sphinx don’t have any eyelashes. For most cats, their eyelashes consist of short, bristled cilia that look like a very thick, fine paintbrush. Long-haired cats have the most startlingly obvious eyelashes that may be voluptuous like humans!

White Siamese cat with blue eyes
Image By: TaniaVdB, Pixabay

Why Cats Are All-Natural Beauty Queens

Did you know cats were born with beautiful, permanent makeup? Gorgeous, thick-rimmed eyelids encircle most cat eyes to the extent that people have said they wear “mascara.” A quick internet search will show you that “cat eyes” is a look humans try to imitate in their makeup art. It isn’t Maybelline; your cat was born with it!

Of course, you should never put actual makeup on a cat. Most products haven’t been tested on animals and can cause skin irritation. Some also contain toxic ingredients and should be kept away from your curious feline completely.

What About Eyebrows?

Cats have whiskers in the same place where eyebrows would be in humans, and they have correlative functions. These whiskers also help protect your cat’s eyes from foreign objects and debris, and like their other whiskers, they alert your cat of their surroundings. A cat’s eyes are excellent in the dark and having whiskers on their face gives them an extra set of “eyes” to navigate and hunt.

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Final Thoughts

Eyelashes and eyebrows are useful, beautiful features that adorn the eyes of most cats, except for hairless breeds. But cats also have whiskers that help to serve a similar function as a human’s eyelashes do. So, a cat’s eyelashes aren’t as necessary as ours are to keep things out of their eyes. Eyelashes do, however, help to make a cat’s eyes look even more beautiful than they already are.

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Featured Image Credit: Piqsels

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