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Why Does My Cat Stare At Me?

Have you ever noticed your cat staring intently at you? Many owners wonder why their cat stares at them. This is a quite common feline behavior, but why do they do it? Let's discuss some of the top reasons why your cat stares at you.

Danielle DeGroot

Last Updated: March 14, 2023 | 6 min read

cat sitting in window staring at a girl on her computer

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It is no secret that cats like to stare at their owners. Sometimes it is a loving gaze. Other times it seems like an angry glare. It is common to find your cat looking intently at you as you work, even if you are not looking back. Sometimes, this can seem creepy, like your pet might be plotting against you. A staring contest with a purr baby can last a long time, but why do they do this?

Cat behavior is their way of communicating. Staring, just like rubbing on you, meowing, biting, blinking, and kneading, is part of how a kitty interacts with and connects with the world. Sometimes your cat may simply be staring because she is intrigued by what you are doing, but sometimes there are other motivators. It is normal for feline owners to wonder,” Why does my cat always stare at me?”

It is essential always to observe what is happening around your cat and pay attention to clues she gives you. Understanding feline body language, like staring, helps build a good communication channel with your feline family members. There are a few different reasons why cats like to stare at you.

Why Does My Cat Always Stare At Me?

Owners need to understand that most feline communication is nonverbal. Some cats are very vocal, but they usually use body language and behavior to communicate with us. Most of the time, a kitty staring is not a cause for concern, but it is good to understand what might motivate that unbreakable feline watch.

Top Reasons A Cat Stares At You

They Are Curious

We spend a lot of time looking at our furry family members, taking pictures of them, and wondering what they are doing and what it means. This is a two-way street. Felines watch us to see what we are doing. Humans do not behave the same every day. We are terribly unpredictable. Often, when your purr baby stares at you, she is simply curious about your current activity.

They Are Calm & Content

If your kitty casts a loving gaze on you when calm and relaxed, this is often a sign she is happy. It can be a way they show affection. Cats interact with us through blinking. Scientists have studied this and determined that a feline slowly blinking is equivalent to a person smiling. In fact, cats will slowly blink back at their humans after being slowly blinked at. Your kitty may stare with a half-open eye when very relaxed.

They Need Or Want Something

Felines will stare at humans when they need something, most often food. Your kitty peering intently at you may be her way of communicating that her food bowl is empty. Some kitties may also do this when they need water or want a treat. You may notice her looking in your direction, then back towards her food bowl, and then back to you repeatedly. This indicates that she would like a snack. Felines will also get wide-eyed when they want to play or want attention.

Your kitty may also be trying to convince you that something is wrong. Perhaps they knocked something off the counter and are staring while waiting until you notice it. Or if there have been changes in the home, like furniture moving to a different place, they may be using their eyes to communicate that things are out of place.

Fear Or Stress

Sometimes, your kitty may stare because she is afraid or stressed out. You can tell the difference between a relaxed feline and one on the defensive because her body will be alert. Her ears may be tucked to the side, and her tail is tucked in low to the ground. A scared cat or one on high alert will have large, round, dilated pupils. Felines often peer directly in the direction of whatever is causing their fear. A scared kitty will often crouch low to the ground and freeze in place.

Communicating Emotions

Felines communicate a lot with each other through their eyes and might stare at their owners because they are feeling different emotions. They may feel afraid, anxious, lonely, depressed, or physically ill. It’s very important to pay attention to what is happening around you, around your pet, and look for anything that may have disrupted your cat’s feeling of safety or regular routine. If your purr baby is lethargic, uninterested in food and water, or showing other signs of illness, contact your veterinarian for a quick examination.

Territorial

Felines are very territorial creatures by nature. This goes for indoor kitties as well. If your purr baby feels that you, or some other family member or pet, has infringed upon their territory, they may stare intently as an indicator that you are in their space. When felines communicate with other felines, eye contact is essential and one of the key ways they communicate aggression and dominance over other felines. This carries over into how our pets look at us. If your pet feels you have violated her space, you might find yourself on the receiving end of a very intent, direct, not exactly friendly stare.

Waiting For Your Behavioral Cues

Felines are very absorbent by nature and are quite intelligent. They learn to predict their owner’s routines and habits. This includes noticing different behavioral clues. They understand when their owners do certain things, like go into the kitchen and use a can opener. This can often signal they may be getting a meal or treat. If you are getting ready to leave your home, your pet will watch you to see what happens next. Or, if you are getting ready to sit on the couch and snuggle up, your purr baby might be keenly interested in coming over and securing a nice napping spot.

How Do Cats Learn To Stare?

For humans, staring is often unwanted and can be considered rude. However, for a feline, the eyes are one of their most powerful tools to navigate the world. Cats have much better vision than humans, and we do not see things exactly the same way. Humans see things better during the day. However, felines are better at seeing in low and dim light. They also have a wider field of vision than humans do. They can see about 200 degrees, while we see at about 180 degrees. Cats are more active in the dim hours, dusk, and dawn, and their eyes are far more sensitive to low light. This is because they have 6 to 8 times more rod cells in their eye structure than we do.

Feline eyes are slightly different in shape than ours, gathering and reflecting light a little differently. Their better vision makes them such good hunters. Conversely, humans see more colors and more vibrant colors than our feline friends do.

Felines are naturally observant, and staring is likely something they learn to do very naturally. For them, it is not rude or intrusive. This is how they gather information about the world around them.

Should I Stare Back At My Cat?

A lot of folklore and myth surrounds staring into a cat’s eyes. A prevalent question that people have is, “Is it safe to stare back at my cat?” There are many different versions of why looking deep into a kitty’s eyes might be a bad idea. This includes believing that a feline’s eyes are openings into the underworld and will bring bad fortune. Other stories believe that looking into a kitty’s eyes will curse the person looking.

Of course, these are all stories and legends. There is no truth behind a cat’s eyes being any kind of evil. That said, gazing directly back into your cat’s peepers may not always be a great idea. Cats use their eyes to communicate different emotions, including aggression and territoriality. They may interpret you or someone they do not know looking directly into their line of vision as a threat. This can trigger an aggressive reaction.

If you are looking into your kitty’s eyes, make sure to work in several slow blinks so they know you are not a threat and are coming from a place of affection, not aggression.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can cats see into your soul?

The idea that cats can see into your soul comes from ancient myths and beliefs where felines were considered supernatural beings. While this is a commonly searched question, it is doubtful that looking into your purr baby’s eyes will put you in any kind of eternal danger.

Should I be worried about my cat always staring at me?

Most of the time, your purr baby staring at you is no reason to be concerned or worried. Most often, your kitty is simply curious or trying to get your attention, not plotting to take over the world. If your pet is peering intently, pay her a little attention to ensure she has everything she needs, feels safe, and knows you love her.

Why does my cat stare at me without blinking?

A kitty staring purposefully without blinking or with very little blinking is usually just very interested in what is happening. Pay attention to your kitty’s posture. Does she seem alert or relaxed? If your kitty is trying to make herself bigger, is puffed up, or taking a defensive stance, something might be going on that is triggering her.

Final Thoughts

Your cat staring at you is normal behavior and very common for felines. For them, their eyes are some of the most key communication tools they have with other animals, humans, and the rest of the world. Staring is most often done out of curiosity or because a kitty is trying to get your attention. Pay attention to what is happening around your pet, which can sometimes give clues to their behavior.

Though some myths and legends exist about staring into a cat’s eyes, this is not harmful. Owners should be careful and make sure they are slowly blinking to communicate to their kitties that they are not a threat or aggressive. Just like humans wonder what their pet’s behavior means, felines are often curious about what their humans are doing. Staring goes back and forth between pets and owners, and there is usually no cause for concern.

Person holding shock collar remote in front of a cat

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1 Comment

  1. Sylvia Aldrich

    I do not think shock collars are a good thing for cats, or dogs, for that matter. I prefer gentle training.

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