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Why does my cat keep staring at me?

It’s one of life’s mysteries: why do our cats feel the need to challenge their human companions to impromptu staring competitions?

You can almost feel the holes burning in the back of your head as they compose themselves while you’re making a snack, watching your favorite TV program, or going about your daily chores. In other words, just minding your own business!

Once they’re locked in on their target, it can be quite uncomfortable, intimidating and disconcerting, especially as we don’t always understand what their intentions are, but this trance-like state of theirs doesn’t always carry negative or unsavory connotations. In fact, it can be a quite endearing and affectionate characteristic.

To get a true grasp of what they’re thinking, to really get behind those piercing eyes and into their head, their overall body language can help you decipher their true emotions.


5 reasons your cat is staring at you


  1. Curiosity: Cats like to study their subjects. They want to know what you’re doing, when/how you’re doing it and what you’re going to do next. If they’re observing in a composed, content manner, then they’re simply displaying their curiosity and paying close attention to their pet parent.


  1. Feeding: A cat can’t express their hunger in words so, rather than vocalizing their need for food, they communicate using alternative channels. Their eyes. If you’re in a routine, and it’s getting towards mealtime, then a demanding look in your direction is just a friendly reminder that their bowls are currently empty. If they pair their stare with a more forceful ‘meow’, and their grazing up against your leg, then it’s time for food to be served.


  1. Love: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. To your cat, you’re the most beautiful and important person on the planet. Sometimes they’ll just sit peacefully and gaze lovingly into your eyes. If they add slow blink sequences, this is when you know how much affection your feline has for you. It’s the look of love!


  1. Fear: Our felines might come across as stern-faced, fearless, four-legged warriors, but it doesn’t take much to give them the heebie-jeebies. If they’re staring at you while crouching down with their tail tucked in, then someone or something has given them a fright. If they’ve found a hiding place inside your home you may have inadvertently done something that has scared/intimidated them.


  1. Aggression: If your cat locks eyes, with a puffed up body, ears pinned and tail wagging aggressively from side-to-side, then it’s highly likely that they’re angry or annoyed. If this is the case, just back off and give them some space, as they’re trying to tell you that they’re feeling threatened. Time is a healer, so give them an opportunity to cool down.


Is staring ever linked to aggressive behavior?


Understanding your feisty feline’s demeanor and behavioral traits can be highly beneficial for all parties.

Familiarizing yourself with their body mechanics, gauging how they act in certain situations, identifying the signs of their anguish, and how they partner those not-so-subtle quirks with a ‘stare’, will help you avoid any unnecessary confrontation.

If they appear defensive, on-edge, intimidated, they’ve adopted a piercing glare, the hair of their coat is standing to attention, and their tail is thrashing abruptly, then it is best not to bother them.

It might not be clear why they’re acting in this manner, but give them time to re-calibrate, before approaching them. Provoking them, regardless of whether it is unintentional, could cause them to retaliate and, in turn, compromise your safety, or the safety of others.


Take the time to learn your cat’s behaviors


A cat’s glare can be almost hypnotic at times. It can also be quite intense when they fall into a trance-like state.

Our pets communicate their emotions using a range of different methods. Their eyes are one of those, but their body language also accentuates their feelings.

A subtle stare is normally a sign of love and affection, or they might just be after your time and attention.

They might lock eyes when hunger strikes, or it might be to convey a feeling of fear or anger.

Taking the time to learn your furry companion’s nuances and behaviors will help you to read and understand them better.

That’s the way to a happy and healthy relationship.

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