You’re alone in your home, just going about your business, and you suddenly get the sinking feeling that you’re being stared at. You look out the window—nothing. You call out and ask if anyone’s there—no response. That’s when it hits you:
You are being stared at, and it’s your little cat that’s doing the staring.
Being stared at by your cat isn’t new to experienced cat owners, but do you know why our feline friends love to fixate on us? There are many reasons that your cat might stare at you, and we explore the seven common ones here.
It All Depends on the Body Language
Context is key when trying to figure out why your cat is staring at you. The same expression will likely mean one thing if your cat is happy but a different thing entirely if your cat is angry or upset. As a result, you can’t consider your cat’s stares in a vacuum. They’re just one piece of their behavioral puzzle, and you’ll need to look at all the pieces together to try to figure out what your pet is thinking.
It’s not surprising that your cat would stare at you regardless of how they’re feeling, though. Cats are visual creatures, and they rely on their eyes when hunting. You can’t really turn that behavior off.
Does that mean your cat is hunting you? Not necessarily—but they’ve probably thought about it a time or two. There are probably other reasons that they’re staring, however, so let’s take a look at those first.
The 7 Possible Reasons Why Your Cat Stares at You
1. Your Cat Is Curious
This is one of the most common reasons that cats stare at people. Let’s face it, you must seem especially strange to your cat. It’s no surprise that they want to gawk at you from time to time.
If you’re doing something that you don’t usually do, your cat likely just wants to know what’s happening. They’ll stare until they get bored or someone more interesting comes along.
2. They Want Something
Your cat may be trying to tell you that they want something from you, like attention or food. They may also be batting or mewing at you in a bid to catch your eye.
This may be a learned behavior rather than an innate one—which is a nice way of saying that your cat considers you an easy mark.
3. They’re Bored
If your cat doesn’t have enough stimulation, they may look to you to provide some. The good news is that staring at you is preferable to other ways that your cat could deal with boredom, like shredding your couch.
4. They Need Reassurance
Cats get sad and anxious just like humans—and just like us, they seek outside sources of comfort. Your cat doesn’t have any other options in terms of finding a sympathetic shoulder, though, so they’ll look to you.
If there has been a great deal of change and upheaval in your home lately, your cat may be feeling stressed, which will lead to them staring at you more often.
5. They’re Insecure
Despite your already well-established weirdness, you represent your cat’s entire world. They understand that they rely on you for food, shelter, entertainment, and more, and sometimes, they worry about losing you.
After all, you regularly leave them behind for hours at a time—what if you don’t come back? They may stare at you in order to appreciate your presence while you’re around. Cats also tend to mirror your emotional state, so if you’re calm and confident, your cat will eventually start to be too.
6. They’re Sleeping
We don’t want to burst your bubble, but you might not be as interesting as you think. Some cats sleep with their eyes partially open, and they may be catching a few z’s while pointed in your general direction.
7. They’re Injured
Some ocular injuries cause cats to stare straight ahead blankly. These injuries can be caused by all sorts of conditions, but high blood pressure is the most likely culprit.
Take a look at your cat’s pupils. If they’re unnaturally dilated, you might want to take your cat to the vet for a checkup.
How Do I Get My Cat to Stop Staring at Me?
If your cat’s staring bothers you, the only way to stop it is to figure out what’s causing it. Once you understand what’s behind the behavior, you can give your cat what they want and end the staring issue once and for all.
Of course, there might not be a single cause. Your cat may stare at you for one reason on one day but then stare at you for a completely different reason the next day. You’ll just have to use context clues to figure out what your kitty wants.
Either that, or you can live with being gawked at like a common celebrity. It’s your choice.
There are many reasons that your cat may stare at you, and most are benign and harmless. If you’re ever worried about your cat’s behavior, of course, do take them to the vet, especially if they have clinical signs beyond fixation on your face. If your cat is healthy but the staring still bothers you, you can try to get them to stop, but just remember that being stared at by your cat is typically a good thing because it shows that they’re interested in you, which is a high compliment from a feline.
Read about other odd cat behaviors with these interesting guides:
Featured Image Credit: Ysbrand Cosijn, Shutterstock