What Does It Mean If Your Cat Stares At You?

dichromatic cats eyes staring

Why do cats stare at you? What does it mean if your cat sits there staring at you? In truth, when your cat sits there staring at you it probably doesn’t mean anything – it just seems creepy! Generally, when a cat sits there watching you without blinking they are either curious about what you are doing, looking to get your attention, hungry, annoyed with you, showing affection, or are in pain.

Let’s check out the reasons and see if you can identify what is going through your cat’s mind when they sit there staring at you.

a portrait shot of a grey chartreux cat with copper eyes against a walled backdrop staring
Feel The Stare!

Your Cat Is Curious

If your cat is just watching you intently it is probably just curious. After all, if you watch people with no understanding of what they aim to do it can be quite entertaining to see what happens next! 

You often watch your cat with curiosity to see what they are up to. Chances are, when they are staring at you they are doing exactly the same!

bsh grey cat staring
Read My Thoughts!

They Are Attention Seeking

Cats are intelligent entities, they can learn and establish new habits. They have probably realized over time that when they stare at you a certain result happens. 

You feel put on the spot by your cat staring at you. You interpret the situation as your cat wants something and it is up to you to discern and decipher what they want (which is why you are probably reading this!).

Your go-to response for ambivalent staring from your cat is to offer your cat some form of attention. Either you approach the cat and touch/groom it, you vocalize to the cat or in some way provide it with attention which makes your cat feel good and feel like the center of the universe for a second – basically, your cat has learned that staring at you elicits a response from you that the cat enjoys makes them feel good!

The body language that accompanies this stare can be relaxed and from anywhere. They could be sitting on your bed whilst you sleep staring at you. They could deposit themselves in front of the TV whilst you are watching or they could sit nearby and fix you with a gaze as you read a book. Basically, calming sitting there staring is a form of attention-seeking!

close up portrait of a grey british shorthair cat leaning over a stone wall
What Are You Doing?

They Are Hungry Or Thirsty

This reason kind of follows on from attention-seeking. Basically, when your cat is hungry or thirsty it will sit by the food or sit by the water bowl and stare at you. It has learned through experience that you will notice the stare, recognize the seating position and understand that food is required or the water needs refreshing, topping up, or some such. Your cat is basically saying “hooman – I am hungry, feed me!”

What cat owner has not responded to such a situation by addressing the food or water bowl?

Your Annoying Them

An annoyed cat will stare with a fixed look. Often such a stare will be accompanied by tail slaps and at this point, you should recognize that they are mildly irritated by whatever is happening. As annoyance grows the stare is maintained but other body language leaves you in no doubt that your cat is not in the mood!

A hiss, momentary growl, a fake paw slap, or the cessation of purring can all demonstrate – along with the death stare – that you have outstayed your welcome. Watch out, you’re about to be attacked – or your cat might just relocate away from you in disgust!

black and white cat lying on the chest of a sleeping bearded man
I am watching you…

They Are Showing You Affection

Your cat might be like the star-crossed lover that can help but stare longingly into your eyes, wanting to drink in your soul and your essence! Yes, your cat might be loved up with you and be showing amorous affection in the only way it can.

This kind of staring may be accompanied by following behavior where your cat just constantly wants to be in your company or by ultra-relaxed behavior around you whilst they fix their stare on you at all times!

Yes, your cat could be staring at you just because they like you….lots.

portrait of a tabby cat lying on womans chest staring intently at woman
I like you…like a hot water bottle!

They Are In Pain

At the other end of the scale, your cat could be in pain or discomfort and is really staring at you in fear that you are about to do something that will inflict more pain on them. In these situations, you may not register the issue till you approach with hands and are met with an uncharacteristic hiss!

My cat got a typical injury. Bitten on the rear by another cat following a face-off. She ran and got bitten, making her escape from the confrontation. Problem was that the wound became infected and for a number of days all seemed fine until it wasn’t.

At that point, she acted entirely normally in every way. She would watch everyone intently and then as soon as someone approached with hands she would hiss, growl and act in ways she never did before. Her staring was like she was looking for and assessing targets – there was no sign of pain or discomfort. 

So your cat may be in pain.

Your Cat Is Bonded With You!

Cats won’t stare for long less they cause trouble or another cat or animal deems the stare to be an early sign of potential aggression. 

If your cat is having an extended stare then it probably feels comfortable with you and considers you to be totally not threatening and a member of its family. 

You can test this out. Next time your cat stares at you, blink slowly once and see if the cat responds back with a blink. 

If it does then you are basically signaling to each other that you are friendly and carry no threat as to avert your gaze puts you in a position of vulnerability and both parties feel safe with each other to do that. 

Try it next time your cat stares and see the response you get!