Why Do Cats Stare At You

Written by Abdulmumin Akinde
Updated: October 13, 2022
Image Credit dixenix/Shutterstock.com
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Don’t you just wish your pet could speak to you sometimes? If that thought has ever crossed your mind, you’re not alone. Animals communicate through sounds and body language. Many of their expressions are difficult to decipher for their human owners. One of such difficult-to-decipher expressions is the famous cat stare. As a cat owner, you have probably wondered at some point, “why does my cat always stare at me?” after a stare-down contest that seemed like your pet was peering into your soul. 

Although being able to communicate with cats like Dr. DoLittle would have been a great idea, every pet parent has to rely on their ability to read the verbal and non-verbal cues they get from their pets. In this article, we will go over some of the reasons why your cat might be staring at you and what you can do to respond to them. 

furry cat staring
Cats may stare for a variety of reasons.

Alis Magic of Photos/Shutterstock.com

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The Kitty Stare – What Could It Mean? 

Cats are among the smartest pests when it comes to communicating with their owners. From vocalizing with the meows and purrs to staring at you in different ways, these proud felines don’t like to hide how they feel. Staring at you in a specific way is one of the ways they can attempt to grab your attention and tell you how they feel. While the exact interpretation of a cat’s stare may depend on your pet’s temperament, here are a few likely reasons that explain a cat’s stare. 

It Might Be Hungry

If it seems like your cat is trying to employ some sort of visual Jedi mind trick when it stares at you, chances are it is. Cats can try to get you to feed them by looking at you in a certain way. Usually, when your cat is hungry, it will sit near its food area and make eye contact with you repeatedly. This is a straightforward way of telling you to put some tasty treats in that food bowl right away or face the consequences. 

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Cat Stares Are A Show Of Affection 

When it isn’t trying to mind-control you with its stare, your cat might just be showing you some affection by staring at you in a certain way. Looking at you intently with a long, unblinking stare is one of the ways cats show their affection to you. 

Some cats may even take this a step higher with what is known as eye kisses. In this case, the cat stares at you with its eyelids half-closed, then offers a few slow blinks. It’s a cute and adorable trick your kitty uses to show that it loves you. 

Cats Stare To Get Your Attention 

Have you ever woken up to find your cat lying or sitting on your chest, staring right into your eyes? It’s creepy, to say the least, but that’s just your cat’s way of waking you up or getting your attention. The kitty may also be following you everywhere while staring at you. Cats do this when they’re bored, and they want your attention. 

It Might Be Curious 

Cats are naturally curious animals. Young kittens are even more curious than their adult counterparts. One of the ways they get to learn about the world around them is by staring. As a new cat parent, don’t be surprised if your cat spends a lot of time staring at you and its new surroundings. They’re just trying to take everything in as they get familiar with their new home. Of course, kittens use the same form of communication as adult cats, so they may be trying to get your attention or show how much they love you as well.

cat staring
Sometimes cats stare simply because they’re curious!

Sonsedska Yuliia/Shutterstock.com

Interpreting Cat Stares Based on Body Language 

Staring is only one of several ways that cats communicate with their pet parents. They have an expensive non-verbal vocabulary that goes beyond eye contact. Therefore, the first step in interpreting your cat’s stare is to understand the different sounds and body language they make based on how they’re feeling at any point in time. Here are some of the things you should know about interpreting cat stares based on their body language.  

Cat Staring At You With A Happy, Relaxed Posture

If your cat snuggles next to you or looks at you with slow adorable blinks, it’s safe to conclude that she’s happy and the stare is merely a show of affection. In this case, her body language will show that she’s relaxed and not tensed or agitated in any way. The cat will also get close to you while staring at you instead of moving away. Cues like this indicate that your cat is happy. 

Agitated Body Language

A cat’s stare and its accompanying body language can also show you when your kitty is not in a good mood. If your cat stares at you with its tail swishing, pupils dilated, and ears turned to the side, it is an indication that the cat may be upset. In this case, giving the cat some space is a good idea. You can also attempt to distract it by redirecting the attention to an activity. 

If your cat is staring at you and it seems to be angry, you can help defuse the tension by breaking eye contact. Tossing its favorite interactive toy or any small object toward it might also help douse the tension between you and the cat at that particular moment. Even if an angry cat doesn’t respond or engage in play right away, relieving the tension this way will help your cat get over the anger as quickly as possible. 

Scared Kitty

Cats may also stare at you when they’re scared. When you inadvertently spook your cat by making a loud noise or dropping a pan in the kitchen accidentally, it may run behind a couch or hide behind a piece of furniture in the house while staring at you in fear.  

In such cases, the cat may either be keeping an eye out for danger or stare at you for reassurance. To avoid spooking the cat further, it’s best not to approach it directly or make any sudden sound. Instead, you can gently toss a tasty treat towards it and let it come out of its hiding spot to pick the treat. 

frightened cat
Cats may stare because they’re frightened.

Elena Rozhenok/Shutterstock.com

Conclusion 

Cats are very smart pets that have evolved to communicate with their human owners in various ways. Staring is just one of the numerous tactics your cat can use to attempt to communicate with you. If you know how to read their stares along with other cues, you’ll understand your cat better and enjoy their company more than ever before. 

cat staring

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About the Author

Abdulmumin is a pharmacist and a top-rated freelance writer on Upwork. He can pretty much write on anything that can be researched on the internet. However, he particularly enjoys writing on health, technology and animals. He is inquisitive and currently aspires to become a software engineer. He loves animals, especially horses and would love to have one someday.

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