Have you ever felt your cat’s blue eyes boring into your soul? Or have you woken up to find her laying across your chest, her eyes staring right into yours? When your cat has its unblinking eyes focused on you, it can be tough to ignore it. The primary reason why cats tend to stare for longer hours at their owners is that they’re hungry. They believe, according to their little cat’s intuition, that by staring at you, they can get you to feed them exactly what they’re craving. There are several other reasons why cats stare, and most often we are clueless about these reasons. What we do know is that direct eye contact by cats can mean a lot of things, and it is the responsibility of you as a cat owner to study their looks and decipher their needs, or lack thereof. This article explores the varying reasons for a cat’s stare, how to reduce the occurrence, and other behaviors your cat may exhibit.
- They are using their senses: Cats rely on their senses for a wide variety of things. These animals are curious by nature, and they are also considered to be true masters of their environments. They have many natural-born instincts, which allow them to watch for small creatures to stalk and hunt, remain alert in case another cat wanders into their territory, and also keep an eye out for possible predators. All these happen when they’re kept outdoors. When a cat is born and raised indoors; however, they’re not as exposed to different scenarios; thus, they can keep their eyes locked on a single object for the longest time. From your tables to your shelves and even you, there are a lot of things available in your home for your cat to stalk and set her sights on.
- They are trying to communicate: Another reason cats will stare at you is when they need to communicate something to you. This isn’t only related to their eating patterns and needs to pee. Cats aren’t born without a form of communication skills; thus, they make use of body language a lot, to get their point across. If you have scheduled meal times for your cat, he/she might start to stare at you when it’s almost time. Also, cats look up to us as a form of security when something new is introduced to their vicinity. A classic example is the arrival of visitors. They stare because they require a level of assurance that the visitor is a friend or foe (that is before they strike, of course).
- Aggression: Another reason for cat staring is aggression, and this kind of stare must be stopped as early as possible. When cats come into contact with each other, they tend to have a severe stare-down. Owners are advised to make loud noises, which will scare the cats apart from each other. Another way to deal with such stares is to introduce the cats to each other slowly until they become well acquainted.
- Your cat wants your attention: When looking for ways to grab their owner’s attention, cats can get very creative and smart. They alternate between meows of ‘Look at me!’, to subtle but profound stares that can stop you short, no matter where you’re headed. Cats love it when their owners engage with them; thus, they may stare at you if desire a little more petting, and engagement. Others do that to make you aware of their impending feeding or playing time. In the animal world, staring isn’t as rude as humans deem the act. It is just another way to make those who care aware of their wants, desires, and needs.
- A gesture of trust: If a relaxed body language is combined with a relaxed staring and blinking, this means your cat is in a very good mood and is gesturing trust. It feels safe in your vicinity and does not need to constantly scan its environment for threats. In such situations, if you stare back, your cat might even reciprocate with a smile.
Should I Worry When My Cat Stares At Me?
Cat staring is a very regular occurrence and doesn’t call for any caution in most cases. When the stare from your cat is associated with some aggressive behavior or attacks, it can be concluded that the staring isn’t healthy. What’s more, the contraction of some health issues can also cause your cat to stare for long periods. Some of the illnesses include hyperthyroidism, heart failure, and kidney diseases which are known to lead to hypertension if left untreated. When your cat starts staring, be sure to look them straight in the eye, to find out if their pupils are dilated or not. You will know that it’s time for a veterinarian trip when your cat’s stare comes with empty eyes. On the flip side, there may be nothing terrible happening to your cat, or she/he might be experiencing some form of illness. No matter the case, be mindful of the eye and body language of your feline, to decipher their language.
Other Odd Cat Behaviors
Believe it or not, there are weirder things that cats do, apart from staring us down. Staring isn’t the only thing, and neither is it the most mysterious, especially with indoor cats. Cats that are raised indoors usually have the desire to develop a strong bond and communicate with their owners on a deeper level, and staring the only way they know how. Some of the most frequent signs of affection displayed by cats include rubbing up against pant legs, kneading, purring, and gentle biting or licking. Cats also love reaching out to their owners to touch them by lending a soft paw towards our bodies or with a light head-butt. Most often, cats do this as a means of marking their territories and family. Their scent glands are located on their feet and at the front of their heads, which is why they use these areas.
- Wailani Sung, MS, Ph.D., DVM, DACVB, Why Does My Cat Stare at Me?, PetMD