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A Cat’s Glare – Friend or Foe

Have you ever asked yourself – “Why is my cat looking at me like that?”

Cats are known to stare, and it can be off-putting when our cats blankly stare at us in the eye. This conduct can be considered very rude in the human world; do they mean to cause us any offence? What is the meaning behind this strange behaviour?

There are many reasons why our cats may stare at us and we have outlined some of these below;-

Hunger / Feeding time:

Your cat could be asking you to feed it. If your cat is staring at you first thing in the morning, or when it is in its feeding area, it is most likely asking to be fed. Cats are intelligent creatures and know that by doing this, the chances are we will give in to their longing eyes! This is a learned behaviour because cat owners will often hold their cats gaze before giving it a treat.

Attention seeking:

As cats naturally prefer to use body language, rather than their voices to communicate, they could just be asking for attention. They may be bored. If a stare is followed by a gentle headbutt or jumping onto your lap, it could be a sign they are asking you to play. To encourage this behaviour, you can call your cats name to invite them over to you when you see them looking at you.

Showing love and affection:

Whilst we might consider it impolite to hold someone’s gaze for too long, cats will do it to show they care. Cats will show extra special appreciation by slowly blinking or half-closing their eyes. You can try showing your cat you love them too, by slowly blinking back in response.

Cats are curious in nature, and they always like to know what is going on. They are visual hunters and will pay close attention to anything unusual happening around their home or garden. Cats are extremely alert creatures and will perk up and stare at anything untoward until things go back to normal, or the cat becomes comfortable with their new surroundings. Likewise, if a cat seems to be staring into space or at a wall, it could be that it has picked up on a small bug or insect. Due to their excellent eyesight, they will pick up on subtle motion or objects, that we are unable to detect.

If your cat is feeling unsettled, it may sit and stare as a way of warning you that it is not happy. This may be combined with dilated pupils, ears turned to the side, a stiff body and an agitated tail that’s swishing from side to side. In this instance, it is better to leave your cat to its own devices until its mood has improved!

A cat may also sit and stare if it is scared, as it is trying to assess any potential danger. This may be due to a sudden action or loud noise around it, that has made him fearful. If this is the case, it will normally be crouched down, with its tail tucked under its body and will normally be hiding behind a piece of furniture etc.
Therefore, we can see that staring is a very important action for a cat, as it is a method of communication. It can be a sign of a close bond, a desire for food or attention, or a warning to stay away! However, it is up to us to assess the overall body language because in the case of cats, it is their whole bodies that are used to convey emotion.

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