A Look at Creepy Cat Behavior: Why Does My Cat Stare At Me..?

A cat stares at the camera.

For some, simply knowing that cats stare at people isn’t enough to dismiss it. Indeed, it can be deeply unsettling to be the target of intense feline focus. 

While a staring contest with your cat might be the perfect pandemic activity, it still doesn’t explain why they do it. Cat behavior is often puzzling, but we think we might have a few ideas to explain this particularly odd conduct of kitties.

Do I Look Tasty to You?

Cats are masters of non-verbal communication, although many individual felines can be incredibly “chatty” with their people. To understand your cat’s thoughts, evaluate their body language. 

  • What is the position of their tail (up, down, fluffed out, whipping around)? 
  • How are they holding their body (rigid, fluid-looking/relaxed, etc.)? 
  • Are their ears perked upright or pinned back towards the head? 

Once you put their staring into the context of their overall appearance you can learn more about how their surroundings impact their emotional state.

Are You the Boss?

Cats are highly territorial pets and enjoy feeling like everything belongs to them. To that end, you might get a little extra eye contact for just being in “their” space. 

Among cats, extended eye contact is associated with dominance and even aggression. A visual connection is the starting point for most feline interactions and can determine whether or not they’re about to wrestle, fight or play.

Additionally, cats depend on their vision to catch prey. Unlike us, cats do not have to blink very often. This allows them to keep both eyes on their next meal. This could explain why this specific cat behavior helps them win staring contests with their owners.

Curiosity and Cat Behavior

By nature, cats want to know what’s happening – and when it’s going down. If you haven’t noticed the time for a while, chances are your cat knows it’s fast approaching their moment of kibble. No, they aren’t staring at you because you look meaty. They simply know that you’re about to do their bidding.

Are You Planning World Domination?

Cats are part of the family bond, even if it’s just the two of you. They love their owner(s) and feel dependent on them for security, comfort, play and food. Having a staring contest is just another way to affirm your bond. When you are calm, they are, too. They are constantly sizing you up to see how you’re feeling so they can react in kind.

Cause for Concern?

Sometimes strange cat behavior clues us into something that’s off. If you’re concerned about how your cat is acting or just want to be sure they’re okay, our team is always here for you at Harpeth Hills Animal Hospital.