Staring contests against cats are tough to win because they are experts at staring all the time. We wonder, are they trying to tell us something? And if so, what are they trying to say to us?
Depending on the body language, a cat’s stare can mean a multitude of things ranging from love towards us, fear, space, need, hunger, anger, or curiosity.
Animals don’t communicate the same way as humans. They can’t say what they want with words like us, so we have to learn how to decipher the message they are telling us.
In their lives, our pets learn behavior patterns that they use later on to communicate with us. For example, they use senses like sight or hearing to identify when something is going to happen. If they want the same thing, later on, they use that knowledge to communicate with us. For example: Whenever my cat wants food, she walks with me in the direction of her bowl. If I happen to turn away from that destination, she stops and stares at me as if she were saying: “where are you going? Food is this way, human!
What Does It Mean When A Cat Stares At You?
We, as cat lovers, know that our loving pets are interested in everything that we do. If what we are doing is for their benefit, then their interest grows, as does their intention of communicating.
Cats stare to communicate their affection. It is a bond between the pet and the owner. If there is a slow blink while staring at us, it means that they love us more and trust us enough to close their eyes in front of us without fearing any harm. Then, return the love by slowly blinking back.
Before we go to see all the possible meanings of a cat’s stare, let me advise you that if your cat has just started doing that during their routine check-up, mention it to the vet. This is important because if the cat is old, it could mean a medical issue like sight loss is in place and needs urgent medical attention.
Body language is very important to understand the message your cat is trying to tell you. Combining their stare with how they accommodate their bodies will help you the most when interpreting the message. That’s because evolution has helped them perfect their communication system. Signs like posture, noisy vocalizations, or facial expressions are key to understanding what is going on, and we should act accordingly.
Now, let see the possible meanings of a stare:
Our Cat Loves Us!
Deep staring and slow blinking mean that our cats love us. That fixed stare with that slow-motion blink implies affection.
Our Cat Is Feeling Sick.
It is not an everyday occurrence that a cat stares due to health issues. For example, some diseases can cause high blood pressure in old cats, which causes their pupils to dilate and their eyes to stare differently.
If you come across an odd fixed stare, dilated pupils in good light, or reddish eyes, go to the vet to have them examined. You may be in the face of a problem.
Is Our Cat Sleeping?
Cats are frequent sleepers. That’s no mystery. Sometimes, they can sleep with their eyes somewhat open. We may think we are being stared at, but no, it is just a severe case of napping. It’s weird, but nothing to be worried about.
Our Cat Is Curious
“Curiosity killed the cat.” Remember that saying? It is not by chance that cats are the main character in that phrase. The reason is that cats are continuously checking us out to see if everything is okay. They read our body language, too, just like we read theirs.
Besides being their food and shelter, we are also part of our cat’s family and social group. That’s why it’s crucial to maintain stability by keeping constant eye contact.
Our Cat Wants Something
Our furry friends learned very fast that we are the source of many things that they want. Things like affection, food, and shelter. Since they can’t enunciate words, they will stare at us long enough for us to understand. You may notice that intense stare around feeding time.
Body language varies according to what our cat is trying to communicate. These body expressions have to be analyzed when they come with an intense eye stare:
- Ear position. There are two possible positions of the cat’s ears that come along with almost every behavior: Perked pinned back towards the head or upright.
- Body overall position: Paying attention to the whole body helps a lot, which means looking relaxed, fluid, or rigid.
- Tail position: Depending on the shape or direction of the tail, that means that they are feeling different. If their tail is up, down, whipping around, or fluffed out.
As we can see, there are many expressions of body language that can be read. Still, as we get to know our cats, we will become more familiar with them, and it will be easier for us to know when something bad is happening.
Cats Are Territorial.
Cats love to own everything. Our chair, bed, table, slippers, etc. They can stare at us for being in “their space.” Just like we do when someone uses our chair or computer at work. We get into “cat mode.”
In the cat world, eye contact represents dominance. It can get to the point of mean aggression. A “staring contest” between cats can finish in fun and games or fight and war.
Another thing to take into account is that blinking is not as frequent in cats as it is in humans. That is associated with their ability to catch their prey to feed (evolution plays a role there). They keep their eyes open for a longer amount of time to maintain their gaze at their “walking meal.”
Why Does My Cat Stare At Me All Day?
Cats experience an extensive range of emotions. They can stare at us because of something unfamiliar to them, like a sound or an odor in the environment. This may be a reason for them to feel insecure. So, they look at us and analyze our actions, behavior, and body language to understand the relevance of the situation and if that unknown element represents a danger for them. Then, depending on how we react, they will feel confident.
Another reason is that our pet might be bored. That is a little more complicated because it can lead to destructive behavior, and we don’t want that. If we get the “bored” stare, maybe it’s time to play or time to entertain them.
Cats get bored as quickly as humans, but they can also be easy to entertain. Sometimes, they don’t even want to play. They are just looking at whatever we are doing.
We have seen all the possible reasons that cats may have for staring at us. We must not be scared or rush to do anything when they do that. We must resist the urge to spoil or give them treats every time they are staring at us because they are very smart, and they will do it repeatedly just to get more treats. Instead, check the body language, and see if they have food or water in their bowl. Additionally, verify if something is different in their surroundings, or you are sitting in their favorite chair. If nothing works, play with them for a while. Have some fun.
Remember to call the vet if you see anything out of the ordinary.
Shawn Manaher is a serial entrepreneur but when he isn’t working, he loves dogs. He’s owned different pets over the years, and always gives a part of his heart to each pet.