If you’re like many cat owners, you’ve probably wondered why your cat likes to stare at you so much. Maybe you’ve looked up from your couch or desk to find your kitty intensely staring at you from across the room. Even after you notice them, they’ll just keep on staring straight into your soul.
Perhaps you’ve even woken up in the middle of the night or early morning with the feeling that you’re being watched. You slowly open your eyes and scan the room, unsure of who or what you’re going to find. As you look around, you see a pair of glowing eyes looking at you from the edge of your bed. Unblinking, Unmoving. And then you hear a purr.
Is this normal cat behavior creepy or cute, or as some cat owners have suspected, is your cat plotting to eat you while you sleep? Read on to find out the real reasons why your cat likes to stare at you all the time!
Cats Are Visual Hunters
Even though cats have been lounging alongside humans for around 10,000 years, this is just the blink of an eye in evolutionary terms. They retain many of their wild features, including an impressive hunting ability.
Cats have very sharp senses which they use to create mental maps of their environment and pinpoint the location of water, rivals and prey. Any slight movement or sound in their surroundings is enough for them to know exactly what’s out there, and where.
As with any animal that now lives alongside humans, we’ve become a very important part of a cat’s not-so-natural environment. We feed them, protect them, offer them shelter and give them love. For a cat, this means that keeping an eye on us is of the same paramount importance as constantly scanning the backyard for squirrels and intruding cats. For all they know, we could walk out of the door any minute without refilling their food bowl!
If the cat in question is a recent addition to your home, or if you find yourself at the receiving end of a cat’s icy stare while visiting someone else’s house, then you can be sure that cat is checking you out closely to make sure you’re not a threat. You’ve just entered their space and they’ll be keeping a close eye on you until they’re sure you’re safe.
Cats Communicate Through Their Eyes
Any cat owner will tell you how expressive a cat’s eyes can be. A cat owner who is attuned to their animal can tell when their kitty is happy, upset, focused or angry just by the shape of their eyes and pupils. Humans aren’t the only ones who have figured this out, either.
A cat’s stare is part of their body language and is the result of hundreds of thousands of years of feline evolution. Other cats and animals can pick up on these visual cues too and use them to know when a cat is safe to approach or when it’s better to stay away.
When your cat is staring at you, it’s trying to open up a direct line of communication with you. Maybe they’re hungry and want more food, or maybe they simply want some attention and love. If you catch your cat staring at you, try to take a minute to communicate back with them and figure out what exactly they’re trying to say.
As an important member of their family, your cat may simply want to make sure you’re watching them back. After all, watching out for each other is how animal groups stay safe in the wild. So go ahead and give them a nice, slow blink to show them you care.
Cats Are Curious Creatures
Cats are well known for their curious nature and will often explore anything and everything in their environment. Whether they’re climbing atop boxes, burrowing into our dressers or climbing up a tree, their curious nature both helps them learn about the world around them and keeps them entertained.
It’s quite possible that one of the reasons cats like to stare at us is simply because they’re curious about the things we do.
Many of our daily human activities must seem so strange and intriguing to our feline friends, especially to younger cats who aren’t used to seeing us go about our day. Whether we’re quietly staring at bound papers for hours, wielding metal claws to cut up food, moving our fingers repetitively over buttons with strange symbols on them or any other of the dozens of routine actions we consider so normal, these are all novel and exciting behaviors to your cat. This means that our cats may simply stare at us because they find us interesting and entertaining!
Does Your Cat Watch You While You Sleep?
One of the harder behaviors to explain is why cats will often like to stare at their humans while they sleep. No matter how many cute and cozy beds are put in the bedroom, some cats just prefer to sit at the foot of their human’s bed and watch them sleep at night. Some cat owners find it unnerving to be woken up by the penetrating stare of a feline in the dark. They are obligate carnivores after all, right? What would happen if you forgot to give them dinner one night? Would they be hungry enough to eat you, as some internet trolls like to fearmonger?
No! Your cat wouldn’t eat you, no matter what horror story you might have read online. The most likely reason your cat likes to keep their eyes on you overnight is for the same reasons mentioned above. In fact, since cats are nocturnal or crepuscular, they often have nothing better to do at night that see what their humans are up to. While outdoor and feral cats are outside mating, hunting and marking their territories, our indoor floofs are stuck inside with us.
If you’d really prefer to not wake up to a cat staring contest, then make sure to leave out interactive toys they can play with overnight by themselves. There are plenty of awesome toy options that will keep them busy and tire them out enough so you can sleep in peace.
So if you constantly notice your cat staring at you, day or night, take it as a compliment. They find you interesting enough to take time out of playing and napping to observe you! If they’re always watching you at night, don’t freak out, they just enjoy your company. If their soul-penetrating stare is just too much for you, simply put some of these on their kitty heads. Problem solved!
On the other hand, they may just think we look cute while we’re asleep too. After all, I can’t think of anything more adorable than a sleeping cat.
Have you caught your cat staring at you before? Let us know why you think they do it below!