Why Does Your Cat Stare At You?

It is not that easy to assume what the mood of your pet is through its eyes. The eyes of cats can be dilated or haphazard. Cats’ pupils are always large at night which makes them have a good night vision. 

However, if it is fully dilated in the morning and stares at you or at something else, it can be a sign of aggression or health issues. Cats are naturally curious about their surroundings and they are known to have unique eyesight. 

They have the ability to stare for too long without blinking because their eyes have tear ducts which produce moisture. This ability of cats lets them enhance their learning and hunting skills.

cute seated cat

Cat Staring – Reasons

Unlike dogs, cats are difficult to understand. Sometimes, owners tend to misunderstand what cats are trying to convey. Seeing your cat’s staring eyes can give you lots of thoughts about what it might be thinking.

Looking at your cat watching you move and keep staring at you might creep you out. This is not often a problem to be concerned with. It is generally normal, but sometimes it might be a sign of an illness that your cat has, especially if it is unusual for your pet.

The following are possible reasons why your cat is staring at you:

Curiosity – There is a saying “curiosity killed the cat”. It is used as an idiomatic expression for people who are warned that investigating things can lead to danger. When it comes to cats, they are not killed literally, but it makes them stare at their owners most of the time.

Curiosity is the survival characteristic that they have. They tend to observe their environment and watch everything they see. They always look for changes and possible hiding spots.

If a cat is staring at you while you’re cleaning the house, washing the dishes or watching movies, it can be a sign that it is curious. It is usually normal but it can make you uncomfortable. Your cat may be watching you because it’s interested in what you are doing. It might also be looking if there are any changes in you that can be a threat towards itself.

Communication – Cats communicate to us non-verbally and one of the most helpful organs that they use to communicate with their owners is their eyes. Your cat might be staring at you to observe your movement and wait for any signal so that it can choose what action it will take. Its eyes can read your body language.

Your cat might also be staring as a sign that it wants to get something or there is something that you need to be aware of. Sometimes, it can also be because it is challenging you.

Learning – Cats are highly intelligent. They can learn things on their own. There are different ways for them to learn and observing through staring is one. They tend to observe everything around them. If a cat is observing its owner, it is learning about the things that its owner does.

There are cases wherein cats mimic their owners’ lifestyle. For example, if your cat observes that you are eating often, it might do the same too which leads to obesity. You are your cat’s role model so make sure to lead a good life.

Hunger and Thirst – Your cat knows if it is meal time. It can get pretty excited because like everyone, it loves food. When there is a delay with feeding, it might stare at you with its eyes asking about its food and water or maybe it wants more.

It can also stare at you if it suddenly becomes hungry or thirsty. It’s hard to tell what your pet needs but you should be aware of your cat’s proper feeding time and make sure that you give enough. Some cat stares might mean it is wondering if you will feed it at any moment.

Physical Changes – Sometimes, cats can also notice physical changes in their owners. For example, you got a new haircut; your cat can notice that – that’s why it is staring at you.

Your cat can also stare at you if you got unusual things on your face like chocolate or any other food that got stuck in your face.

Attention – Although cats are often independent, they still love their owners’ attention. Your cat may call your attention by staring at you and showing interesting things that it knows and it can.

Cats can get super clingy that’s why your cat might want to stay attached to you. It might stare at you as a signal that it wants your time to bond with you or to be cuddled. Boredom can also make it stare at its owner. It might want to get your attention because it wants to go outside to get some walk or to play.

Fear – A direct look in cats can cause fear to them. If there are people who are not cat lovers that look at your cat, but suddenly look away from it, your cat feels safe. It’s because not looking at it for too long can make it feel less intimidated.

Like us, cats feel uncomfortable when being watched for a long time. Staring at cats is uneasy for them. If you are looking directly into your cat’s eyes and it is staring at you, it can be a sign that it is afraid of you or it sees you as a threat. It is advised to blink when looking at your cat because continuous staring without blinking can make it feel threatened.

Admiration – You are the one who feeds it, who serves as its companion, and the one who takes care of it. If you’re a responsible owner, you can develop a bond between you and your pet. As a result, all your hard work will make your cat admire you.

Staring can also be a sign of trust, faith, and respect. If your pet is sleepy and stares at you with semi-closed eyes as it falls asleep, it means your cat trusts you because it feels comfortable to sleep in your presence.

If your cat stares at you then blinks slowly, it is called “cat kiss”. It is your cat’s other way of showing affection and admiration.

Discomfort – Cats might stare at their owners if they are not comfortable. There are things which might be giving an uneasy feeling for them such as the water, as some cats hate it. Although they take a bath every day, staying in a bathtub with water for too long can give them discomfort.

Pain can also be another thing that can make your cat uncomfortable. Sometimes, it is hard to determine if your cat is in pain or not because most cats tend to hide it. A cat sees everyone as a possible rival. It tends to hide its painful feeling because of the fear of losing to a more deserving animal.

The clothes or costumes you make it wear might not feel comfortable too. You should also check if the temperature is too hot or too cold for your cat to make it feel good.

Unaware Staring – A cat can also stare at you without being aware that it is staring. You may be in its line of vision. It is possible that your cat would unintentionally stare at you while thinking or focusing on certain sounds that it hears.

Medical Causes – Some medical conditions that a cat can have can cause dilation of its eyes. Sometimes, it might seem that it is staring at you, but it doesn’t always mean that way. Your cat’s eyes can be dilated and look like it is staring at you if it has some medical issues such as the following:

Heart disease

Heart diseases in cats such as cardiomyopathy are very difficult to diagnose until they become critical. A cat that suffers from cardiomyopathy has high risks of developing heart failure, thromboembolism, and hypertension which make its eyes dilated.

Kidney failure

Kidney failure is a condition where the kidney stops working. You can observe signs such as often drinking and peeing of your cat. Most cats with kidney failure also have high blood pressure which causes their eyes to be dilated, making them look like they are staring at their owner or at something that is in their line of vision.

Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism (also known as “overactive thyroid”) is a medical condition wherein there is too much production of thyroxine. It accelerates the body’s metabolism causing rapid heartbeat, irritability, and sweating.

A cat with untreated hyperthyroidism has hypertension too. Too high blood pressure can cause dilation of its eyes and can even lead to blindness.

In Summary

There can be so many reasons for your cat to stare at you. As an owner, you know your cat well so you might be able to figure out what’s the real reason behind your cat’s stare. It is not unusual for cats to have this kind of behavior but it can rarely be because of some health issues so don’t just take it for granted.

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Kathy Hills
Kathy Hills

I have been an animal lover since I was a small child. My mother sold Watkins products in a small town in North Dakota and when delivering the product to people who lived on farms I would get out of the car first to distract the dog (most farms had at least one dog) for my mother (she was afraid of dogs) as she went to the door. I was her "dog decoy." I have worked with animals my entire adult life, mainly as a VET.

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