Why Does My Cat Stare at Me?

  • Time to read: 9 min.
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We’ve all been through this before, where we’re minding our own business, look up, and then you see them just looking at you.  Their beady little eyes may freak you out, and some people find it “creepy.”

But, cats don’t just do it to freak you out, and they’re not looking to attack you. In fact, there are a few reasons to why your cat may stare at you.

Here, we’ll talk about why does my cat stare at me, and also why they might stare at other cats. Because we’ve all seen this before, and cats are curious creatures, so it’s only natural to want to find out why they’re well, staring at you.

 

 

They are visual Hunters

Cats are visual hunters, so essentially in order to survive, they have to look at others.

That’s why your cat sometimes will do the following:

  • Look at you for a long time
  • Not look away
  • Possibly blink at you

It’s a bit strange, but if you think about how animals function in the wild, they need to look around and be in tune with their visual surroundings.

Your cat may just want to watch to see what you’re doing, and they do look at us, and what we do as well.

 

They Use Non-Verbal Communication

Cats like non-verbal communication better than verbal communication. That’s because of a few obvious reasons:

  • They can understand non-verbal communication
  • They can communicate non-verbally
  • They know your bond
  • They feel more reassured if you’re using non-verbal communication

Cats watch us, and they look at our own behaviors, and that’s how they choose to respond to us. For example, if you’re upset and crying, they may look at you for a second, and then run up and cuddle next to you.

Cats can’t communicate like how we do, so it is important to realize that they use these social cues to help with understanding this.

If you look up at your cat, do the following:

  • Be calm
  • Smile at them
  • Be gentle with them

Cats can also pick up on your emotions. If you’re on edge because of work, social interactions, or just stress, cats are super good at picking it up. So, realize that when they are staring at you, sometimes it’s to look at nonverbal cues and understand how they should respond to social interactions.

 

They are interested in Something You May Have

Now, this isn’t like dogs looking at you with a begging look, demanding that you give them a treat, but rather, this is understanding what you’re going through, and how they can respond to it.

Cats love to look at humans because you might have something that they need. You are a big part of a cat’s life, even if you don’t realize this.

As a human, you provide the following to a cat:

  • Food
  • Shelter
  • Companionship
  • Protection

They don’t usually need to use their hunting skills to get food or watch for predators like how they have to in the wild, but instead, they may look at you if you’re going to give them something.

Sometimes, cats may not even want something from you, and they just want to communicate the following:

  • They are interested in you period
  • They are interested in the way you look physically
  • They are interested in the expressions you possess
  • They are interested in what you’re doing

I see this a lot with my cats, especially when I’m playing a video game. They’ll sit there, watch the game, and then watch how I’m doing, and they’ll calmly stick around.

Cats are interested in us. They are kind of our companions, and it’s important to understand that you’re a big part of their life, so don’t think they’re trying to be creepy stalkers or anything.

 

They have good vision

Cats have amazing vision, better than we do.  This is also another reason why you may have a cat staring at you for long periods of time.

Because they have good vision, they do the following:

  • They know what is there before they see it
  • Chances are, they can see it before you do, and they’ll watch you
  • They are looking for body language as well
  • They also might feel insecure if they ask for playtime, so they’re watching you
  • They might want food
  • The cat may also find you entertaining too, and they’re not interested in much else besides you

Because of this, you shouldn’t freak out if you see your cat staring at you. They love to watch us, and it’s definitely something that, if you’re not used to it, then it can be a little freaky.

It’s a way for them to better understand what’s going on.  They have great vision, so naturally, they’ll use this for their own benefit, and if you feel a little bit weirded out by it, don’t be.

They also use this for other reasons too, and they are the following:

  • They are trying to figure out how to respond to you
  • They are trying to figure out how to share with you how you feel about it
  • They are trying to read us
  • They are trying to figure out how to showcase the interests that we’re doing

It isn’t necessarily just running around trying to tell you that hey, it’s mealtime. Maybe they’re just curious about what you’re doing, and if you have some safe human food they love, they might also be wondering if they can have some too.

 

 

As a pet owner, it’s better to just accept when your cat does this, and it’s something that, if you haven’t lived with cats for a long time, this can be a bit jarring, but it’s still important to consider, especially if you are trying to better understand our cats

Curiouser and Curiouser

Remember the phrase “curiosity killed a cat”? Well, cats love to be nosey, and that is another reason why they might stare at you.

Cats stare at you because they’re nosey, and want to learn the following:

  • What is really going on
  • Any actions that can produce something that they want
  • The awareness of what we are doing
  • How to be attuned to the needs and communicate what they need to survive
  • The body language that you have what means they’re ready to indulge you

One thing to remember is that cats are so much smarter than you think they are. They are cunning, they know what they are doing, and they’ll get what they want.

So, as a pet owner, it might seem a little bit shocking that they are watching your every move, but at the same time, they are curious.  It’s better than having the nosey neighbor that doesn’t stop bothering you all the time, right?

A cat’s stare doesn’t always have to indicate something bad, but sometimes that’s just their way of naturally speaking to us on a personal basis.

 

What about Other Cats?

Cat’s don’t just stare at humans either, but instead, you’ll notice that they are staring at other cats.

Cats sometimes stare at other cats because they are trying to communicate something, such as the following:

  • Understanding who this new introduction is
  • Whether this new introduction is a friend or foe
  • Whether they should attack
  • Whether this cat is going to steal attention or food from the original cat
  • Whether the other cat wants to play or not

This is usually why a cat is staring at another cat when they’re first introduced.  If you notice your cat staring at another cat, it usually indicates the following:

  • They want to play
  • They’re trying to understand something
  • They are sniffing the other cat
  • They are curious about what the other cat is doing

If they’re already buddies, then chances are they’re just staring at one another because they want to play, or it’s their own way of asking what the other is doing. But, if they are staring when just introduced, sometimes this can indicate aggression within cats, so I do suggest watching future interactions.

If you notice your cat staring at another cat that was just introduced, I suggest doing the following:

  • Slow introduce them and don’t just put them both in the same room expecting them to be besties and play together immediately
  • Share their scents and you can trade toys and blankets, or even just put them in separate rooms to get used to it
  • Put the new cat in a closed room with their own litter box, water, and food
  • Feed them both on each side of the door, with the food bowls moving closer, and you’ll notice that they are slowly warming up to one another
  • As always, supervise your cat and make sure that they aren’t doing anything bad

Cats that stare at one another don’t necessarily always mean harm, and sometimes, they’re just communicating with their buddy. But, if you notice other signs of aggression, I do suggest getting them out of that situation fast.

 

The sign of “I Love You”

Did you know cat staring can also sometimes showcase that they love us? Yes, cats tell us “I love you” in their own way, and it does involve staring.

What they do is the following:

  • Stare at us
  • Meet our Gaze
  • Slowly blink their eyes

That means that they love us, and it’s their way of bonding with us.  It’s not meant to be something rude, but that’s how they do it.

Cats can’t talk to us in a language that we understand, at least not yet.  But, for now, we take those small little blinks as signs of affection, and you should accept it.

If your cat does this, you should do the following:

  • Nod back
  • Maybe blink back as you stare
  • Offer a pet or a chance for them to cuddle up to you

Cats showcase love in their own ways, and if you see your cat doing that, don’t be offended, it’s just how they show they love us.

 

What to do if you Catch them Staring

 

 

If you catch them staring, you should always take it as a compliment. It’s how they basically say that hey, we care about you but can’t tell you in our own language.

You should, if you see your cat staring, do the following:

  • Be worth watching, and if you’re on edge try to calm down
  • Acknowledge that you see them staring
  • Stroke their body softly
  • You can speak to them

If you do speak to them, obviously realize your cat won’t understand what the heck you’re talking about.  They don’t understand human language usually beyond their names and a few other words.

But, they do understand behaviors, and they understand that the stimulus produced the correct response of love and affection.  When you’re nice to a cat staring at you, it means the following:

  • It’s a pastime
  • It offers rewards
  • They should do it more often

Cats pick up on our cues, so don’t be afraid to acknowledge them if you notice them around. They may not show it, but they like it.

 

Cat staring is Normal!

Cat staring is completely normal, and you as a pet owner need to realize this. If you’re a bit put off by it, just get used to it.

Cats can’t communicate like how humans do, and their natural, predatory instincts tell them what something is, and they need to assess their environments to find out what’s going on.  So, don’t be put off by it, but instead, take it as a compliment.

By doing this, you’ll be able to foster a better bond with your feline friend.

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