Wonderful windshield wiper eyes | NevadaAppeal.com

Wonderful windshield wiper eyes

Welcome to winter and freezing windy weather. I have to admit that I really hate the wind. My face was covered with frozen tears because the wind was blowing so hard and my eyes were watering. Through my tears I happened to notice a cat right by the park track, so I stopped to say hi. To my surprise Miss Kitty didn’t have a wet face or frozen tears. What gives?

Cats have upper and lower eyelids that meet when the eyes close, along with a mysterious third eyelid called the palpebra tertia. Most mammals and birds have a third eyelid; however humans and some primates are lacking one. In cats, the third eyelid is large enough to completely cover the cornea and acts like a windshield wiper. It removes debris from the surface and redistributes tears over the cornea.

When cats are alert, the third eyelid is mostly hidden within the eye socket, with only a small portion visible in the inner corner of the eye. When the cat is relaxed, during sleeping or blinking, a set of muscles retracts the eyeball and allows the third eyelid to float across the eye surface from the inner, lower corner of the eye to the upper, outer corner.

The third eyelid’s function is not fully understood, but it is believed to help protect the cornea from physical injury, especially when the cat is hunting for prey and moving through fields.

The eyelid not only keeps the eye surface moist but also contains tiny follicles that dump antibodies and other immunological substances in the tear film. This bathes the eye surface, protecting it from bacteria and fungi.

The third eyelid isn’t just a windshield wiper but also an easy-to-read gauge of the cat’s overall well-being. It also keeps the surface of the eye moist by holding the tear film against the eye more tightly than just the upper and lower eyelids. Miss Kitty is lucky she has built-in wipers, antibodies and moisture. I would really like cat eyes, and I don’t mean marbles.


This week we have two who’s who. Our first is America Gas. Recently, America Gas had a customer appreciation day, and during the event they collected donations for local groups. A big Paws Applause to them for the $400 donation they gave to CAPS.

Our second who’s who is Parry Theriot who writes “Hello My Name Is” for the CAPS newsletter. Even though Parry moved to Reno she still continues to support CAPS with her writing. Many animals owe their happy-ever-after homes to her dedication. We thank you with all our hearts.

The generosity of our local businesses and community members is extraordinary. A heartfelt thank you from all the critters at CAPS, two legged and four legged.

WHO’S new AT CAPS’ zoo?

We have five adorable four-month old puppies, two female and three male, looking for a home. We also have three male and three female kitties ready for new homes. Make this a holiday to remember with a new pet to enjoy life with. Policy, however, prohibits adopting out puppies or kittens under the age of six months to a home with children under five years of age. This is to protect both the children and the animal.


Flower Tree Nursery is again raffling a 15-gallon live Christmas tree. The drawing date is Sunday and the winner doesn’t have to be present to win. Raffle tickets are available at Flower Tree, and they are $1 for one ticket and $5 for six tickets.

Great news! Our 2016 Happy Endings calendar has arrived. It can be purchased at the following locations: Mutts Etc, 3-Dimension Shipping, and the Flower Tree Nursery.

CAPS will be at Walmart on Dec. 19, along with Ki and Urtle at our Kissin’ Booth. Come by and give our boys a big hug and kiss. We have the 2016 Happy Endings calendar, shirts and caps, so please check them out before or after greeting our canine volunteers.

CAPS’ mailing address is P.O. Box 5128, Fallon, NV 89407. CAPS’ phone number is 775-423-7500. Please visit the CAPS website (www.capsnv.org) and Facebook page (Churchill Animal Protection Society). Be sure to “Like” CAPS on Facebook because we are really likable.

Do you have questions, comments or a great story? Contact me jkwmil@outlook.com.

Kathleen Williams-Miller, a CAPS volunteer, contributed this week’s column.