Dear Doctor: No mascara for kitty


Q. I’ve noticed that my cat doesn’t have eyelashes. Does that mean she’s at greater risk than other cats of getting dirt in her eyes?

Janine Van Ess
Sacramento, California

Dear Ms. Van Ess,

A cat is at no disadvantage for not having eyelashes.  What they lack in lashes they make up for in eyelids. A cat has three, while people have only two. The third eyelid — called the nictitating membrane — washes away dirt and debris when a cat blinks and also helps protect against scratches when a cat is fighting.

You can sometimes see the nictitating membrane when your cat is sleeping. It looks like a white layer of skin that starts in the corner of the eyes.




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