Cats are masters at awkward staring. They train their pretty peepers on a favorite person, and it could be several minutes before they blink or look away. It’s like they’re staring into our souls and watching every move we make. It can be heartwarming as well as a little unnerving, but have you ever wondered why exactly cats stare?
If you frequently catch your cat staring you down, there could be several explanations. Understanding the behavior depends on understanding how your cat thinks.
Here are a few reasons why your cat stares at you.
To Show Affection
Our feline friends aren’t as overly affectionate as the average dog, but that doesn’t mean they don’t love us. Your cat might not greet you at the door with a wagging tail, but there are other ways cats show their affection. A relaxed stare down is one of them.
Pet MD says that when a cat stares at you with relaxed eyes and a slow blink, it’s like they’re saying, “Hey, I like you!”
A soft stare combined with loose body language shows your cat is completely comfortable in your company. If you stare back and give a slow blink, you can express your own fond feelings in a language your cat will understand.
To Get Your Attention
This type of stare is more like feline mind control. Maybe if your cat stares hard enough and for long enough, they can infiltrate your brain and convince you to do what they want.
Cats can’t actually control our minds (at least we don’t think so!), but they do know how to use their direct gaze to get a person’s attention. Cats often stare at humans when they want them to do something. Most of the time, that request revolves around food.
Cats seem to know that a steady stare can send a message just like a meow or head bop. If it’s not food your cat is interested in, their request could be for head scratches or butt rubs. Some cats stare at their people when they want them to open a door or even clean the litter box.
To Read Social and Behavioral Cues
Cats are extremely perceptive, and they often take social cues from their favorite humans. So if you’re feeling stressed, your cat will probably feel the same way. But if you’re acting cool, calm, and collected, your cat will pick up on that and follow your lead.
Your cat is also fluent in body language. They can look at you and tell what you’re thinking by the way you’re moving your hands, tapping your toes, or directing your gaze. By staring intently, your cat will uncover clues to what you’re thinking and what you’re about to do.
When you glance toward the kitchen, your cat might know that you’re thinking about getting a snack. And if you shift your weight even in a little, you might be reaching for that nearby feather toy. Your cat stares at you so that when you make a move, they’ll be ready for whatever you’re about to do.
To Send a Warning
The difference between a happy stare and a menacing stare will be in your cat’s body language. If they’re staring intently, their body is stiff, and their tail is twitching, consider it a warning. Your cat might be play stalking you, or they could be seriously ticked off.
You should also pay attention to your cat’s fur in this case. If their hair is sticking up, that means they’re agitated. A hiss is also a clear message that they mean business.
What To Do When Your Cat Stares At You
If your cat stares in an angry way, the best thing to do is avert your gaze.You want to show that you’re not a threat.
Most cats, however, are probably staring because they want something or because they like you. In these cases, feel free to stare back. It can show your cat that you feel the same way about them, and that eye contact will improve your bond.
You should also work on figuring out what your cat wants. You don’t have to get the treat bag every time your cat starts staring, but understanding their needs will strengthen your relationship.