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Why Don’t Cats Make Eye Contact With Other Cats? 4 Vet-Reviewed Reasons

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on June 5, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

two cats looking at each other

Why Don’t Cats Make Eye Contact With Other Cats? 4 Vet-Reviewed Reasons


Dr. Maja Platisa Photo


Dr. Maja Platisa

DVM MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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A cat’s eyes are big and enchanting, but did you know that they’re also incredibly expressive? If you’ve just adopted a cat, you might need time to understand what your pet is trying to say with their eyes. But seasoned cat owners know when cats are showing annoyance, aggression, sadness, and even love through their eyes. That said, most cats don’t like direct eye contact!

While some cats are fine making eye contact with humans, they tend to avoid doing it with other cats. But why is that the case? For felines, making eye contact isn’t an idle gesture; rather, it’s loaded with meaning.

Cats can use this tactic to send messages to other cats, depending on the situation. Some communicate through eye contact, while others show aggression. Also, although felines don’t like looking into other cats’ eyes, they may stare at other pets.

Let’s dig deeper into this behavior to learn more.

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What Do Cats Think of Eye Contact?

It’s essential to understand how cats make eye contact before we go through the reasons they don’t make eye contact with other cats. For feline animals, looking directly into a human’s or another cat’s eyes means something entirely different. They assume a pair of locked eyes as a threat or warning.

Cats are territorial animals, and they rarely like being approached by a strange human or a cat. So, they aren’t comfortable with prolonged eye contact and will avert their gaze. However, some feisty and temperamental cats don’t divert their eyes but start staring at other cats more.

Cats send assertive messages through eye contact to show the other feline who the boss is. The cat that diverts their attention first loses the staring contest. But if the staring continues for a long time, it may result in physical violence. That’s how cats perceive eye contact with other cats.

Image Credit: Wasuta23, Shutterstock

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The 4 Reasons Your Cat Avoids Eye Contact With Other Cats

While eye contact entails aggression in cats, avoiding it means the opposite. It primarily means your cat wants peace. Here are some compelling reasons that cats don’t like making eye contact with other cats.

1. Cats Are Self-Conscious Pets

Cats are self-conscious animals that usually don’t like being in the spotlight. They want to lay low, play with household items, exhibit their hunting instinct with their toys, relax, observe their environment from a safe spot, and enjoy spending time with their owners. It also includes not being watched all the time. That’s their ideal life.

Because of this reason, they may not like constant gazes from humans, cats, and simply any other living being. In fact, some cats prefer to not make eye contact with their owners, no matter how much they love them. That’s just how these feline animals are!

2. They’re Avoiding Physical Encounters

Cats are predatory animals that can be provoked easily. Since they don’t get along with every human or pet, they can become fearful or assertive when approached by strangers.

But if your cat is friendly, confident, and relaxed, they will try avoiding eye contact with other kitties to indicate peace. This means your pet doesn’t want any sort of violence and expects the same in return. Thus, their “non-eye contact” behavior informs the other cat about their intentions.

As a responsible pet owner, you should try to distract your cat from making prolonged eye contact with another kitty. Observe both felines’ body language and gestures to determine if they may engage in a fight. If they have stressed bodies and raised hackles, you should know there may soon be a severe encounter.

If you have an adult cat, they may not easily accept you bringing another cat into their life. This is usually done at kitten age; adopting two kittens from the same litter can be a great way to keep them both happy and entertained. However, when all grown up, most cats take time to adjust to a newcomer, and sometimes they just don’t get along. Speak to your vet or a feline behaviorist if you are planning to get another cat or if your cats are not getting along.

two cats wrestling
Image Credit: AdinaVoicu, Pixabay

3. They Don’t Want to Communicate

Making eye contact is a cat’s way of communicating with other cats. If you catch your cat gazing at other cats and blinking, they may be trying to tell other felines that they like their attention. This behavior also shows that a cat is receptive to another feline’s approach.

However, if your cat looks away, they may not be interested in communicating with another pet. While some cats use eye contact instead of vocalization, others don’t like interacting with other felines in any way.

4. The Cat Is Feeling Threatened

Cats usually make direct eye contact with other felines to show aggression or warn them. But if you find your cat looking away, wide-eyed, crouching, with their hackles raised, turning sideways, or attempting to leave, they may feel threatened or intimidated by another kitty.

You should also see if your cat pulls their ears up or flattens them toward their head. All these are primary signs of cats feeling afraid of someone’s presence in their territory, which can build up to aggression. If that’s the case, make sure to stay safe yourself, as cats can redirect their aggression toward you. Keep your animals separate until you can speak to a vet and a feline behaviorist.

two cats playing
Image Credit: AdinaVoicu, Pixabay


Do Cats Make Eye Contact With Specific Humans?

You might have realized that eye contact with humans differs from other cats. Because of their domestication, cats have become accustomed to humans’ presence. Most of them have also adapted a lot to human lifestyles and behaviors. So, a cat’s staring contest with humans doesn’t mean the same with other kitties.

Many cat breeds are friendly enough to make eye contact with their owners. While some show affection, others do it out of curiosity to learn more about their favorite human. If you ever catch your cat staring at you, give them a gentle slow wink or blink. Cats translate this gesture as “I love you.” However, this behavior doesn’t apply to all cats. Many cats only make eye contact with one person, whomever they’re the closest to.

If you have guests who try to look directly into your pet’s eyes, your cat will likely get up and run away. But that doesn’t mean they’re rude or mean. Instead, your feline friend prefers strangers to greet them with a glance from a distance.

cat looking man's chin
Image Credit: Magui RF, Shutterstock

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Cats don’t make eye direct contact with other cats because they consider it a challenge. If your cat prevents eye contact with another cat, that’s a good sign. It means your cat is friendly and peaceful and doesn’t want to engage in a physical encounter with any other pet.

Avoiding eye contact with other kitties also means that your pet doesn’t want to communicate with them or feels threatened by them. So, if you have two cats at home that rarely make direct eye contact, but they play together, snuggle up, and groom each other, it means they’re best friends. They enjoy each other’s companionship and neither feels the need to dominate.

Featured Image Credit: Magui RF, Shutterstock

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