WHY DOES MY CAT STARE AT ME?

face of a black cat with green eyes

Last updated on October 30th, 2023 at 08:21 am

If you have noticed that your cat stares at you a lot, you are probably wondering what it means. Are they trying to tell you something?

Your cat may be staring at you to display affection, or they may be staring because they are angry or scared. Understanding the significance of your cat’s gaze requires you to take into account its body language, or the context of its behavior.

Let’s delve further into how you can figure out why your cat is staring at you.

Affection

One reason your cat might be staring at you is that it loves and trusts you. Cats tend to fixate on their owners since they are their source of safety, security, and food. If your cat is relaxed while they stare at you, it is likely that they are showing affection and love.

Cats who stare at you with affection are also likely to slowly blink while they are staring. This behavior, known as cat-kissing, is a sign of trust and love. Slow blink back at them to show them you reciprocate the feeling!

The body language of a cat who is staring at you with affection will be soft and relaxed. Their tail will be low and they might even start purring.

Anger Or Aggression

If you notice that your cat is staring at you with ears back and a stiff body, this could be a sign of aggression. Staring can also be a warning signal before they attack, so pay attention to the context or change your behavior to help diffuse the situation.

grey tabby cat hissing

Additional signs of anger or aggression in cats include hissing or growling, flattened ears, arched back, dilated pupils, and a twitching tail. Their hair may puff out, especially along the ridge of their backs and on their tails.

If your cat is staring at you and you think it is because of anger or aggression, the best way to defuse the situation is to remove yourself from the cat’s vicinity.

Fear Or Anxiety

When cats are fearful, they may stare at the threat they sense in order to assess it. Cats can become scared by many things, including loud noises, new people and animals in the home, or even changes to their daily routine.

A fearful or anxious cat will have tucked-back ears and a hunched body, essentially trying to make itself appear as small as possible. They are also likely to seek a safe place to hide and will continue to stare at you from there.

If your cat is staring at you because of fear or anxiety, the best thing you can do is to give them space and minimize any stressors that might be causing their reaction.

brown tabby with white nose and paws

Should I Stare Back At My Cat?

Staring back at your cat can be beneficial to display affection, but it is not recommended if the cat is displaying signs of aggression or fear.

You can briefly try slow blinking at angry or anxious cats to attempt to communicate that you are friendly, but in most of these cases, it is best to give the cat space in order to avoid any potential problems.

If your cat stares at you with a relaxed body and slow blinking, then it is safe to slowly blink back at them. This cat-kissing behavior will help cement the bond between you and your cat.

Bottom Line

It is important to pay attention to cat body language and context when trying to determine why your cat is staring at you. Staring can be a sign of affection, aggression, fear, or anxiety.

Understanding the reasons behind cat stares will help you better understand their behavior and create an even stronger bond with your cat.

blue grey persian cat

Author

  • Dr. Wendy Wilkins, DVM, PhD

    Dr. Wendy Wilkins is an experienced veterinarian and epidemiologist with over 20 years of expertise. She holds a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree and a Doctorate in Epidemiology from the University of Saskatchewan. Throughout her career, Dr. Wilkins has excelled in clinical practice, academia, research, and regulatory veterinary medicine. She is a respected voice in knowledge dissemination, delivering factual information in a readable and understandable manner through articles, books, and public engagements.

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