Why Does My Cat Stare At Me?

Curious kitten
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Imagine that you're tidying up the house, putting things in cupboards, emptying the trash, dusting, when suddenly you feel eyes on the back of your neck. Sure enough, when you turn around, there's your cat, just staring at you, unblinking. It's enough to creep you out a little bit.

Any cat owner has felt this sensation because sometimes it seems that our cats spend all their time locked in one of those unyielding gazes. So why do our cats stare at us the way they do?

Don't worry, overall, it is mostly a healthy and totally normal habit. But that doesn't make it any less unsettling. So we unpacked a few of the reasons your cat might be staring intently at you, so that at least you understand the possible meanings behind that classic look.

Curiosity may not have literally killed the cat, but it for sure made it stare at you.

Cats are naturally curious animals, and they want to know everything you're doing. So they watch you. They watch you while you bustle around the kitchen. They watch you while you tidy up your room. They even watch you while you sit still and work at your computer.

To our cats, we are fascinating creatures, and they want to watch us to learn our behaviors and what we might do. To us, it might seem silly that just our mundane activities would amuse them so much. But just think how crazy they must think we are for staring at our digital screens so hard!

Cat playing with little gerbil mouse on thetable
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Cats as a species are visual hunters.

Even though your cat may not need to hunt to survive anymore, they still have those instincts. Biologically, cats are meant to observe the world around them, watching carefully for any chance of prey. And in their domesticated lives, they can't quite shake the instinct to watch their surroundings constantly and carefully.

Also, biologically, their eyes work differently than ours do. To help them hunt, cats don't blink as often as we do, and that motionless stare often seems disconcerting to humans who need to blink.

Cats understand nonverbal, rather than verbal, communication.

We've all experienced the sensation that our cats understand exactly what we're thinking, but of course, they can't understand our words. However, cats understand our nonverbal communication very well, just like we understand theirs. So they often watch us to pick up on what we're thinking and feeling.

Your cat just likes you!

A cat's stare may also be a quiet sign of affection. They may be looking at you to show the bond between the two of you. When a cat stares ahead with that steady, soft gaze you're so used to, it means they feel relaxed and safe. So congrats, you've got one happy, content kitty on your hands!

Somali Cat Looking Up
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You provide the food, and your feline friend knows that.

Every animal needs to eat, and your cat knows that you provide the food. Cats are very smart animals, but instinctually, food is always at the back of their mind. So at any given moment, they might be looking at you, suspecting you may feed them at any moment.

Their stare also might have a more insidious purpose. Your cat may be imploring you to give it food or treats or love or affection. They know you can't resist those kitty cat eyes.

Rarely, staring might be caused by a medical condition.

Don't panic, because a serious medical condition is usually not the cause of your kitty's staring habit. However, if you notice that your cat is staring at you with dilated pupils, then you should visit your vet. Dilated pupils are a symptom of high blood pressure, which could indicate hyperthyroidism, kidney failure, or heart disease. Most likely, your cat's staring isn't health-related, but if you're worried, take a visit to the vet.

The more you know about your cat, the closer a bond you'll create between the two of you.

But don't worry, we're sure that your furry feline has plenty of other odd behaviors to charm and puzzle you.