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Wellness

Why Does My Cat Stare At Me?

Cats are known for their unique, if not eccentric, behaviors. When you see your cat in action exhibiting one of these behaviors, you might be curious about why it is occurring. 

If you notice that your cat is making eye contact and staring at you, you’re likely wondering what your cat is trying to do. You might be curious if your feline friend views you as a toy, a predator, or a friend. Today, you are going to get all of your questions answered regarding why your feline companion stares at you. 

Because cats communicate in a manner that is extremely different from the way humans communicate with each other, or even dogs, it is essential for any diligent owner to do some research regarding why their cat stares at them. If you are unsure of where to start, don’t worry.

The reality is that there are actually a plethora of reasons why cats display this behavior. You will also learn more about how to figure out what your cat is trying to tell you with their eyes. When you learn to tune into what your pet is attempting to communicate with you, you can unlock a whole new level of your bond that is deeper. 

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Is it normal for cats to stare?

If you’ve had your cat for a while, or if you’ve had a cat in the past, you probably are aware that cats have their own unique behaviors that are varied and colorful. The answer is that it is definitely normal for cats to stare at their owners. 

In fact, there are actually a variety of reasons that your cat might engage in this behavior. This will vary cat-by-cat, so you will have to pay attention to the situation that provokes your pet to engage in such a way. 

If you are concerned that any of your pet’s behaviors are abnormal, of course, you can always speak to your veterinarian. This could provide you with peace of mind and help you get some answers to questions you were wondering about your pet. 

Why is my cat staring at me?

So, you have noticed that your cat is staring at you. Your next question is likely a simple one: Why? If you are curious about what is leading your cat to stare at you, you are in the right place.

Here is what you need to know about why your cat stares at you:

Happiness

Because cats are known for communicating with visual cues, you will have to pay attention to their stare to get a real understanding of how they feel about one.

One sign that your cat is happy is that they are staring at you. This eye contact could indicate their happiness. This demonstrates the deep bond that cats are able to form with their caretakers. 

Anger

In contrast, If your cat is angry, you might notice that they are exhibiting other signs of anger. An angry cat’s stare will be different from a happy cat’s, because their body language will indicate the disparity between these two feelings. 

Fear

Fear is also a possible reason why your cat is making intense eye contact with you. If your cat is fearful, they might also demonstrate other symptoms of fear. You will have to pay attention to the subliminal body language of your pet if you think that they are fearful. 

This is because some of the signs that your cat is experiencing fear are the same as when your cat is feeling aggressive. If your cat is fearful, you will likely notice that they have ears that are flattened, dilated pupils, and whiskers that will be pressed down into their face or flattened. Take a look at their tail to see if it is either wrapped or tucked underneath their body. 

Hunger

Cats have to rely on their limited vocalization and their eyes to convey a message to their doting owners, so it's understandable that your cat might be attempting to tell you that they are hungry when they are staring at you.

You might notice that your cat is especially keen to stare at you when it is their feeding time, which could also tip you off to this. 

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Dominance and aggression

Cats can actually be rather possessive and attempt to dominate. Feline aggression is not unheard of. If your cat is staring at you as a sign of aggression, there will likely be other signs that they feel this way.

Some indications of aggression may include ears that are flattened backward on the cat’s head, a tail that is erect and has hairs raised, an arched back, and dilated pupils. 

Curiosity

Cats are curious animals, and sometimes, they simply can’t help but indulge that instinct by taking a long, hard look at their loving owner. Sometimes, there really is nothing more to the fact that your cat is staring at you than the simple realization that they want to observe you. 

Affection

Despite their somewhat unfair reputation of being aloof, cats actually can be affectionate creatures, as any cat owner will confirm. Sometimes, cats will stare at you as a sign of affection. Consider it a warm greeting that your pet is willing to lock eyes with you like this. 

How can I tell why my cat is staring?

If you want to get to the bottom of why your cat is staring at you, you can decipher this by a combination of body language assessment and context clues. This will help you figure out exactly why your pet is locking eyes on you.

Of course, if you have any additional questions about this behavior, you can always ask a trusted veterinarian. 

Assess their body language

First, assess your cat’s body language. Are they standing, or are they sitting? What is their stature like? How would you describe their body pose? What about their head pose?

Answer these questions when you are attempting to assess your cat’s body language and what they are conveying to you. 

Use context clues

In addition, context clues can prove helpful with figuring out what is leading your cat to stare at you. You could put together another piece of the puzzle by considering the time of day, what is going on around you, if any other pets are around, and beyond. You might begin to notice a pattern. 

Should I be worried if my cat starts staring at me regularly?

In short, the answer is no; you should not be concerned if your cat starts to stare at you regularly. This is because your cat is simply indulging in their curiosity, and this could actually lead them to create a more robust connection with their owner.

Pawp veterinarian Dr. Sylvalyn Hammond shares, “Cats are notoriously curious creatures, so they may be staring at you simply to observe your behaviors. Starting is also a form of communication for cats. By holding your gaze, your cat can be indicating that they trust you and are confirming your strong bond with them.” 

Of course, if you have any questions about why exactly your pet is staring at you, you can always reach out to a veterinarian who will help you discuss what the context of your pet staring might be.

Remember to pay attention to the context and note your pet’s body language. When you chat with your vet about your cat, you will want to have all the information you need. 

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Curious cat behaviors

Of course, if you are concerned that your cat is developing a behavioral problem and that’s why they are staring, you could always reach out to a trusted, experienced veterinarian and explain what’s going on. This is especially relevant if it’s a new behavior that your cat is only recently participating in.

The veterinarians at Pawp are available 24/7 to answer any and all questions you might have about your cat. Whether you are curious about why your cat is staring deep into your eyes or you have a question about nutrition and food, Pawp’s expert vets are always around to answer your questions.

Pawp offers convenient telehealth visits so your pet will get the help they need from the comfort of your own home with no wait time or appointment. Pawp’s vets are happy to answer all of your questions regarding your cat’s unique personality and how they interact with you. 

CAT STARING SOURCES: 

Owner perceptions of cat-human communication | EWU

It's the cat's meow: Not language, strictly speaking, but close enough to skillfully manage humans, communication study shows | Cornell Chronicle 

BioKIDS - Kids' Inquiry of Diverse Species, Felis silvestris, domestic cat | U Michigan 

Feline Behavior Problems: Aggression | Cornell  

Reading your cat's “body language” Score Body Postures Head Postures | OSU  

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