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Why Do Cats Stare at You? The Truth

Why Do Cats Stare at You? The Truth

One of the creepiest things in the world has to be when you wake up to find your cat is staring at you with their large, unblinking eyes. You may feel a bit awkward being your feline’s primary focus, and perhaps for a good reason! Are they staring as a way to show that they love you, or is their stare one of judgment as you sleep soundly through their breakfast time?

Wondering why our cats do things like this can send you down a rabbit hole, but we’ve got you!

Read on for six reasons why your cat likes to stare at you.

What Is Your Cat Trying To Tell You?

Our cats are great at communicating with us.

They meow, purr, hiss, and use their tails to tell us how they are feeling. We even see our cats rub their faces on our legs, which is also a way for your cat to communicate to other cats that they are your human.

Cat stare-downs can also be used in conjunction with other movements to indicate how they are feeling. You can use these combinations of body language to know your cat’s mood. With this info, you can make the necessary changes if their body language indicates that they are anything but content.

They Love You

Just like humans, making eye contact and holding a gaze can be a signal of affection. Your kitty sees you as a part of their family and them staring at you is a way to show their affection.

Slow blinks also indicate your cat feels connected to you, they trust you, and they want to spend time with you. When your cat is sitting next to you or resting in your lap, make eye contact with them and slowly blink to show them that you enjoy their company. Your cat will likely reciprocate, and you’ll both feel even more bonded to each other. (PS: Cats show affection in other ways, including with licking).

They Missed You

If you have just gotten home from work or returned from vacation, you might find that your cat is staring more intently at you. If you think that your cat is making up for missed time by glaring at you, you may be right.

In a study, cats were found to initiate social contact with their pet parents after a period of separation. This contact was found to be increased the longer the cat’s human was gone.

This is very sweet and shows that our cats care about us and that we are an important part of their life.

They Are Hungry

In true cat fashion, your cat may stare as a hint that it is past their mealtime. We are all aware of the eerie feeling you get when you feel someone staring at you. It is common to experience this with your cat, and your cat may be hinting they want their food bowl refilled.

It’s a safe bet that your cat is hungry if they are eyeballing you while also sitting in close proximity to their food dish. They may also try this move when they want a second breakfast or extra snack during the day, don’t let those kitten eyes budge your resolve.


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They Feel Angry

We all experience bad moods from time to time, and your cat is included in these fluctuations in mood. If your cat exhibits a stiff body and their ears are turned to the side, this may indicate they are angry about something.

One such scenario is taking your kitty for a vet check-up. You’ve gotten them into their carrier just fine, but now it is time to take them out for the vet to take a look. Your cat may have pushed themselves to the back of their carrier, and they are giving you the ultimate stare-down.

Paired with these other tension-filled body gestures, your cat is giving you a warning they are far from feeling pleased. When this occurs, it is probably a good idea to give your cat some space so they can start to relax. You can help break your cat’s icy glare with their favorite treat or toy.

They Feel Scared

Did you accidentally drop a glass? Maybe you started the vacuum cleaner? Do you have extra loud guests over? Any unexpected loud noises can startle your kitty and send them to take cover under the sofa or chair.

Your kitty may stare at you as a way to gauge what is going on and probably a silent plea for the loud noise to stop. Paired with a tucked-in tail, flattened ears, and positioning their bodies low to the ground, your cat may be feeling a little spooked.

If possible, stop the loud noise and distract your kitty with their favorite treat or toy. If you know that you’ll have guests over for a get-together, try moving your kitty to a quiet place if they tend to get rattled easily by loud noises.

They’re Curious

If you are starting a new exercise routine or come home with a new haircut, you may find your cat giving you a good stare-down. While it may feel like they are doing some hardcore judging, your cat’s stares can be just due to being curious.

Cats are naturally curious creatures, and they like to explore new things. If you come home looking different, they will certainly stare to try to figure out what you changed about your appearance. If you start a new exercise routine, your cat may stare as they try to figure out your new moves.

Put More Eyes & Minds on Petcare With AskVet

While we know that our cats can sometimes act a little zany, we may need some help from time to time to decipher their more perplexing behaviors.

This is where our team of veterinarians and Certified Pet Lifestyle Coaches™ can help put some fresh eyes and minds to any pet questions that you may have questions about. Set up a virtual session to get answers to all of your behavior questions and get personalized advice and guidance 24/7 from our experts.

You also have plenty of resources right at your fingertips, like our blog and access to the AskVet Clubhouse, where you can chat and get advice from other pet parents.

Next time when your cat stares you down, slowly blink and smile at your BFFF — best feline friend forever.


Cats and owners interact more with each other after a longer duration of separation | PLOS ONE

How Do Cats Communicate With Each Other | Library Of Congress

The curious character of cats |

The role of cat eye narrowing movements in cat–human communication | Scientific Reports


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