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Why Does My Cat Stare At Me?

by Guest Contributor
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Whether you’re a cat parent or a friend of a cat parent, you’ve been in a room with a staring cat at least once in your life. Come on, it must have happened at least once! No? Ha. Well, then you better find some stray cats and see what they do when they see you. Most likely, if they’re not running away, they’ll be staring. Any pet owner has learned to understand a little non-verbal communication at this point, whether they like it or not. Even if you’ve just adopted your first pet yesterday, it’s a cat’s way and most animals’ way of communicating with humans.

Perhaps you stumbled upon this article in search of gaining a better understanding of your cat’s way of non-verbal communication. It’s possible that you genuinely think the domestic cats or the stray cats in your neighborhood or house are planning to gang up on you and eat you. It’s also possible (and probably) that you are a caring cat parent who wants to understand why your feline friend WON’T STOP STARING. No matter the situation, cat person, dog person, or bird person, it’s important to grasp non-verbal communication. Throughout this article, you’ll be taken on a journey to better understand cat’s communication. So sit back and enjoy this deep dive into understanding a curious, staring, albeit slightly ominous, cat.

why does my cat stare at me?

Read That Facial Expression

We all know how amazing cats are at getting their way. This is amazing considering they really can’t understand anything we say. Even though they may not have the proper English vocabulary learned in our early elementary days, they are super good at picking up on tones and body language. In turn, our feline friends think humans will be just as good at doing the same. Unfortunately though, sometimes it’s just not that easy. Therefore, look out for the following facial expressions if you’ve got a staring cat on your hands!

Building or Maintaining Friendship

Yes, your staring cat could be telling you they genuinely value the friendship and bond they have with you. Which provides those nurturing cat owners with a seriously amazing feeling. Seriously just writing that sentence stimulated some little stomach butterflies in hopes for some kitty eye-kisses later. Keep reading to learn what “eye-kisses” are.

Cat behavior has been long studied throughout a variety of different cultures around the world. One fun fact about your staring cat is that when they have a slow blink they’re actually offering friendship. A slow blink has been known to promote social interactions between cats and humans. This shows that your cat feels comfy and safe around you. If you have a staring cat with a slow blink, it’s a good thing and you should really feel good about it!

Alarm

Now in most cases, if a cat is scared or has been spooked it will probably run and hide under the bed until it doesn’t feel threatened anymore. Although, in some cases, cat owners have seen a different reaction. If your staring cat seems to be nervous or timid, it’s important to read the cat’s gaze to learn what they’re feeling. A cat that is feeling threatened or scared, will usually gaze towards the left and tilt its head. This is an important gesture to know because you shouldn’t approach a cat that’s feeling scared. They may possibly hurt you, especially stray cats. It’s also important to know because cat owners may have to remove something that is potential harm to their kitty from their environment.

Happy

Going from a cat that’s in a state of alarm to a cat that’s in a state of happiness is literally just an eye roll. Yeah, you read that right. The difference between a cat that is scared or nervous and a cat that is happy is literally looking up the opposite way. It was previously stated that when a cat looks up and to the left they are feeling afraid, but when a cat looks up and to the right, they are feeling happy. So if your cat’s gaze is up and towards the right and their head is tilted, yep, you guessed it, they’re happy!

signs you are a cat person

Curious

A curious cat can often quickly turn into a staring cat. If your cat is staring but definitely doesn’t look like a happy, relaxed cat, they may be feeling super curious. If that’s the case your cat’s eyes will be opened wide and the pupils will be narrow and long. If they’re feeling curious they’ll normally contain a hard stare directly at the object or other source of curiosity. It’s important to know that the ears will also be tilted more forward than back. Backward ears could potentially mean that the cat is unhappy. A curious cat won’t be unhappy, but more excited!

Stress

One of the most important facial expressions any cat owner should be able to read is stress. Honestly, cats get stressed out more often than pet owners would like to admit, usually at no fault to the owners themselves. It can depend on a variety of factors (some cats really are just stressed and moody by nature). That’s totally okay! I’m sure you did nothing wrong while raising your feline friend. In the future though, it’s important to be able to spot a stressed-out cat. If you do have a stressed-out, staring cat, you could possibly have a bit of a problem, it’s important to stay calm and at this moment, give your kitty her own space. If your staring cat is exhibiting any of the following behavior, it’s best to back away and ignore them.

  1. The mouth is closed, but the kitty may still be hissing
  2. Flattened ears
  3. Big pupils and eyes wide open
  4. Whiskers are pointed forward

Being able to spot stress in your feline friend will help both of you to gain a stronger bond and understanding of each other’s limits.

Pain

Staring cats can definitely show us different signs of pain also. Cats are pretty good at hiding their pain from owners. This is because they naturally don’t want the people they love to be sad. No one likes to watch someone else be sad, but as we know it’s important to be able to pick up that pain from our little cherished kitties.

It’s honestly shocking how much one can read just from looking in their cat’s eyes. Paying close attention to the different motions of a cat’s eyes can show owners a variety of good and bad possibilities.

A cat in pain will usually have squinty eyes and whiskers that are pushed forward. Along with their face, you can also see the pain in their body posture. A cat in pain will normally have a more hunched posture and a lowered head. This is important to look out for as your cat might be trying to tell you about their pain, without being able to actually tell you about it.

why does my cat stare at me?

Non-Verbal Cat Communication – What is It?

Alright, now that we have a better understanding of the different facial expressions cats might show us, let’s take a look at what non-verbal communication actually is. It’s important for pet owners of literally any animal to understand what non-verbal communication is. Whether you’re raising a dog, cat, bird, fish, or pterodactyl, you’ll constantly be seeing non-verbal communication techniques from your animals. These techniques include body language, gestures, and facial expressions. Animals have been found to use them with both humans, their own species, and different species.

At this point, you should have a basic understanding of what the different facial expressions your cat is giving you may be depicting, so let’s look a bit at your cat’s body language. Staring is definitely a strong form of body language. So many different feelings can be portrayed simply by staring. Even as humans, “if looks could kill”, is a super common saying. It’s the same with animals. So any cat owner should know that a staring cat is actually a social cue that portrays way more about the cat’s feelings than most other forms of body language.

Reading cat behavior may not be super easy at first, but over time, you’ll learn the different non-verbal techniques exhibited by your feline friend. Whether it be through direct eye contact, a tilted head, an unblinking stare or folded back ears, it’s important to know what your kitty needs and is thinking. This will be the best way to build a strong bond with your animals.

Staring isn’t the only non-verbal communication exhibited by our little fur babies. Pet owners can also see a few different types of non-verbal communication like blinking. Slow blinking or squinting can show a few different feelings and portray a few different messages. As we saw under the facial expression section, it’s always fun to guess and try to figure out what your kitty is thinking. Along with blinks and squints, your kitty might even nudge and rub against its owners to show affection. This hands down make cat owners feel more loved than just staring across the room, but any form of non-verbal communication is our kitty’s way of reminding us how much they really do love us or in some cases, are maybe just a little sick of us.

Nebelung cat

Does my Cat Want to Eat Me?

Honestly, it was surprising how many times this question came across different communication threads from various pet owners. Watching their cat’s eyes wander from owner to owner debating whether or not their feline friend really wanted to eat them. Fortunately, most likely, this isn’t the case for why your feline friend has been staring at you. The cat species is historically known as a significantly curious creature, dating back to the beginning of time. Although they are visual creatures, they most likely don’t want to bite the hand that feeds them or head, if you will.

Now, if you see your curious creature outside pouncing around in the grass eyeing up the bird in the tree, then most likely they’re ready to catch that prey, but they’ll probably bring it home to you at the end of the day. Being visual hunters staring comes easy to cats. It’s their way of showing their prey who’s in charge. This is great for all of us with mice problems, but it’s almost a promise that your cat isn’t planning to eat you.

A cat who’s staring at its cat owner is most likely just signaling that it needs some attention and is looking for you to engage with them. In the animal world staring conveys a variety of messages and meanings. Both within their own animal friends and the human world. To animals, you can understand their stares quite well, while to us we may feel extremely confused. It’s okay not to be sure what your feline friend wants right away. It takes time to learn their quirks and different ways of communicating non-verbally. Just like it takes time for us to understand other humans, but in most cases, your cat is not planning to eat you. So let’s look past that thought process and go into figuring out what your feline friend is actually trying to tell you.

Give Your Kitty Some Lovin’

In most cases, your kitty is really trying to tell you they are desperate for some attention. If they’re sitting on top of your desk while you’re working and just watching you, they might actually be jealous of your laptop. Showing affection to your cat can be beneficial to both of you! Not only giving into your fur babies’ craving for attention but also giving you a little lovin’ too.

A great way to know if your kitty is craving affection is to look for a few different aspects of the cat’s behavior. The first is to look for something often referred to as “eye kisses”. Eye kisses are shown through slow blinks and half-closed eyelids and they are literally exactly what they’re called. This is the cat’s way of showing their humans how much they value, appreciate, and feel safe around them. With that in mind, this might be a great time to give your feline friend some snuggles and some real kisses.

Even if you love having a staring contest with your little fur baby, sometimes it’s best to give them the affection they’re asking for. Even if that means giving them a yummy treat. In the long run, they’ll most likely win the staring contest anyways. That is if they don’t feel threatened by your intense staring and run away!

why does my cat stare at me?

Is Something Wrong With My Kitty Who Stares at Me?

In some cases, a staring cat might indicate something a bit more serious. Many times, when our feline friends aren’t feeling well they’ll show through different verbal tactics they’ve picked up. Letting you know that there is something going on, but sometimes they won’t do that. It’s important to look out for different signs that your fur baby may be sick. Keeping track of cat health is very important to long-lasting and strong bonds. One concern that can often be seen through cat staring is an ocular injury. Cat owners will be able to spot an ocular injury by noticing symptoms like; increased blinking, closed eyes, eye redness, possible bleeding of the eye, and a yellowy discharge. These are important symptoms to look out for in a staring cat that seems to have something wrong.

Generally, though, a staring cat doesn’t mean anything is wrong. If something is wrong there will be symptoms like the abovementioned concern or other visible symptoms. If you are worried it never hurts to call your vet just to check in. You can never be too careful when it comes to cat health!

Conclusion

To conclude, a staring cat can mean a variety of different things. It’s important to know that one of the main ways of communication of our furry friends is that of non-verbal cat communication. This means that cats are great at communicating without using any sounds at all.

In order to read and understand this form of cat communication, cat owners should research and know the different facial expressions and cat behaviors exhibited. While one could research for hours, days, and weeks only they really understand their feline friends. Just like humans, every cat is unique in its own special way. Therefore, using the information in this article and taking your cat’s behavior into consideration is the only way to get a real and genuine read on their feelings.

So, if you have a staring cat it’s most likely a happy cat who’s showing love to you or is craving affection from you. It’s not possible to give out too much affection to your fluffy lover, so reward and love! Hopefully, you’ll get some eye kisses in return! However, it’s never a bad idea to keep that kitty well-fed just in case those stares are more nefarious (we’re kidding, mostly). Your chances of being eaten by the High Lord (or Lady) you call Fluffernutter may not be 100%, but it’s never 0%. 

why does my cat stare at me?

 

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