Why Does My Cat Stare at Me?

While pet owners might find it convenient if cats could talk to them to express wants and needs, most cats only offer audible feedback in the form of meowing, trilling or hissing. But cats also provide lots of nonverbal communication, including stares, blinks, headbutts and rubs to make their affection known. Find out some reasons why your kitty might be staring at you.

A tabby cat looking at the camera

Your Kitty Might Be Hungry

It might seem like your kitty is trying to employ elaborate mind control when she stares at you. You might wonder if your feline friend is trying to telegraph that it’s time for a treat of favourite chicken-flavoured kibble, and you’re not completely off base. According to Jean-François Savard, Purina pet behaviour scientist, your cat may just be letting you know she’s hungry by making eye contact, especially if she’s doing it while sitting near her food area.

Your Cat Stares at You to Show Affection

Ever heard the saying that the eyes are the window to the soul? Cats can use staring as a nonverbal way of communicating. Even though a long, unblinking stare may not be the best way for humans to show affection, when your fur baby does this, it may mean they’re showing love to their favourite owner.

And when a loving stare is coupled with cat “eye kisses,” which is when a cat stares with half-closed eyelids and offers a few slow blinks, it means your kitty is showing some serious adoration for you.

Furthermore, your cat may be staring at you simply because you are the centre of her universe and she likes to see what you’re up to, whether it’s food-related or otherwise.

Pay Attention to Body Language

While a cat’s stare can convey a lot about what she might be feeling or thinking, it’s important to consider your kitty’s body language as well.

Happy, Relaxed Posture

If she’s snuggled up next to you and offering slow blinks along with her stares, it’s safe to assume she’s happy and showing affection.

If her body language is generally loose and relaxed as she stares, you can safely assume she’s happy and just trying to get your attention or say she loves you.

Agitated Body Language

However, if her tail is swishing, her ears are turned to the side and her pupils are dilated, this is indicative of a cat who might be upset. In this case, she might be trying to tell you that she needs some space.

If this happens, you can try distracting your cat and redirecting her attention to another activity. To help defuse tension and break eye contact, you can try tossing a toy or small object across the room to get your kitty to chase it. When she appears calmer, you can try engaging her in an activity she actually likes.

Scared Kitty

If your cat is staring at you with dilated pupils while she’s crouched with her tail tucked under her or if she’s hiding under a couch or behind another piece of furniture, it could be a sign of fear. Sometimes, you can accidentally spook your kitty with a loud noise, like cheering during a football game or dropping a kitchen pan accidentally.

In these cases, she may be keeping an eye out for danger while staring, as this is something cats do in the wild to remain aware of predators.

To help alleviate her fears avoid approaching her directly. Instead, try tossing some of her favourite treats in her direction, such as the tasty options found in Friskies Party Mix.

Cats are very smart, and over time, they may learn to stare at their owners as a way of getting their attention. Whether they’re hungry, scared or just letting you know they love you, there are many reasons cats may stare at their people.