What Do My Cats See When They’re Staring at the Wall?


Cats do some pretty funny things, and I usually don’t stop to analyze them. They just “are.” I suppose I sometimes do weird things that people don’t question … or do they? Doing fake Karate in the kitchen is pretty normal, right? Yeah, I thought so.

One feline activity I’ve never really pondered is wall-staring. They all do it. Sometimes they sit with their noses nearly flat-against a wall. And what do they do? Stare. At what? I spent a little time considering the topic, and here are some of my thoughts. Total speculation, but probably pretty accurate.

I think.

1. Bugs or other tiny objects

Cats have keen senses and certainly see things we sometimes miss. When they stare at walls, it’s possible they could be intently examining a little bug or piece of dust. Kitties have fantastic staying power, so they could probably place all their attention on that tiny spot for a lengthy amount of time. But if it’s a bug, and it moves, the cat will go absolutely insane. That’s how you know it’s a bug.

2. Imagined shapes and designs

I remember lying in my grandma’s bed and staring at the patterns in the wood-paneled walls. There was one particular area that looked just like an owl, and I thought that was pretty awesome. And then another area resembled a screaming ghoul — that was not as awesome, especially when you’re five.

Maybe cats also see shapes and designs in patterned walls and doors. I’m thinking they’d naturally gravitate toward images like can openers and (gasp!) vacuum cleaners, the equivalent of my screaming ghoul.

3. The future

Perhaps cats use a wall as a sort of crystal ball, and see visions of the future while they’re staring. This could be why they seem to be hiding when we bring out the cat carrier or need to administer a pill. Yeah, they saw that business coming way ahead of time.

4. Ghosts

Cats are often thought to be intuitive and have a closer connection to the spirit world than the majority of humans. I’ve spoken to many people who are certain their cat saw something paranormal and reacted in ways that didn’t seem explainable otherwise. It could be a ghost hanging around on a wall’s surface, and maybe kitty and the entity are having a rousing mental exchange. Hey, you never know.

5. Nothing

OK, it’s also highly possible cats are staring at a wall and seeing absolutely nothing. I tried it myself and didn’t see a ghost, a screaming ghoul, visions of the future, or bugs. I did, however, notice a small stain from when I dropped a bowl of chili several months ago. Hmm … maybe that’s what cats are doing — staring at walls and judging our housekeeping skills. Great.

What do you think your cats see when they stare at walls? Tell us your thoughts (silly or otherwise) in the comments!

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About the Author: Angie Bailey is an eternal optimist with an adoration of all things silly. Loves pre-adolescent boy humor, puns, making up parody songs, thinking about cats doing people things and The Smiths. Writes Catladyland, a cat humor blog, Texts from Mittens (birthed right here on Catster) and authored whiskerslist: the kitty classifieds, a silly book about cats wheeling and dealing online. Partner in a production company and writes and acts in comedy web series that features sketches and mockumentaries. Mother to two humans and three cats, all of which want her to make them food.

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